When Did Football Begin?

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Chantelm | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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The American game of football as we know it today has grown rapidly from its earliest beginning in England'a rugby union to the first college game between Princeton and Rutgers universities in 1869. Today football is considered by many sports lover to be the king of all sports

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fact-finder | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Although the American game of football dates from the mid-1800s, the ancient Greeks and Romans played a game whose object was to move a ball across a goal line by throwing, kicking, or running with it. In many countries of the world the term "football" means soccer, a game in which players may move the ball only by using their feet and heads. American football is popular only in North America, though the similar game of rugby is played in England and Australia.

The first American football game was played on November 6, 1869. The team representing Rutgers University defeated the team from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). Other colleges in the eastern United States (Columbia, Harvard, and Yale) soon added football to their athletic programs. Early games took place on a football field measuring 120 yards long and 75 yards wide, and players used a round, soccer-like ball. Official rules were set by 1876. During the 1880s, Walter Camp, the football coach at Yale University, revised the rules, giving the world the game that is played today. He limited the teams to eleven players each. Camp also introduced the idea of requiring a team to advance the ball a certain number of yards within a certain number of downs (tries) and marked the field with yard lines to facilitate measurement.

Further Information: Buckley, James. America's Greatest Game: The History of Football and the National Football League. New York: Hyperion Books for Children, 1998; Pro Football Hall of Fame. [Online] Available http://www.footballhalloffame.com, October 23, 2000; Stewart, Mark. Football: A History of the Gridiron Game. New York: Franklin Watts, 1998.

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