American Football: A Brief History and Guide
American football, also known as gridiron, is a popular sport in the United States that involves two teams of 11 players each trying to advance the ball into the opponent’s end zone by running, passing, or kicking it. The sport originated from rugby and soccer in the late 19th century and has evolved into a complex and strategic game with many rules and variations.
In this article, we will provide a brief history of american football, explain some of the basic rules and terms, and give some tips on how to enjoy watching or playing the sport.
History of American Football
The first game of american football was played on November 6, 1869, between Rutgers and Princeton universities. The game was based on soccer rules and each team had 25 players. The goal was to kick the ball into the opponent’s goal. Rutgers won 6-4.
In the 1870s, Yale University adopted rugby rules for its football games, which allowed carrying and throwing the ball. Other colleges followed suit and soon the sport became more violent and chaotic. In 1876, Harvard University hosted a meeting with representatives from other schools to establish a standardized set of rules for intercollegiate football. The meeting resulted in the formation of the Intercollegiate Football Association (IFA), which adopted most of the rugby rules but also introduced some innovations, such as the line of scrimmage, the down system, and the scoring system.
In the 1880s and 1890s, football continued to grow in popularity and complexity. New formations, plays, and strategies were developed by coaches and players. However, the sport also faced criticism and controversy due to its high rate of injuries and deaths. In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt intervened and urged the schools to reform the game or abolish it. As a result, a new organization called the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was formed to regulate college football. The NCAA adopted several rule changes to make the game safer and more exciting, such as legalizing the forward pass, reducing the number of players to 11 per team, banning mass formations and locking arms, and creating neutral zones.
In the early 20th century, professional football emerged as a rival to college football. The first professional league was the American Professional Football Association (APFA), founded in 1920. The league changed its name to the National Football League (NFL) in 1922 and became the dominant force in american football. The NFL established a regular season schedule, a playoff system, a draft system, and a championship game. The NFL also faced competition from other leagues, such as the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) in the 1940s and the American Football League (AFL) in the 1960s. In 1970, the NFL and AFL merged into one league with two conferences: the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The champions of each conference meet in the Super Bowl, which is the most watched sporting event in the United States.
Rules and Terms of American Football
American football is played on a rectangular field that measures 120 yards long and 53.3 yards wide. The field is divided into two halves by a midfield line and has two end zones at each end. The end zones are 10 yards deep and have goal posts at their back lines. The goal posts are 18 feet 6 inches apart and have crossbars that are 10 feet above the ground.
Each team has three units: offense, defense, and special teams. The offense is the unit that has possession of the ball and tries to score points by advancing it into the opponent’s end zone. The defense is the unit that tries to stop
the offense from scoring points by tackling or intercepting them. The special teams are units that perform specific tasks such as kicking or returning kicks.
The game is divided into four quarters of 15 minutes each. There is a 12-minute halftime break after the second quarter. Each team has three timeouts per half that they can use to stop
the clock. If the score is tied at the end of regulation time, an overtime period of 10 minutes is played. The first team to score in overtime wins.
The game begins with a coin toss to determine which team will kick off or receive
the kick off. The kicking team kicks