Autumn is considered the football season for millions of people living across the US, and it is exciting! One of the most popular sports in the US is football, and children start playing it right from school, through college, and even at professional stadiums. The game involves a lot of passing, running, kicking, and rough collisions, but though it looks violent, it still is an excellent sport you will love! Read on to teach your children and to learn all about football and the football league!
American football originally began as a blend of the two other trendy sports in the country – rugby and soccer.
- The first form of the game came about in 1869 when Rutgers and Princeton universities competed. The game was closer to a rugby match than football.
- The father of American football is Walter Camp, a famous player from Yale University who played a massive role in creating many new rules. Camp wrote the first popular rules for the game in 1876 when football became popular in Canada and the East Coast.
- Walter Camp was also the coach at Yale, and he played a significant role in separating American football from the game of rugby.
- The game initially had around 15 players per team, later reduced to 11 by Camp in 1880.
- The Camp was also responsible for the center snap that replaced the rugby scrum with football and many other rules.
- A big change was brought to the game in 1888. It introduced introducing “tackling” that allows players to hit each other above the waist. However, this made the game a lot more violent than it needed to be.
- Due to many serious injuries and over a dozen deaths, the nation started considering banning football.
- Fortunately, the game was saved by President Theodore Roosevelt, who convinced college representatives to bring stricter rules against tackling to make the game less dangerous and brutal.
- The first professional football game was conducted in the year 1895.
- For years, the game was cleaned up with more regulations and rules, but football remains a high-impact collision sport that can lead to injuries.
- For the first 90 years after the mainstream introduction of the game, college football was much more popular than pro football.
- College football was all about rivalries and traditions between universities, and it had over 50,000 fans attending each game.
- NFL was introduced during the same period, in 1920. However, it was not as popular as college football and would draw only about 5000 fans for each game.
- Professional football started becoming more popular after it began being televised on a national level during the 1960s. Still, it took them so many years to reach the popularity college football has.
- Many college football teams have huge fan support whose numbers are equal to that of some NFL teams.
- The American Football League later became a part of the NFL in the year 1967 between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. The game was conducted at the Los Angeles Memorial Stadium in California, and though it is so popular today, the first match had very few fans. Under coach Vince Lombardi, The Packers won the game. The coach joined the team after their worst losing season ever, but he went on to coach them with his grueling training regimes and high standards, winning three successive championships.
How Is Football Played?
Football is not a very complex game, and it is really simple once you pick up the gameplay and the rules.
- Football is played on artificial turf or a grass field that is exactly 160 feet wide and 360 feet long.
- The field’s end zones, the distance between one end to the other, is exactly 10 yards, around 9.1 m long.
- The yard is divided by 20 lines, and each of these lines is 5 yards apart.
- Two other sets of markings in the field called the hash marks run along the field’s length, between two end zones.
- The players are supposed to start between these hash marks, and if the play ends outside of it, the ball is later moved to the nearest hashmark.
- There are scoring areas at the ends of the fields on both sides, and these are called the end zones.
- Each of the fields has two yellow poles called the uprights. The team can also choose to kick the balls through these yellow poles to score points.
- The players must wear protective gear like shoulder pads, mouth guards, thigh pads, and a helmet with a face mask.
- Both teams would get four chances, called the “downs,” to take the ball across the 10 yards. During a down, the opposing team will have to stop the ball from reaching their edge.
- Players can advance the ball by throwing or carrying it, and they score by either kicking the ball through the goalpost located at the back of the end zone or by taking the ball to the other team’s end zone.
- For the offense part of the team, the quarterback throws the ball to the receivers while the linemen are given the duty to protect the quarterback from the defensive players. The linemen also play their part in blocking the running back who runs to advance the football.
- The defense back and the linebacker from the defense would tackle the offensive player carrying the ball.
- A few team members will only play during specific times, and these people are called the Special Teams.
- The kicker is the player who kicks the ball between the uprights or the other team, while the placeholder would hall the ball upright, steady in place.
- The kick returner would run towards the balls in an attempt to catch the football and score points.
- To score points, players need to “Touchdown,” which can be achieved by taking the ball across the other team’s goal line. This provides the team with 6 points.
- A field goal is the next best way to score points where the player will kick the ball through the goalposts behind the other team’s end zone. If it is a place kick, the ball is first kept in the place holder, which is later kicked. The field goal provides the team with 3 points.
- The team can also score an extra one point for kicking the ball between the goal points immediately after the touchdown and 2 points for passing or running with the ball into the end zone. However, this is not done very often.
- A safety point is provided to the opposing team when the other team causes the ball to die (by either letting it go out of bounds or if a player is downed).
- The game is regulated carefully with various rules and times, and these are enforced by officials who are also responsible for determining the score.
- A professional or college football game has a duration of 60 minutes, divided into four 15-minute games. Halftime comes after the first two quarters.
- In schools and smaller leagues, the game is split into 12 minute quarters and shorter for younger children.
- If the 60-minute game ends up being a tie in NFL football, the teams will be given overtime of at least one 15 minutes. The first team to score points during their overtime is usually declared the winner.
Other Interesting Facts and Information About Football
A few additional interesting football information and facts include:
- The original American Football game was a blend of rugby and soccer, and the main objective of the game was to get the oval-shaped ball (referred to as the football) into the end zone for a touchdown, which was worth 6 points.
- The first football games were usually arranged between college athletic departments and amateur clubs, and both these clubs were stressing to get the best players. To get the best players, clubs started rewarding their players with remuneration and presents.
- The NFL (the National Football League) was established in 1920 by the American Professional Football Association. Today, the league can manage to conduct games between Labor and New Year’s Day.
- During the 1880s, many colleges started featuring a variation of football because the country wanted to embrace sports after the Civil War. During this time, amateur football became very popular.
- Many amateur football clubs began to “cheat” by giving their best players jobs. Some clubs used to provide expensive watches or trophies, which the players later pawned for money. Clubs even resorted to paying double expense money to reimburse their most popular and star players.
- The Championship of the NFL professional football game is the Super Bowl. The event marks the end of the football postseason, and it is so popular that during 2015, the event was the most-watched event on television in the entire history of the United States.
- The most Super Bowl wins go to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have won 8 Super Bowls. They are also one of the very few teams who have made it into the event so many times. The other two teams who have played eight games are the New England Patriots and the Dallas Cowboys. The New England Patriots have won 4 Super bowls while the Dallas Cowboys have won 5 Super Bowls.
- Many college players are drafted into professional NFL teams, and these players are offered contracts. The first pick always goes to the team that faces the most losses in the previous season. Teams may also choose to trade players and draft picks.
- Each football team is required to have 11 players playing at a time in the field. The teams can position these players in any way they like depending on their defense and offense strategies. The offense positions include tight end, wide receiver, fullback, halfback, and quarterback, while the defense positions include safeties, cornerbacks, and linebackers.
- To ensure the game is played fairly, there will always be seven different officials during the NFL games. These officials are responsible for keeping track of the scores, fouls, downs, and more!
- Peyton Manning has been awarded the Most Valuable Player of the Associated Press in the NFL five times in 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, and 2013. He has the most MVPs, while Brett Favre, Johnny Unitas, and Jim Brown have won the trophy three times.
- In 2015, the first full-time female official was hired by the NFL, Sarah Thomas.
- The most Super Bowl losses go to the Denver Broncos. Though they have played very hard to get a spot in 7 different Super Bowls, they lost 5 in those. This game them the title as the team with the Most Super Bowl losses.
- Out of the 32 NFL teams in football, there are only four teams that have not made it into the Super Bowl. They are the Detroit Lions, the Cleveland Browns, the Houston Texans, and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
- One of the best NFL players is Jerry Rice, holding the record for the most touchdowns. The player also holds records for the most receptions, the most receiving yards, and many more. He also holds over 100 NFL records which is another record.
- While football players get contracts worth millions of dollars, the cheerleaders participating in the games are paid very poorly. The cheerleaders, on average, earn only around $125 per game and are not paid extra for the charity events and rehearsals, and they are expected to maintain their uniforms on their own.
- Wilson is a sports equipment company that has been making footballs for over 70 years now. They have an exclusive contract to make and provide the ball for the games, and they have been doing it since 1941. They now produce around 4000 footballs each day.
- The Miami Dolphins is the only team in the NFL that has a completely perfect season. During the football season of 1972, coach Don Shula lead the team to its only complete perfect season. The team won every game they played in both the postseason and the regular-season games.
- Football has a short season of only 17 weeks, but this is still so popular that people watch the games in droves and tailgate the stadiums, cheering for the teams they love the most! Football is the most favorite sport in America, and the Super Bowl is one of the most-watched shows on television of the year!
- The record for the most collegiate national football championships goes to Princeton University. They hold 28 championship titles, but all of these championships took place during the early 1900s, with their last one being in 1950.
Football for kids and adults will always be a sport they love, and with these facts and information, your kids might even want to join their fun football league!