History of American football Essay
History of American football
Even though football is an American game its origins came from villages and schools in Europe for many centuries before America was even settled by Europeans. They played in the streets and oddly used a lemon as their ball. Soon many universities started creating their own teams and competing against each other. It took awhile, however, because it was a very rough and violent game so many colleges banned the game. Walter Camp is considered to be the “Father of American football”. He is widely considered to be the most important figure in the development of the game.
When he was young, he excelled in sports like track, baseball, and soccer, and after enrolling at Yale in 1876, he earned varsity honors in every sport the school offered. Camp joined the Massasoit House conventions where rules were debated and changed. He proposed his first rule change at the first meeting he attended in 1878. His idea was for there to be a reduction from fifteen players to eleven. The motion was rejected at that time but later passed in 1880. The effect was to open up the game and emphasize speed over strength.
Camp’s most famous change, the establishment of the line of scrimmage and the snap from center to quarterback, was also passed in 1880. Originally, the snap was executed with the foot of the center. Later changes made it possible to snap the ball with the hands, either through the air or by a direct hand-to-hand pass. Camp’s new scrimmage rules revolutionized the game, though not always as intended. Princeton, in particular, used scrimmage play to slow the game, making very slow progress towards the end zone during each down.
Rather than increase scoring, which had been Camp’s original intent, the rule was exploited to maintain control of the ball for the entire game, resulting in slow, unexciting contests. At the 1882 rules meeting, Camp proposed that a team be required to advance the ball a minimum of five yards within three downs. These down-and-distance rules, combined with the establishment of the line of scrimmage, transformed the game from a variation of rugby or soccer into the distinct sport of American football Camp was central to several more significant rule changes that make the American football we know today.
In 1881, the field was reduced in size to its modern dimensions of 120 by 53? yards. Several times in 1883, Camp changed the scoring rules, finally arriving at four points for a touchdown, two points for kicks after touchdowns, two points for safeties, and five for field goals. In 1887, game time was set at two halves of 45 minutes each. Also in 1887, two paid officials, a referee and an umpire, were required for each game. A year later, the rules were changed to allow tackling below the waist, and in 1889, the officials were given whistles and stopwatches.