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Football's Popularity and History

The history of football is of interest primarily because football is such a popular American game. In fact, many people will argue that football is the favorite sporting event of the United States, rivaling baseball as the American pastime. Although it may be hard to believe that football was ever played differently that it is today, the truth is that the evolution of football was gradual and extensive, transforming a very early version into what we recognize today. Football earliest origins can be traced back to a popular Greek game called harpaston where the goal was to move the ball across the opposing team’s line by any method possible.

The Developing History of Football

The history of football continues with modern versions of the game that developed in the 12th century. It was during this time that the game’s popularity started to be considered a social problem by some because it detracted from the military sport of archery. This competition ultimately resulted in Edward II and Henry VI banning the sport. Football in its present form really developed in the 19th century, when a split occurred between the “football” games of soccer and rugby, with rugby becoming football’s closest relative.

The popularity of football was due primarily to interest in university and college teams. The first official football game was held on November 6, 1869 between Rutgers and Princeton. Initially there were twenty-five players, but the number slowly decreased until it reached the current number of eleven. The first professional game occurred in 1895 and football was one of the most popular sports during the 1900s. However, it was not until 1945 that collegiate football scholarships were offered. Although the game has undergone many changes throughout its history, its popularity has only increased as the game developed. Players continue to love to play the game and fans love to support it.

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