Birth of Pro Football

Latrobe’s 1897 Football Team

Brett Kerchner
Mr. Keesey
US History II
11 January 2010
American football has changed through the years and it was a long journey to get to where the sport is today. Football is a game played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular, 100-yard field with two goalposts on each end of the field. Teams score by carrying an oval ball across their opponents’ goal line or kicking the ball through their opponents’ goal posts. American football has become very popular and is a nationwide sport. In the early history of American football, the foundation of the rules, outstanding ability of individual players, and the leadership of the different coaches have all combined to create what is known as the National Football League (NFL).
Football grew from a variety of unorganized games where the ball was kicked, pushed, grabbed or jumped on. Modern football as we know it today has been developed from rugby. American football started on November 6, 1869 when Rutgers and Princeton played the first football game at College Field in Brunswick, New Jersey. Rutgers beat Princeton 6-4 and the game was played using modified London Football Association rules.
A Yale undergraduate named Walter Camp had a big influence on the game. He was known as the “Father of American Football.” Camp was the driving force in reducing the number of players from fifteen to eleven, as well as having the size of the field reduced to 110 yards long by 53 yards wide. He was also responsible for creating “scrimmage” and the “quarterback,” as well as creating a way for one side to hold possession of the ball and a way to put the ball into play. In 1882, Walter Camp led a rule committee change that.