This particular version of the football game, can be traced back to early versions of rugby football, played in Britain during the mid-19th century. American football came to be after several divergences from rugby and association football, most notably rule changes, that were instituted by Walter Camp who was a Yale University and Hopkins School graduate. Mr. Camp is known as the "Father of American Football." The changes that he made, to name the most important ones, were the introduction of the line of scrimmage, of the down-and-distance rules, and legalization of interference. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, gameplay developments by college coaches helped take advantage of the newly introduced forward pass. These now-famous coaches included Eddie Cochems, Amos A. Stagg, Park H. Davis, Knute Rockne, and Glenn "Pop: Warner. College football grew in popularity as it became the dominant version of the sport on college campuses. Bowl games have long been a popular tradition for both audience and college players.
Did you know that there is actually a "prehistory" of American football? There has been a form of football played since, well, antiquity. The Greeks had a version of the game, as did the Romans. Over time, many countries developed theri own version of the sport. These archaic forms of football were typically classified as "mob football" and would be played between different villages and towns; the mobs would clash "into a heaving mass of people all who were struggling to drag an inflayed pig's bladder (by any means possible) to markers on each end of the town where the "game' was being played. These antiquated games fell into sharp decline in the 19th century when the "Highway Act of 1835" was passed. This law prohibited the playing of football on public highways. In the United States, there is some mention of Native American peoples playing a sport similar to the English game of football. And early games in America had much in common with the mob football played in England; with huge numbers of players attempting to advance the ball into their opponents goal are by any and every means available. And you thought the games of today were tough. Yikes! Can you even imagine mob football? I'm so happy that my little brother's game will be far more civilized. The violence of these mob games led to "widespread protests and a decision to abandon them. Yale, under pressure from the city of New Haven, CT, banned all forms of football in 1860." But it wasn't long thereafter that football began returning to college campuses all over the United States.
From it's early days as a mob game, football has always been a violent sport. A Harvard-Yale game in 1894, resulted in the crippling injuries of four players. The situation came to a head in 1905 when there were 19 football fatalities nationwide in the US. Then-President Theodore Roosevelt purportedly threatened to shut down the sport unless drastic changes were made. This fact has been disputed by football historians. Although they've changed quite a bit over the years football helmets, as we know them, have been around since 1915 when padding and straps were added. In the very early days, the players would grow their hair out, believing that long hair would protect their skulls. Shoulder pads were developed by L.P. Smock, a Princeton football player, in the 1890's.
And no history of US football would be complete without mentioning the professional game. Professional football can be traced back to 1892, when William "Pudge" Heffelfinger signed a $500 contract to play for the Allegheny Athletic Association against the Pittsburg Athletic Association.
Football isn't the game for me, but I'm happy that my little brother has found a sport he wants to try. My whole family will support his efforts. We'll go out and watch him play at every game. Young Quigley isn't the largest froglet I've ever seen, and I'm hopeful that he waon't get injured. I'll never admit that to him, of course. He's so excited to "suit up" with his friends. Mom has reminded him that he can't play if he doesn't keep his grades up. Perhaps one day, we'll have a college or professional football player in the family. Until then, peewee football will be about all that little bro' can handle.
As for me, I'm happy sitting in the bleechers with a bag of freshly toasted bugs and a great big cup of swamp juice. I don't play football, but I sure know how to cheer on a team!
Happy Weekend everyone!