Birth of American Football. The Ivy League sets the rules

Essay by Clifford ChaseCollege, UndergraduateA+, March 1997

download word file, 3 pages 3.7

American Football wasn't always pretty like todays version, back then,

Football was Ugly!!

Football, ahh the great sport of football!! A sport which huddles many

American families around the television on quiet Sunday afternoons. Sure it's

a violent game but many take a strong attraction to its machoness and

toughness. The players are mean, the coaches are insane, and the fans are


About 125 years ago the coaches were still insane and the fans were

still wild but the players were, well, a bit crazy. The game of football back

then wasn't about money or salary caps, no sir, it was about real courage and

real toughness. You had to show that you were a gentlemen in a real

gentlemen's sport. There were no pads to hide behind and there were barley

any rules to abide by. The only thing you could rely on was your own true

physical strength and your ability to dodge serious injury or even death.

The Ivy league colleges were the first to participate in these barbaric

games. Schools like Harvard, Yale, Swathmore, and Rutgers sent there young

men onto the fields of battle. They played the sport much differently then they

do today. First of all, the ball was always to be kicked and never to be

carried. This style of play resembled the European sport of soccer. It was not

until 1871 when Harvard first handled the ball and added English Rugby rules

to the game. The game of American football was beginning to take shape.

In the year 1880 a man by the name of Walter Chauncy Camp from

Harvard introduced the 'line of scrimmage', the line where play has stopped

and will begin again. Camp also created the positions snapback and

quarterback. These two positions would start every offensive play.