American Football – In what it consists and what are its origins?

American football is a game that involves two teams of eleven players in which the objective is to score points by advancing the ball (which indeed is spherical egg-shaped as in Rugby or Australian Football) into the opposing team’s end zone. This could be achieved by running with the ball or by throwing it to a teammate. The most important points can be scored by carrying the ball over the opponent’s goal line or by catching a pass thrown over that goal line (these two moves are called a ‘Touch Down’). Kicking the ball through the opponent’s goal posts or tackling an opposing ball carrier in his own end zone also grants points.

American football had its inspiration in early types of association football and rugby football, these later also considered as predecessors of soccer. American Football resulted from several major divergences from rugby football, most notably the rule changes instituted by Walter Camp, considered the “Father of Football”. For Instance, in Rugby only hand back or lateral passes are allowed which does not occurs in American Football.

In the United States, there are several forms of American football, each of them played under slightly different rules. However, the most famous and highest level league is the one where professional football is played under the rules defined by the National Football League (NFL).

The origin of professional football goes back to 1892 in a game that opposed Allegheny Athletic Association against the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. The first professional league was formed in 1902, but it was only in 1920 that the American Professional Football Association was formed. The first game was played in Dayton, Ohio on October 3, 1920 with the host Triangles defeating the Columbus Panhandles 14–0. The league changed its name to NFL two years later.

The 2012/2013 NFL started last September 5th with the game between Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants. The Cowboys won 24-17. In future posts we will depict the rules of American Football within the context of play moves occurring in forthcoming games. Stay tuned for great Touch Downs.

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