Football is the pride and joy of American sports. People gather to watch the games and find sportsmanship and comradely within their teams’ fans. Whether you’re a fan of your local team or a bigger league, there may be a few fun facts you didn’t know about American football.
Football is America’s favorite sport
In a 2008 survey, 41 percent of participants said that American football was their favorite sport to watch. This is an overwhelming majority, with the second-favorite sport—baseball—receiving 10 percent of participants’ votes. In fact, football holds the title for the most-viewed television program in the United States.
A mix between soccer and rugby
American football was created as a combination of rugby and soccer. The sport merges the rules of the two games to create American football as we know it today. The game first gained popularity in the late 1800s, showing up on college campuses across the country.
America’s first football game
Since football evolved from several other sports, it can be difficult to nail down the first game ever played, but many consider the 1869 game between Rutgers University and Princeton University to be the first. At the time, the rules were more similar to rugby than they are today.
It’s not always called football
In the United Kingdom, the term “football” is used to refer to the game Americans know as soccer, but they also have their own terms for our version of football. American football is called “rugby” in the United Kingdom and “soccer” throughout the rest of Europe.
Created by Walter Camp
Nicknamed the “Father of American Football,” Walter Camp crafted the rules surrounding the game. These rules were created in 1876, including the addition of the line of scrimmage.
Helmets are a new regulation
Up until the mid-twentieth century, helmets were considered optional. But with increased numbers of concussions and other head and neck injuries, helmets were made mandatory in 1939.
Not only is American football a significant pastime for Americans, but it’s also a popular employer. Football and similar sports industries employ nearly three million people in the United States. That adds up to about one percent of the country’s population.
Teddy Roosevelt changed the game
In 1906, the President of the United States—Theodore Roosevelt—made some adjustments to the rules. As a contact sport, American football was causing a variety of injuries and even deaths. Roosevelt introduced the forward pass to help prevent these accidents.
You only need 11
Despite most football teams having dozens of players on the bench, you simply need a fraction of that amount to make up a team. Only 11 players from each team are permitted on the field at a time, making that the minimum threshold per team.
American football is a popular pastime for residents of this nation and it creates a sense of unity and family among teammates. But no matter how much you know about American football, there’s always something new to learn about the sport!
This article is presented by Colonial Buick GMC in Watertown, Massachusetts.