The U.S. Navy Midshipmen (at left, in blue) line up on
offense against the Army’s Black Knights
National Football League
Football, Gridiron football
November 6, 1869, Rutgers vs.
11 at a time
American football, known in the United States and
Canada simply as football (Canada also has its own
slightly different version, Canadian football), is a com-
petitive team sport known for combining strategy with
physical play. The objective of the game is to score
points by advancing the ball into the opposing team’s
end zone. The ball can be advanced by carrying it (a run-
ning play) or by throwing it to a teammate (a passing
play). Points can be scored in a variety of ways, includ-
ing carrying the ball over the opponent’s goal line,
catching a pass thrown over that goal line, kicking the
ball through the goal posts at the opponent’s end zone,
or tackling an opposing ball carrier within his end zone.
The winner is the team with the most points when the
The sport is also played outside the United States.
National professional and collegiate leagues exist in Un-
ited Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Finland,
Sweden, Japan, Mexico, Israel, Spain, Austria, and sev-
eral Pacific Island nations. The National Football League
(NFL), the largest American professional football league
in the world, ran a developmental league in Europe from
1991–1992 and then from 1995–2006.
American football is closely related to Canadian foot-
ball, but with significant differences. Both sports origin-
ated from rugby football. The major forms of football in
the United States are collegiate football and professional
Football. There have been numerous major professional
football leagues in the U.S., but currently the only one in
existence is the NFL.
An American football team at the turn of the twentieth century
The history of Amer