HISTORY OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL
Football historians, those who have studied the game and its origins, place the game’s
beginnings in rugby, an English game played with many similarities to football. Rugby
began in eighteen twentythree at the famous Rugby Boys’ School in England. Another
cousin of the game of football is soccer; its beginnings can also be traced to English
origin, being played as early as the eighteen twenties.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: ITS BEGINNINGS
At the same time, a group of students at Princeton began playing what was then known
as ‘ballown’. First using their fists to advance the ball, and then their feet, this game
consisted mainly of one goal: to advance the ball past the opposing team. There were no
hard and fast rules applied to this earliest attempt at the game we now call football.
At Harvard, the freshman and sophomore classes competed in a footballtype game,
played on the first Monday of each school year; this event came to be known as ‘Bloody
Monday’ because of the roughness of the game. Pick up games, similar in style to that
played on ‘Bloody Monday’, soon became popular on the Boston Common, catching on
in popularity around eighteen sixty.
Soon after the end of the American Civil War, around eighteen sixty five, colleges began
organizing football games. In eighteen sixty seven, Princeton led the way in establishing
some rudimentary rules of the game. Also in that year, the football itself was patented for
the very first time.
Rutgers College also established a set of rules in eighteen sixty seven, and with the
relatively short distance between it and Princeton, a game was decided upon by both
universities. A date was chosen, November sixth, eighteen sixty nine; Rutgers won by a
score of six goals to four, and thus was played what has become known as the very first
intercollegiate football game.
In eighteen seventy three, representatives from Columbia, Rutgers, Princeton, and Yale
met in New York City to formulate the first intercollegiate football rules for the