| Football started at the famous Rugby
boy's school in England in 1823. At Princeton University students
were playing a game called Ballown. In both games players used
both their feet and fists to advance the ball. Organized football
began in high schools in the early 1860's. Colleges also started
in the late 1860's. They played with 25 players on each team.
But these football games weren't like we know football today.
Rutgers and Princeton played a game they called football but
it was more like soccer. Students at Harvard, 1871, started to
combine the soccer-like game with some rules from rugby. Different
colleges played under different rules until 1876 when the Intercollegiate
Football Association was formed. They made the rules the same
for all colleges and even set up the field size of 140 by 70
Walter Camp was the coach at Yale university in 1879. Yale joined the Intercollegiate Football Association in that year and Camp convinced the league to make many changes. He wanted 11 man teams instead of 15 and he introduced the idea of "downs" - which really separated football from rugby. Walter Camp has often been called the "father of football" as we know it! At first, teams had 3 downs to go five yards. By the early 1900's, teams had 4 downs to go 10 yards.
The first professional football league was started in 1895 in Pennsylvania.
Back at college, other changes came along to make the game safer and more interesting. President Teddy Roosevelt played a big part in helping to organize football as we see it today. In 1905, he gathered together the leaders of three colleges and helped make many safety improvements. The forward pass was introduced and football really started to look more like what we see now!