The history of American football spanned from the origins of rugby football and soccer, acting as a bit of a mix of the two sports. American football itself dates back to the mid 1800’s, most predominantly played in the United Kingdom before reaching the United States and applied differently. In the late 1800’s, however, football had touched America and began to receive recognition from a student at Yale University. This man was named Walter Camp, and some believe he is the primary, if not only reason, why America was introduced to this version of football.
Walter Camp was a student at the university for several years, from the late 1870’s to the early 1880’s. Camp was largely interested in sports and was considered and avid fan of football. In fact, he played on the university’s teams until he left Yale. Not only did Camp introduce a new type of sport to the university’s campus, but he also played a large role in deviating and altering the game’s rules. He sat on the committee for rules and attempted to suggest new ideas for the sport. He helped shape the point system, and showed his passion and interest by continuing teaching his applications on the university campus as a coach even after leaving Yale. In fact, it’s expressed that he did so until he passed away.
While this was the beginnings of American football as we know it today, the beginnings of the sport being professional didn’t occur until 1892. The first contract in American football history was for a man named William Heffelfinger. Heffelfinger was paid an amount of five hundred dollars, give or take, to play for the Allegheny Athletic Association against a Pittsburg club. While this was the first contract ever made in American football history that we know of, the actual professional association, the American Professional Football Association (APFA) wasn’t formed until 1920.
American football has an interesting story to its origins and is popular with a wide variety of American citizens, often acting as a mechanism for national bonding. As a fun fact, the National Football League hosted their first game in September of 1920 where the Rock Island Independents played against the St. Paul Ideals, who they beat in an embarrassing score of 48 to 0. The second game was played later that year in October with the Independents and the Muncie Flyers. The Independents won against them also, in a staggering score of 45 to 0.