The history of American football can be traced to early versions of rugby football and association football. History of NFL National Football League, a major U.S. professional gridiron football organization, founded in 1920 in Canton, Ohio, as the American Professional Football Association. Its first president was Jim Thorpe, an outstanding American athlete who was also a player in the league. The present name was adopted in 1922.

It’s a billion-dollar business and the most popular sport in America. But do you know where football came from?

In the 1860s the British game rugby came to America. At the same time, athletic clubs began to pop up around the country. A variation of rugby called American football started to gain steam.

On November 6, 1869, teams from Rutgers and Princeton met in the first intercollegiate football game. Back then, the game was a lot like rugby. There were no four passes back then.

In 1892, the number of players on each team was cut to 11. The game started to begin to appear more familiar to what it looks like today, but the game was still brutal.

By 1905, nearly a hundred maybe players suffered serious injuries, and there were 18 deaths.

The American Professional Football Association was formed, a little bit later National Football League was established. The two organizations were competing for players that drove up salaries.

In 1966 they merged and agreed that each league champion would meet in a game called the Super Bowl. In the ensuing years, football has become the most popular sport in America – a billion-dollar business and a vital part of American Thanksgiving and New Year celebrations. The Super Bowl is now an unofficial holiday and a worldwide phenomenon.


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