Football is a team sport played by two groups of eleven players. The objective s to score points by bringing the ball to the opposing team's end zone. The tactics used to achieve this goal are running with the ball while holding it in the arms or passing it to another teammate. Points can be collected also by kicking the ball between the goal posts, catching a ball passing over the goal line or taking the ball from the opponent team while in their end zone.
It is a sport closely related to rugby football and Canadian football. The sport is extremely popular in the United States of America, Canada and in a lesser extent in the Philippines, United Kingdom and Australia.
It started out as a variation of rugby and association football (soccer). Both of these sports have similar ancestors in the large number of various football sports played during the Victorian era in the United Kingdom. Walter Camp, considered by experts "The Father of American Football" has set out the rules and the major differences from rugby and soccer. The changes refer to the new line of scrimmage and new down and distance rules.
Football evolved also by the multiple college associations and team set up in the nineteenth century. College coaches refined the rules and introduced new techniques that transformed football in a separate sport played by millions in the United States in those times.
Professionally, the American Professional Football Association was formed in 1920 to manage the rules of the game and foster the teams that entered under its control. The APFA name changed after two years into the National Football League (NFL), becoming the major league in the United States.
- mid 19th century - the dawn of American football
- 1892 - the first professional American football match played between Allegheny Athletic Association and the Pittsburgh Athletic Club
- 1920 - founding of the American Professional Football Association
- 1922 - founding of the National Football League
- 1939 - First televised NFL game
- 1967 - First Superbowl is played
- 2009 - The Pittsburgh Steelers win their 5th title
Becoming a national sport
Football was very popular among college students in the nineteenth century and in 1895, professional football was played in college association forming fierce rivalries between universities across the country. After the NFL formed in 1922, professional football was played nationwide and the national competition was named the Major League. Initially, the league consisted of only 10 teams which competed for the national title of champions. After a merger with other leagues in 1970 the NFL Major league comprised of two conferences geographically distributed. Another expansion was undertaken later which saw the National Football League grow to a 30 team league. Rules have changed little since the professional debut, with slight adjustments of tactics and modern equipment usage obligation.
With television available in almost every household in the United States, college football started to decline in favor of the professional leagues. Nonetheless, on a local level college matches attracted large numbers of spectators. While professional football has become the national sport, college remains the dominant game on the regional level.
This sport developed in to a phenomenon with the annual event of Superbowl, where the national champion is decided. The match is one of the most watched television shows in the world and advertisement fees are the highest worldwide. The most successful American football teams are the Dallas Cowboys, The Pittsburgh Steelers, The Green Bay Packers and The San Francisco 49ers.
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