Football is Fantastic

Football is the name given to a number of different, yet related team sports. In English the word football is applied to American football, Australian Rules football, Canadian football, Gaelic football, rugby league and rugby union as well as soccer.  The terminology of what is called football will all depend upon where in the world you are located. The ironic thing is that in England, where there is both the football and American Football sports (the NFL has NFL Europe here as well).

All these games involve using a football to score by a team moving the ball to the opposing teams end of the field and over a line or into a goal, which is defended by the other team. Depending on which code is being played the ball is either carried and passed and or kicked by the players, to score. The winning team is the one with the most points at the end of the game.

The oldest document evidence of football was found in a Chinese military manual written about the 2nd century BC. It describes a practice known as Cuju which involved kicking a leather ball through a hole in a piece of silk cloth strung between two 30 foot poles.

Ancient Romans and Greeks are known to have played many ball games which involved using the feet. The Middle Ages saw a huge rise in the popularity of Shrovetide football matches played throughout Europe, especially in England where the game m ay have arrived with the Roman occupation. These games of football where played between neighboring towns and villages. The teams would clash in a mass of people struggling to drag an inflated pig’s bladder to markers at each end of the town.

Most early references speak of ball play or playing at the ball which seems to indicate that in did not mean that the ball was kicked. Numerous attempts were made to ban football, in particular the most rowdy and disruptive forms. But the games evolved and rules were changed and modern football continued to be played in Britain and the earliest games resembling modern football were played at English public schools.

By the early 19th century North American schools and universities played their own local rules between sides made up of students. Modern American football grew out of a match between McGill University of Montreal and Harvard students. One team were used to a running game the other a kicking game. The two teams alternated between their respective codes.

Over the ensuing years the rules changed and the present day code established. Although called football other countries call American football “gridiron.”

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