HIstory Of Football

Inspired by Coach Baxter :-)

Back In The Day

Football, as well as rugby and soccer, are believed to have originated from the ancient Greek game of "Harpaston." Harpaston is mentioned multiple times in ancient literature, where it is often referred to as a “very rough and brutal game.“ The rules of this ancient sport were pretty basic. Points were awarded when a player when they would cross a goal line by either kicking the ball, running with it across the goal line, or throwing it across the line to another player. Which in my opinion sounds a lot like Rugby. The other team’s goal was to obviously stop them by any means possible. There was no specific field length, no side line boundaries, no specified number of players per team, only a large lack of rules that meant for a dangerous game.

3..2..1.. Liftoff

Football didn’t really begin to take on any consistency of rules or boundaries until it was picked up as a sport in the seven major public schools of England in the early 1800’s. Six of the seven schools were playing the same game at a large scale. The schools included Eton, Harrow and Winchester. The seventh, Rugby School (founded in 1567) was playing a quite noticeably different version of football.

The other schools moved ahead and started editing their rules and eventually their game became known as "association football" or soccer, which was played back then much as it is today. Rugby School went in a different direction. How and why the game developed differently at Rugby School appears to have been lost in history, but what is known is that by the 1830's, running with the ball at Rugby School was in common use and 18 foot goal posts had been added with a crossbar at 10 feet above the ground.

The inclusion of the cross-bar was accompanied by a rule that a goal could only be scored by the ball passing over the bar from a place kick or drop kick. Apparently this was done to make scoring easier from further out and also to avoid the defenders standing in and blocking the mouth of the goal.

Players who were able to pass the ball behind the opponent's goal line were awarded a free kick, the player would make a mark on the goal line and then walk back onto the field of play to a point where a place kick at the goal was possible. There was also an offsides rule used to keep the teams apart. Passing the ball forward was not allowed.

By the mid 1860's British schools and universities had taken up Rugby's game and honored the school by giving the "new football" the name of rugby.

The game soon went trans-Atlantic to America and landed on fertile soil. Where it would develop into the game we all know and love "football."

Soon the AFL was created and turned into the NFL which is the association that most American's watch.

Impacts On Society

Economic- The NFL alone stimulated $7.2 Billion dollars spread throughout the league's teams. They generate money through sponsors, merchandise, tickets, concession, and the biggest is the Super Bowl.


Cultural- One big cultural impact that the game of football has on the United States is the use of PED's, off field issues, and payment issues. Some players use Performance Enhancing Drugs to improve their physical abilities, which is illegal. The top two off field issues seen in the NFL is Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse. The NFL has also had a lock out due to players wanting more money.


Political- The most obvious example is the lockout. This mainly happened when players realized the risk they were putting their body at while playing the game. This led to larger salaries and also new rules/penalties.

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