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Who Invented The American Football?

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The American game of football was invented after British rugby players introduced their sport to the Americans. This introduction occurred in 1868, when British soldiers living in Montreal showed players at an American University how to play rugby and the rules involved with that sport. It would be over thirty years later that the American version of rugby, football, became a fully developed sport. However, there are people that became involved in the evolution of the sport, and important dates that are interesting to learn about concerning football.

Walter CampWalter Camp, Father of American Fottball. © Yale University.


1874 is an important year to remember in football history because it is the first recorded date that a game resembling American football took place. McGill and Harvard University played several games of football, and the two teams enjoyed playing it so much that the Ivy League school system worked to incorporate the sport into their sports programs. Although this sport had different rules than American football today, this addition would lead to a growing popularity that would help make the sport more known to the masses.

Walter Camp

For over thirty years, football remained an unorganized sport that was only played be a few university teams. The un-organization led Walter Camp to work on a set of rules for the sport that would help to establish football as a real sport. He didn’t invent the sport, but his rules and regulations made the sport a little more sophisticated and it gave more people a chance to play. Once his rules began to catch on, Camp worked to promote the sport throughout America in hopes that it would become more popular in the States.

Theodore Roosevelt

One of America’s president was almost responsible for the demise of football. Theodore Roosevelt thought the sport was too violent, and after stories of severe injuries that players had incurred, Roosevelt threatened that he would ban the sport altogether. After much debate, Roosevelt decided that he would not fight against the sport if a set of safety regulations were enacted to help prevent players from being injured. Roosevelt’s requirement and other improvements led to the eventual establishment of American football that is played today.

More on American football

  1. Facts about American football
  2. Facts about the Super Bowl