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American Football

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Introduction

American Football is a British game that appeared in the USA in the mid 19th century and became a national game. Actually, the history of American football often is referred to an early period of rugby. The main act, which associates with these games is kicking at a goal and running over a line. As the matter of fact, rugby rules in major constitute American football regulations. Nevertheless, there were some changes embedded in the game. The name of innovator who changed the game was Walter Camp. He was known as ‘the father of American football’. The main changes that characterize American football and differ it from rugby are down and distance rules, and a line of scrimmage (Professional Football Researchers Association, 2010). Firstly, football was a type of collage game, which was developed by college coaches Knute Rockne, Eddie Branch, Amos Alonzo Stagg and others. Year after year, American football was becoming more and more popular. From the late 19th to early 20th century, American football turned out to be the most popular sport in the USA. The college football traditions and bowl games attracted attention of the audience to a football game. This changed American Football from a regional into a national game.

How to Deal with the Game?

American Football is a game played  between two teams of eleven players each. The goal of the game is scoring of the points, which demonstrate the advantage of a leading team. Getting points is possible due to putting the ball in the opposite team’s end zone. It is possible to achieve this goal by running with the ball or throwing it to a teammate.

Admittedly, American Football is the most popular type of college, school or professional games in the USA. The rules of this game differ according to place the game is played. It means that school football and college football has its own particularities. There are different institutions, which govern football at different levels. The National Federation of State High School Associations direct high school football matches. The National College Athletic Association deals with college football plays. The National Football League governs the highest league for professional players. The high school football appeared in 1880s and enjoys its regional popularity till nowadays while the college and professional football games got a national recognition.

Historical Events of American Football Development

American Football is a particular ball - related game, which is closely bounded with Canadian football, but it has its own differences entailed with field and general game rules. Nevertheless, American Football history might be traced to early football played in Great Britain in the mid  19th century. The first half of 19th century brought a variety of football games to American colleges and universities. Therefore, it is common to think that differences in college, school and professional games appeared in mid 19th century.

The most popular Rutgers and Princeton Universities played their first intercollegiate football game on 6 November, 1869. The rules of that game closely resembled the rules of soccer. The Rutgers won that game with the score 6-4. In 1872, the rugby–style games were presented to the USA. It was a game between Harvard’s football team and McGill University. The McGill University’s play could be featured as rugby, but the game was held according to Harvard’s house rules. Such combination determined a starting point to American Football we know today.

The popularity of American football increased because collegiate football became a dominant version of sportive games in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. College football as a part of American Football still has widespread appeal in the United States of America. It attracts millions of people and has become a national game nowadays. 

The origin of professional games goes back to 1892. William Heffelfinger known as William ‘Pudge’ got a first $500 contract to play in the game for the Allegheny Athletic Association against Pittsburg Athletic Club. In 1903, the core of professional football moved westward to Ohio. In the late 1910s, the mass dispersal moved Midwest. In 1920, the American Professional Football Association was formed. It was created as a temporary alliance for combined actions of teams from regional state associations. Two years later the League changed its name to National Football League. Its first game was played on 3 October, 1920 in Dayton, Ohio where the host Triangles entirely defeated the Columbus Panhandles with the score 14-0. As the result, the National Football League became a major league of football in the country and professional football became a national phenomenon started initially as a kind of sport of Midwestern industrial towns. National Football League Championship Game in 1958 brought great fame to the football games. This game was proclaimed ‘The Greatest Game ever played’ (Georgetown Magazine, 2010). 

In 1960, a rival league to National Football League appeared, and it was called American Football League. It put pressure on the senior league and prompted the merger between both leagues and created the Super Bowl, which is the most watched television event in the USA and is held on the annual basis. During long time, there were appearing different leagues of either professional or other level, but the most of them unfortunately were short – living.

General Rules of American Football

The rules of American football vary according to the place the game is played at. However, there are general standards to follow. Some of them are of great importance. The field and the players, the game duration, an advancing of the ball, the change of positions, scoring, and kicks are very important.

Football field should be neither less nor bigger than 360 by 160 feet. It is approximately 48,8 meters or 53,3 yards. There must be a long line, which is called sideline and a shorter line known as an end line. It is important to note that sidelines and end lines are out of bounds. The goal line is situated near each end of the field. As the matter of fact, the goal lines are 100 yards apart. On the field in the American football, there are so-called end zones or scoring areas. They stretch ten yards beyond every goal line to every end line. Eventually, the end zone inserts the goal line. The end line is not a part of its constitution. The Yard lines are very important, as well. They come each 5 yards long. They must be numbered each 10 yards beginning from a goal line to 50 yard line. There are two ranks of one yard lines or harsh marks also on the football field. The lines arrangement makes football field resemble the cooking grill with the similar lines order. There are also numbers on the field that indicate the distance to the next goal line.

The duration of the game in American football consists of four equal fifteen minutes quarters. The time of quarters might be less, if it is not a professional game, for example, twelve minutes quarters in high school. The half time ranges’ duration depends on the level of competitions. It might be from 10 to 20 minutes.

Start of halves is a very important part of the game. It determines which of two teams will start competition. The coin toss repeats every time when the half starts. The results of the first half sortation do not automatically determine a beginner of all halves. Each time when the half starts, teams choose a new beginner. The referee determines tree main options that the team winner of the coin toss gets. The team might delay the first choice of another team and has a choice to start the second half. The  winner team might also choose which goal to defer. In addition, the team might determine to kick or receive an opening kickoff.

Advancing the ball takes a significant part of the game. Advancing the ball determines that the team offense (possessing the ball) has four chances to advance the ball towards their opponents, at least ten yards. As soon as offense succeeds getting at least ten yards, the team gets first down. It means that the team starts a new set of four downs to get ten yards more or to score. Players might advance the ball in two ways. First one is by rushing and the second is by throwing the ball to a teammate (passing the football).

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Each half of the game starts with the kickoff. The team might kickoff after scoring touchdowns. In the National Football League, the team kicks with the help of kicking tee from the 35 yard. The main goal of the kicks is to catch and advance the tall as soon as possible.

In American football as in any other type of sport there are penalties to punish the offending team. Mainly, most penalties consist of moving the football towards the team offender’s end zone. There are some special teams in modern American Football. The punters, place-kickers, long snappers, returners, and the holders form the special sub-teams in the National Football League.

The strategy in American Football takes a great part. It depends on the event that the game stops after every down, giving the team a chance to call a new play. Therefore, coach of the team does his best to create a perfect strategy. Each coach knows that rushing games are not as risky as passing games are. Nevertheless, there are relatively risky rushing and relatively safe passing games. That is why, the coach of each team develops its own strategy for game arrangement.

In conclusion, American football is a unique sport, which appeared as an entertaining game and has become national game of the whole country. This game is about gaining points as much as gaining a territory. American Football attracts people all over the world. Therefore, there are international organizations, which support and develop such kind of sport. People root for their favorite teams all over the country. Joint emotional experience unites different people. In such a way, Football in America serves as some kind of social bounding. So, American Football is not only a part of sport but a part of the culture. Moreover, Football in the USA symbolizes an American psyche. American football is a typical game for Americans. It depends on the fact that people living in USA like big, loud and affective things. Therefore, they live in big cities, use big cars and need a lot of space. The best characteristic of American Football is the ability to high a competitive American spirit. The performance of team makes fans live and die during the game. 30 millions of Americans play American Football and the number of gamers is constantly increasing. As the matter of fact, American Football has become an integral part of USA leisure and turned out to be a symbol of American spirit and mentality.

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