The football history and Yale football have more in common than the most ardent football fans realise. Yale football is played from the very beginning of football, and in many ways the Yale football team is responsible for the game played at high school football fields on Friday evenings and at NFL arenas on Sundays. Although many know that football is a contemporary variation of the sport of rugby (which is an interesting adaptation of a sport played in the past by ancient Greeks) many people are unaware of how the European focused game in the 19th century migrated across the Atlantic to be what is now by most estimates the most popular game in America.
In the early 1800s, the game became an increasingly popular sport in a number of New England colleges located in the region campuses, which would later be recognized as being part of the Ivy League (a distinction created in 1954). The most enthusiastic were the students of Yale, Harvard, and Princeton who’s enthusiasm for the sport was the direct result of the English training that many of their students been exposed to prior to their enrollment at these American institutions that had strong ties with their home country of the United Kingdom.
The man widely believed to be being the pioneer in contemporary American football was Walter Camp, a Connecticut born Yale alumni who at his age of only 33 had already earned the title of “Father of American Football.” Camp was a 1880 graduate from Yale University and went to be Head Coach at Yale from 1888 until 1891 before relocating to the west coast of America to become an early coach for Stanford University. Camp assumed the role of head coach at Stanford in the second season following the fact that Stanford had their inaugural 1891 season without the head coach.
Without the rules Walter Camp developed while at Yale football would be completely unrecognizable. One of the many important changes attributable to Camp are many innovations, including:
With downs, i.e. first down, second down 3rd down, and finally 4th down
The point system (six points to score touchdowns three points when field goal attempts and so on.)
Passing the ball in the middle to the quarterback
The current, often complicated rule that requires teams to include seven players in the line of scrimmage (including receivers)
Inventing the safety, and then choosing to give it with two points
According to some, the creation of the forward pass (a controversial subject)
Alongside inventing regulations that will become America’s pastime of the twenty-first century. Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut is the birth location of many of the college football’s most beloved traditions. These include the most famous rivalry (Harvard and Yale. Yale began in 1875 The series is still played today. Yale is the winner of the series) as well as the first college mascot to live (the Yale bulldog known as Handsome Dan) as well as the first bowling arena (the Yale Bowl) which was the basis for later bowls such as the famous Rose Bowl. Bowl game or Super Bowl both derive from the name Rose Bowl Stadium (home of the first postseason college football match) which , as was previously mentioned, was named and modeled in it’s predecessor, the Yale Bowl.
One of the most interesting aspects about the past of football in relation with Yale football is the fact that if you have asked Yale pupils in the first quarter of the nineteenth century which game had the more potential for popularity , football or debate the overwhelming majority spbo of them would have been that debate was likely to be more well-known of both games. Before there was ESPN debate results made the front pages and prompted applause from the crowds of rowdy fans as teams were sent off to compete against rival universities. In addition to the fact that debate was more popular than football in terms of its popularity was the fact that football was in danger of being wiped out because of the high rate of serious injuries.
We’ve all seen the way that the power struggle between football and debate games played out, and following reading this article on the background of football in relation to Yale football fans, they will hopefully will have a better understanding of how a game that affects the lives of so many (and advertising dollars during Super Bowl Sunday) came to be.