Archive for August, 2011

Walter Camp: The True Founder of American Football

August 21st, 2011

Football season has sprung and the sport is in full swing. Many fans love the ruggedness of American Football. It is not a sport for the weak. Fans follow their favorite teams and cheer them on at home, games, and businesses. Here is a little history to help in the appreciation of this cherished American sport. Rule changes in rugby football gave birth to modern day American Football. Walter Camp instituted changes helped define the modern game. The rule changes made in 1879 gave football its start. College coaches contributed to changes in game play that helped football become a dominant sport in America. The popularity of college football is what pushed the sports dominance in the 20th century.

Walter Camp was born in Connecticut and studied at Yale. From the years of 1888 to 1914, Camp served as the main athletic director and head football coach for Yale University. He played football at Yale and instituted some of the most notable and renowned rule changes in the game. Due to these significant rule changes, he is often referred to as the founder or father of American Football. Rules were taken and altered from the popular games of rugby and soccer to create a new set of standards for the sport. William Ebb Ellis also influenced these change by running with the ball during a rugby game in 1823. This was an immediate breach of the existing rules and paved the way for future changes. A convention held in 1876 formed the initial rules of American Football. After the rules had been defined, Walter Camp continued to edit and change rulebooks until he passed on in 1925.

Walter Camp contributed many football adaptations that now make the game what it is today. He reduced the team size from fifteen to eleven. The line of scrimmage was created. A team was set to have undisputed possession until their own violations force them to hand over the ball. Two new positions were formed: quarterback and center. The forward pass was also invented by Walter Camp. A standard scoring system and numerical scoring were defined. Other notable changes included safeties, interferences, and penalties. In 1888, above knee tackling was allowed. Then in 1912, touchdown and field goal points were changed to six and three points. All are very important changes that molded American Football into its modern creation. » Read more: Walter Camp: The True Founder of American Football

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Atlanta Falcons – How American College Football Elevated to Pro

August 20th, 2011

In the early 19th century, some students at Princeton played a game that was known as “ballown,” where they used their fists and their feet to advance the ball. During that time, there were no hard and fast established rules; the goal was simply to advance the ball past the opposing team. At Harvard, freshmen and sophomores competed in a game that was called “Bloody Monday,” a football-like game that was played on the first Monday of every school year. Around 1860, the game soon caught popularity among the Boston Common and had several variations.

The First Intercollegiate Football Game

Around 1865, colleges began organizing football games, which still did not have clearly instituted rules and gameplay. Princeton established some rudimentary rules some time in 1867 and in that year, American football was patented for the first time. In addition to Princeton’s rules, Rutgers College contributed a set of rules in that same year. In November 6, 1869, Princeton and Rutgers, combining their set of rules, played the first intercollegiate football. Rutgers won six goals to four.

The Intercollegiate Football Association

In 1873, representatives from Princeton, Rutgers, Columbia, and Yale met in New York City and formulated the first intercollegiate football rules and established the Intercollegiate Football Association (IFA), setting the number of players allowed in a team to fifteen.

The Final Evolution of American Football

Walter Camp, a football coach at Yale and member of the IFA, was a big dissenter of the fifteen-player football team and wanted to institute an eleven-player team. Considered as the “Father of American Football,” Walter Camp helped institute the final evolution of the American Football from the rugby-style of playing. Led by Camp, the IFA committee soon cut the number of football players to eleven from the original fifteen and instated the size of the football playing field at 110 yards. It was also Walter Camp who introduced the systems of downs in 1882 and the line of scrimmage rules. He also standardized the scoring system and created the safety, penalties, interference, and neutral zone. In time, further developments were made to the rules of the game, with the help of college football coaches such as Amos Alonzo Stagg, Knute Rockne, Glenn “Pop” Warner, and Eddie Cochems. » Read more: Atlanta Falcons – How American College Football Elevated to Pro

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Penalizing Excellence in Youth Football

August 18th, 2011

Working With Special Rules Mullahs in Youth Football.

In youth football many of the leagues rules seem to be very fluid. Special rules are put in place one year and are out the next. These special rules are often developed to hinder or help specific organizations within the league that have the political power to put them in place. I’m not speaking about rules like minimum play rules which help coaches get all the kids into games for a set number of football plays. I’m speaking of rules designed to water down the effectiveness and efficiency of certain teams systems.

In the leagues my team plays, football rules change slightly from year to year based on the decisions of the ruling Board. In the previous youth football league my teams played in, all the teams voted on the rules changes each year. Regardless of the ruling body or structure, we all have to deal with rule changes from year to year. Part of coaching youth football well involves adapting and making adjustments. Part of the youth football game are yearly rule changes. It doesn’t do your team, coaches or parents any good to lament about woulda, coulda, shouldas when it comes to rule changes. Adapt and overcome, heck embrace the challenge, unfortunately it’s part of the wonderful world of youth football.

If you run the Single Wing offense, you may have already run into some of these special rules being put in to hinder your success. Many youth football Board members are made up of coaches in the league and quite frankly many of them don’t like seeing their teams get clobbered each week by physically inferior teams, its embarrassing to them. Heck that’s one reason we have a heck of a time getting teams to play us in extra games, they can’t use the excuse “they were bigger, faster, had more kids etc”. So the leadership often try to give themselves even greater advantages via additional “special rules”. » Read more: Penalizing Excellence in Youth Football

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