Why Is The Game Called Football?
Like the game itself, the word “football” has foreign ancestors. Historians trace American football back to two European cousins, soccer and rugby. Both began as kicking games.
Soccer- the most popular sport in the world – was originally known as “association football.” Newspapers seeking a shorter phrase began to refer to it as “assoc.” That name was soon shortened to “soc” and then grew back a bit to “soccer.”
While rugby also began as a football game, in 1823 something occurred that changed the kicking game forever. A player named William Webb Ellis, instead of kicking the ball over the goal line, picked it up and ran it across. At first, observers didn’t know what to think. Eventually, the agreed it was a good idea. The game was played at the Rugby School and became known as rugby football, later shortened to rugby.
Both soccer-style football and rugby-style football eventually found their way to America. What resulted was an American combination of the two games. It was until much later (1906) that forward passing was allowed. So because the American game was really just another form of the European football games, it too became known as football.
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