American Football Day
American Football Day celebrates the popular sport, American football. Like many sports, the rules of the game changed a lot over time to be what they now are. The roots of American football are in rugby football and association football—which is commonly known as soccer. The first American football game is seen as being played on November 6, 1869, but the rules were the same as soccer at the time. During the 1870's rugby gained more of an influence on the game, and the ball was allowed to be carried. Walter Camp is known as the "Father of American football", and rule changes he came up with in 1880 brought about things such as the snap, the concept of downs, and teams having eleven players on the field at once. At this time most football was being played at the college level, and a intercollegiate association that later came to be known as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was formed in 1905. In 1906 the forward pass was introduced, and changes in field sizes and points for scoring changed soon afterwards. In 1920 a professional league was formed, which came to be known as the National Football League (NFL). By the 1930's the NFL was gaining in popularity because of its emphasis on the passing game, and football in general was gaining in popularity.
Some interpret American Football Day to be a day to specifically celebrate the American Football League (AFL), which existed for about a decade during the 1960's, and is notable for both increasing the popularity of football, and for being innovative. The AFL came up with the idea of the scoreboard clock, two-point conversions, and putting players' names on jerseys. It also expanded the role of minorities in the sport. By the end of the 1960's the league merged with the NFL.
Although baseball is known as America's pastime, it is second in popularity in the United States to professional American football. College football is the third most popular sport, coming after baseball. Football played at the high school level and younger is also popular. One of the biggest sports events in the world is the Super Bowl, and bowl games for college football are also very popular.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by watching professional, college, or high school football, by either going to a game or watching one on television. You could also listen to a game on the radio. Spend the day playing a game of football with friends, or just toss around a football. This may also be a good day to dig out your old football cards or other football memorabilia.