The United States game of football begins in the second half of the 19th century. It started in US colleges and the game drew heavily on the English game of rugby. The first inter-collegiate was played between Rutgers College and Princeton University in 1869. It gained a rapid following in college sports in America. The forward pass began as an accident. In a game between Yale and Princeton when a player being tackled threw the ball forward. The result was a touchdown against Princeton.
College football in the later part of the 19th century had formalized all of its rules and the "forward pass" was not in them. Also, there was nothing in the rules preventing one. The famed college football icon John Heisman, best known for his years coaching Georgia Tech in Atlanta, pressed the rules committee to include the forward pass.
This new action, the pass, was not used very often after the rules allowed it. There are reasons why, which are these:
1. the football is not caught by the offensive pass receiver, losing a down; and
2. the football may be intercepted by the opposing team, costing the offense possession of the ball.
College football continued to grow as a major US sport. The forward pass lingered as an offensive weapon until a game between two storied universities, West Point ( US Military Academy ) in New York and the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. Both schools were famous for their excellent sports teams.
Notre Dame used the forward pass to beat their rival, West Point. From that point on, 1913, the forward pass became an important part of the game.
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