American Football History
Soccer History

When was football invented?

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July 28, 2013 11:37AM

The ball games from which all modern football games are known to have evolved were first played in Medieval Europe to mark events in the Christian calendar in particular shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. Early football type games were not only played by the English but also by other European peoples under different names from their languages with localized innovations. Alternative forms include Irish "Caid" meaning 'Ball' the ancestor of Gaelic football, Cornish Hurling "Hyrlîan", Welsh Hurling "Cnapan". A game called "La Soule" meaning 'The Ball' was played in France, "Ba" pronounced baw meaning 'Ball' played in Scotland and "Ball play" or "Playing at ball" or "Campball" or significantly "Fote-ball" games played in England. The Shrovetide ball game referred to as "fote-ball" is the version from which all modern football games take their name. The most popular modern codes include American football (Gridiron), Canadian football, Australian rules football, Gaelic football, Rugby Union football and Rugby league football and Association football (Soccer).

The oldest recorded set of football rules are the Cambridge Rules of 1848. They included modern aspects of the game, such as throw-ins, goal kicks, forward passes, a rudimentary offside rule; and they prevented running with the ball in hand, but did allow a player to catch the ball much like taking a mark in Aussie rules.


The football rules were gradually codified around the end of the 19th century when the game evolved from rugby. The first "professional" player was paid in 1892, and the precursor to the NFL was formed in 1920.