People have played goal games for hundreds of years. Football was born in England. The English have played football for many centuries.
In the 1200s they played a kind of football on feast days. The field was the land between two villages. The teams were the people of the two villages. The ball was the leathery bladder of a pig or other animal, blown up like a balloon. Each team tried to kick the ball all the way to the other village. These games were so dangerous that people were often killed.
It is a historical fact that Henry VIII passed a law forbidding football in England.
In the 1800s, students at boys’ schools in England played a game something like soccer. Players tried to kick the ball down the field to the goal. Then in 1823, a boy at Rugby School picked up the ball and ran with it. This was against the rules, but many players liked the idea. So they made up a new game called rugby football.
Boys in the United States began playing football in the 1860s. They, too, liked the idea of running with the ball, so they used some of the rugby rules. They also made up rules of their own. Soon, American football was quite different from the football played in other countries. It is considered to be a rough game, played by men only. Thus football has become one of the most popular games all over the world.
This game is also a popular sport to watch. Millions of fans watch the games on television and find them very exciting.
The English are the most passionate spectators. When there is a big race day anywhere or a match is on, the stadium gates must always close, leaving out thousands of people. In any weather the sport grounds are absolutely full and the spectators keep shouting their heads off.1
American football is no less popular with people in the United States and Canada. Often whole families attend the stadium and sport grounds to cheer for their favorite team.