The leaves are turning red, the air is getting colder, and on many Saturdays, Syracuse University’s campus is flooded by people decked out in orange and blue. That’s right, it’s football season and SU fan’s are out to support the Orange. But before you run off to the Carrier Dome on game day, why not learn a little bit about the history of the game?
The sport of football evolved from rugby in the 19th century in elite American universities such as Yale and Harvard. Walter Camp, known as the father of American football, coached the Yale team and created many of the key rules today: 11 player team, the line of scrimmage, the seven man line with a quarterback, two halfbacks, and a fullback, and the three chances to gain 5 yards, which would later be changed to 4 downs for 10 yards.
Early football was dangerous and had a reputation for being a high injury and high mortality sport. However, American football continued to grow in popularity. Eventually more regulations were made to make the sport safer and the forward pass and 6-point touchdown were put in place, which separated the sport even more from rugby. In 1920, the American Professional Football Association was created (later changed to the NFL) and we all know what happens from there.
Football is America’s favorite sport, beating out baseball for the ninth consecutive year as America’s favorite sport, a Harris Interactive poll of 2,331adults concluded. “Three in ten Americans who follow at least one sport (31%) say professional football is their favorite sport while 17% say baseball,” according to the poll.
Syracuse has many opportunities to get out and play some football. If you’re looking to throw a football around with some friends head over to Walnut Park, the quad, or the field in front of Lawrinson Hall. When you want to get a little more organized, try the football field in Thorden Park that’s equipped with goal posts. There is also open space at Skytop, the Women’s Building, and Hookway that are great for an intramural game of flag or touch football. A reservation must be made through SU’s Recreation Services to use these fields. Or take the easy way our and just go outside and throw the ball in the street! Football is one of those great sports where all you need is a ball and some people so get out there and get playing!
By Audrey Hart