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American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron.
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The ball can be advanced by running with it or throwing it to a teammate...
Points can be scored by carrying the ball over the opponent's goal line, catching a pass thrown over that goal line, kicking the ball through the opponent's goal posts or tackling an opposing ball carrier in his own end zone.

In the United States, the major forms are high school football, college football and professional football. Each of these three are played under slightly different rules. High school football is governed by the National Federation of State High School Associations, while college football by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The major league for professional football is the National Football League (NFL). Other minor professional leagues also exist in the U.S., and may also have slightly different rules from those of the NFL.

The sport is also played in Europe, Japan, Mexico, and several other countries. The International Federation of American Football acts as an international governing body for the sport, but the organization has little standing in the United States.

American football is closely related to Canadian football but with some differences in rules and the field. Both sports can be traced to early versions of association football and rugby football.
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History of American Football...

The history of American football can be traced to early versions of rugby football and association football. Both games have their origins in varieties of football played in the United Kingdom in the mid-19th century, in which a ball is kicked at a goal and/or run over a line. Many games known as "football" were being played at colleges and universities in the United States in the first half of the 19th century.

American football resulted from several major divergences from rugby football, most notably the rule changes instituted by Walter Camp, considered the "Father of American Football". Among these important changes were the introduction of the line of scrimmage and of down-and-distance rules. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, game play developments by college coaches such as Eddie Cochems, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Knute Rockne, and Glenn "Pop" Warner helped take advantage of the newly introduced forward pass.

The popularity of collegiate football grew as it became the dominant version of the sport for the first half of the twentieth century. Bowl games, a college football tradition, attracted a national audience for collegiate teams. Bolstered by fierce rivalries, college football still holds widespread appeal in the US.

The origin of professional football can be traced back to 1892, with William "Pudge" Heffelfinger's $500 contract to play in a game for the Allegheny Athletic Association against the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. The first Professional "league" was the Ohio League, formed in 1903, and the first Professional Football championship game was between the Buffalo Prospects and the Canton Bulldogs in 1919. In 1920, the American Professional Football Association was formed. The first game was played in Dayton, Ohio on October 3, 1920 with the host Triangles defeating the Columbus Panhandles 14–0. The league changed its name to the National Football League (NFL) two years later, and eventually became the major league of American football. Initially a sport of Midwestern industrial towns in the United States, professional football eventually became a national phenomenon. Football's increasing popularity is usually traced to the 1958 NFL Championship Game, a contest that has been dubbed the "Greatest Game Ever Played". A rival league to the NFL, the American Football League (AFL), began play in 1960; the pressure it put on the senior league led to a merger between the two leagues and the creation of the Super Bowl, which has become the most watched television event in the United States on an annual basis.
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American football in the United States

In the United States, the major forms are high school football, college football and professional football. Most American high schools field football teams. In general, high school teams play only against other teams within the same state, but there are some exceptions like nearby schools located on opposite sides of a state line.

Most of college football in the United States is governed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and most colleges and universities around the country have football teams. These teams mostly play other similarly sized schools, through the NCAA's divisional system, which divides the schools into four divisions: Division I Bowl Subdivision, Division I Championship Subdivision, Division II, and Division III. Unlike the three smaller NCAA football divisions, the Division I Bowl Subdivision does not have an organized tournament to determine its national champion. Instead, teams are invited to compete in a number of post-season bowl games. In addition, the champions of six conferences in the Division I Bowl Subdivision receive automatic bids, and four other schools receive "at-large" bids, to those five bowl games under the highly lucrative Bowl Championship Series to help determine the national champion.

The highest level major professional league in the United States is the 32-team National Football League (NFL). Another professional league, the 5-team United Football League, also currently operates. Several semi-professional, women's semi-professional football, and indoor football leagues are also played across the country.

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You may also be intetested in:
Tailgating
Super Bowl Sunday
American Football on Thanksgiving
American Football Calendar
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Also see:


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Resources:  This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses some material from Wikipedia/article football / and other related pages. Top photo homestead stock.-
Photo: The U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen position themselves defensively in preparation for a play by the Colorado State Rams.
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