Why is American football called football (as most of the sport involves using your hands)?

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Mudassir Ali 3 months 1 Answer 45 views 0

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  1. Originally Answered: Why is American football called football — as most of the sport involves using your hands?
    There is some good information among the answers so far, but also a lot of misleading and incorrect statements.
    Generally speaking the modern codes of football, including American football, can be traced back to the numerous field and cross-country ball games that were played throughout the British Isles for centuries. Since at least the 1300s they have been known as “football” and almost all were played with both hands and feet. By the 1800s many public schools in the UK played some form of football under the school’s own rules mostly managed by the students. Football-style games spread throughout the world during the early 1800s and in the US informal and unruly games of mob football were widely played under rules based on custom and loose agreement. By the late-1860s major US East Coast universities (like Yale, Princeton, Harvard etc) played a more formalised football related to the Association game (which became soccer) and the Rugby game, with influences from other UK styles such as Winchester football. During the 1870s there was increasing desire for competition between the colleges without having to negotiate the rules for every match. By the late 1870s a rules committee was set up to codify the game, which was based in many ways on the early Rugby style, but already included several differences. From this point on US football evolved towards the game we know today, and just like all the other codes (including Rugby Union, Rugby League, Australian Rules, Gaelic football) it has always correctly been regarded as “football”.

    One point is worth making because it’s often mentioned in these threads. It’s a common mistake to say that Rugby developed out of soccer/Association football in some way. Historically, things happened more the other way round. Almost without exception the many styles of football played in the English schools during the early 1800s allowed handling of the ball to some degree. Even when the original Football Association was formed in 1863 to formally codify the game, their first written laws allowed for a fair catch, which wasn’t changed until 1866. So when the Association eventually banned all but the goalkeeper from handling, this was a late development in football, well after the handling game had been established. Soccer was not the original style. When the Rugby Football Union published its own laws in 1871, codifying the game that had evolved from the Rugby School version, the two different styles became firmly established.
    As is widely noted in writings and research on the history of Rugby Union, the “birth of rugby” story set in Rugby School in the 1820s and specifically crediting its origins to William Webb Ellis, is an unsubstantiated myth. Appealing, but unfortunately without any real evidence.

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