Why Is “American Football” Called Football?

american football

Why Is American Football Called Football?

The term “football” is used in various ways in different parts of the world. In Europe, “football” typically refers to soccer, while in North America, it generally refers to American football.

The name “American football” is derived from rugby football, which was named after the association football (or soccer) game. When rugby football was first introduced to the United States in the mid-19th century, it was quickly adapted to fit the larger and more physical players.

Differences emerged between the two sports. These differences eventually led to the development of what we now know as American football. As a result, it is sometimes called “gridiron” football about its specific playing field.

The History of American Football

American football has its roots in rugby, which Englishman William Webb Ellis designed during a game at Rugby School in 1823. The rules were refined over time until they became what we know today as rugby union. By the 1870s, several versions of the game had emerged in the United States, including Harvard Rules and Intercollegiate Rules, considered two of the first iterations of the game we know today.

In 1876, representatives from Harvard University and Yale University met in New York City to establish a set of unified rules for a new version of the sport that would eventually become known as “gridiron” or “football.” This new form was similar to rugby but had some significant differences, such as changing from 15 players on each team to 11 players per team and introducing different ways to score points.

Quick History Of The NFL

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of North America’s four major professional sports leagues and the world’s highest professional level of American football.

The NFL was formed in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association (APFA) before renaming itself the National Football League for the 1922 season. After initially determining champions through end-of-season standings, a playoff system was instituted in 1933, where the top teams in each division played each other in the championship game. The AFL–NFL merger occurred in 1970, and the Super Bowl has served as the league’s championship game.

Why Is Football So Popular?

Entertaining To Watch: The action is non-stop, and something is always happening on the field. Every play is crucial, and every touchdown can change the outcome of the game. This makes for an exciting and unpredictable experience that keeps viewers engaged from start to finish.

Team Aspect/Social Sport: Watching games together is a popular pastime; many enjoy hosting or attending Super Bowl parties. The sport also lends itself to betting and other forms of gambling, making it even more exciting to follow.


American football has come a long way since its humble beginnings at Rugby School almost 200 years ago. Although it shares many similarities with soccer—hence why it’s called “football” here in the United States—it has evolved into its own distinct version with many unique rules and strategies.

From its incorporation of physical contact between opposing teams to its wildly different scoring system compared to traditional soccer games around the world, there’s no denying that America’s favorite pastime stands alone when it comes to sports.