Why is American Football Called Football

Why is American football called football? Many people find this question intriguing, especially when comparing it to soccer, which is referred to as football in numerous countries. 

Evolution of the Term “Football” in American Sports

The story of “football” began with games played on foot, far different from what we witness today. The term was a broad descriptor for various games with the common goal of moving a ball towards a target area, primarily using feet. However, with the establishment of the Football Association, “association football” or “soccer” started to take a distinct form. American football, though evolving with different rules and influences, particularly from rugby, surprisingly kept the original name “football.” This retention speaks volumes about the sport’s history and the cultural significance of the name in American sports.

Historical Context of American Football

Diving into the past of American football reveals a rich tapestry of events, influences, and changes that shaped the sport known and loved today. This journey is essential for understanding American football and why it’s such a significant cultural element in the United States.

The Origins of American Football

The roots of American football are deep. Initially, it was a hybrid of soccer and rugby, rather than the distinct sport it is now. The transformation began in the late 19th century, with the first football game purportedly taking place in 1869 between two college teams, Rutgers and Princeton. This game, which hardly followed any standardized rules, is a far cry from the organized, strategic sport that football in America has become.

It was Walter Camp, known as the “Father of American football,” who made the pivotal changes in the 1880s that started shaping the sport. He introduced the line of scrimmage, the concept of downs, and the system of scoring that differentiated it from its rugby roots. These rule changes made the game unique and addressed the growing concerns regarding the sport’s safety at that time.

The Influences of Various Traditional Ball Games

American football wasn’t created on its own; it was influenced by different traditional ball games. Knowing these influences is important, especially when thinking about where the name “football” came from or when you’re into football betting on websites.


Soccer, or ‘football’ as most of the world calls it, helped shape American football. In soccer, players mostly use their feet to move the ball toward the other team’s goal. American football uses some of these ideas. But, it lets players use their hands to carry or throw the ball.


Rugby has a lot in common with American football. Both games are physical and strategic. Players in both sports run with the ball, engage in robust tackles, and aim to advance position on the field. These fundamental aspects are common to both games, while the ball’s shape, scoring methods, and American football ball movement techniques on the field originate from rugby. American football changed some rugby rules. Yet, the excitement, strategy, and teamwork are still there. Knowing this helps us understand the process of changing the game over time. Fans who bet on games see the value in this history.

The Emergence of Distinct American Football Rules and Gameplay

As American football evolved, its rules became quite different from soccer and rugby. This change didn’t happen all at once, but through several important changes that made the sport truly unique. So, let’s discover the main differences between soccer and football in the table below. 

Feature Soccer NFL American Football
The objective of the Game Score goals into the opponent’s net. Score points by carrying or throwing the ball into the opponent’s end zone or kicking it through the goalposts.
Duration of the Game Two halves of 45 minutes each. Four quarters of 15 minutes each.
Playing Field Rectangular, grass. Rectangular, with yard lines, grass, or artificial.
Number of Players 11 11
Ball Round. Oblong, leather.
Contact Limited. Full.
Use of Hands Goalkeeper only. All players are allowed.
Offsides Yes. No (but there is a neutral zone rule).
Time-outs No. Yes.
Passes Feet and head only. Hands and feet.
Penalties Penalty kicks, free kicks. Penalty yards.


Walter Camp introduced a revolutionary concept that replaced the chaotic scrums from rugby. The introduction of downs, or limited attempts to advance the ball, added a strategic element, forcing teams to plan plays carefully.

Scoring changed as well. Touchdowns, field goals, and safeties started to earn different points. So games were more complex and strategic. The size of the field, player positions, and game length became standardized, creating a foundation for teams to develop various tactics and playing styles.

Equipment improved, making safety a priority without sacrificing the game’s excitement. Helmets, padding, and the forward pass reduced the roughness of early games, making the sport more dynamic and safer.

These rule changes, over years of implementation and refinement, sculpted American football as distinct from any other sport. The result is a game that captivates millions. It is characterized by a unique blend of strategy, physical prowess, and sheer unpredictability that keeps fans, players, and football betting enthusiasts on the edge of their seats.

The popularity of American Football Today

American football is a premier sport in the United States, with a huge following and a strong media presence. It’s not just popular in stadiums; online football betting sites also play a big role in spreading its appeal and engagement through the digital world.

How Sports Betting Boosted the Appeal of American Football

The surge in sports betting, particularly in football, has undeniably elevated the sport’s excitement. Platforms offering the best betting football options have expanded the fanbase, attracting enthusiasts who may be interested in the game’s dynamics and in the potential for monetary gain. These platforms provide a plethora of betting options, from predicting game results to specific player performances, thereby increasing viewer investment in matches.

Moreover, the question, “Why is American football called football?” becomes even more intriguing when placed in the context of betting. The unique rules, play styles, and scoring system of American football offer a variety of betting angles and strategies, distinguishing it from betting practices in soccer, known as football elsewhere.

The integration of sports betting with watching football has led to a more interactive experience. Fans aren’t just passive spectators but active participants who analyze game statistics, player information, and team strategies. This level of engagement is a testament to the sport’s enduring popularity and the diverse ways it continues to captivate audiences worldwide.


Why do people call American football ‘football’? To understand, we need to look at the time when the game started. Long ago, it was more like rugby and soccer. Now, it’s the most popular sport in the United States. 

Walter Camp changed the game a lot. His new rules made American football different from games like rugby. Now, it’s not just a game. It’s a big part of American culture that brings audiences together. American football keeps changing, but one thing stays the same – people love it. It’s fun and exciting for fans to work with each other as a team. That’s why it’s so special in America.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like