When you think of football, what comes to mind? Is it the kind of football that Americans refer to as soccer? Or is it the American version of football also known as the gridiron? With fall quickly approaching and school kicking into gear, in the U.S. it is also time for Friday night lights or American football season.
Football is a team sport played with eleven players on the field for each team at one time. The two teams face off on a rectangular field with goal posts at each end. The idea is to advance the football, sometimes called a pigskin, down the field and to the end zone to score. The other team attempts to keep this from happening by executing strategic blocking and tackling maneuvers.
The Start of American Football
American football developed in the U.S. originating from rugby and soccer (also sometimes referred to as football in other parts of the world). The first football game was played in November 1869 between Princeton and Rutgers college teams. The rules were based on association football rules at the time and players weren’t allowed to touch the ball with their hands.
During the late 1870's, the rules evolved to follow the Rugby Union code which allowed players to carry the ball. Rules created in 1880 by Walter Camp, known as the Father of American Football, established the common eleven-player teams, established the snap, and the concept of downs. Additional rules followed to legalize a neutral zone, the size and shape of the football, and the forward pass.
Although there are other sports that are popular in the United States too, football is still the most popular. Crowds gather to professional and college football games each year with other levels of the game being played by youth and high school players. Nearly 70,000 college athletes and 1.1 million high school athletes play football.
The National Football League, or NFL, has the highest attendance of any other professional sports league in the world. The Super Bowl, which is the championship game that wraps up the football season each year, is the most watched sporting event in the world. The NFL’s annual revenue is approximately $10 billion.
First Professional Football Player
The U.S. saw its first professional football player in November 1892. William Heffelfinger, known as Pudge, was paid $500 to play for the Allegheny Athletic Association in a game against the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. It is the first game that noted a player being paid to play in a game of football in the U.S. Prior to then, clubs offered indirect benefits to players such as employment, watches, trophies, and other gifts. The direct payment of cash to players was extremely frowned upon, and possibly even prohibited.
Little by little, professional football has become more common. This led to an unpredictable player movement and increasing salaries, as well as payment to college players that was against the rules. So, the NFL was formed in 1920 to solve these problems.
NFL Rival & League Expansion
In 1960, a rival rose to challenge the NFL’s dominance over football. The American Football League began out of relative obscurity but eventually thrived when they got a contract with the ABC television network. This forced the NFL to expand. Competition between the two leagues really heated up in 1965 when the New York Jets with the AFL signed Joe Namath to a record-breaking $437,000 contract. Their next move was a $40 million NBC television contract to secure and sustain their growing league.
The bidding war ended in 1966 when NFL owners approached the AFL about a merger. The two agreed on a merger that would take place in 1970. This put into place a player draft that would take place each year and a world championship game, which became known as the Super Bowl, would be played between the champions of each league.
Great Football Games Require Great Gear
If you've ever watched a football game, you know that there is plenty of gear needed by the players. They wear a loosely fitting jersey with shoulder pads underneath for protection. They also wear pants with padding and a padded helmet for additional safety. Their feet are covered with knee-high football socks and they wear cleats to get a good grip on the field. This attire is similar for all levels of play ranging from youth football all the way to the NFL.
Football fans also like to get into the games by wearing shirts, hats, and football socks that match their favorite team. So, whether you’re a fan or a player, MadSportsStuff has exactly what you need. They have football socks of all sizes and colors to meet everyone’s needs. They have digital camo football socks and football socks with custom colors and numbers.
MadSportsStuff has one of the largest selections of sports socks and football socks and they’re made in the U.S. too! They’re made to bring out the fun, colorful side of football while still providing a quality and durable fit that will last through the hardest hitting football season around. The company started as a family business and has grown to where they are today, but they still uphold their small family business values.
Prepare with Classic Football Drills
Every football player knows that you don't just step on the field ready for the season. You have to prepare ahead of time to be sure your ready. You have to buy your equipment and football socks, start eating healthy and nutritious food and kick practice into full swing. With every football practice comes football drills to help build the skills you’ll need to perform your best during each game of the season.
Routine football practices and Football drills help develop the techniques and skills that players need to tackle and block and catch and carry the ball. Most coaches use football drills during practice to help improve the team’s overall skills during the game as well as each individual’s performance. Training usually includes physical conditioning with weights and body resistance, as well as drills for stamina. Football practices typically include football drills for all skills needed during the game such as special teams, offense, and defense. Some common football drills include the following:
- Blocking – These football drills teach defensive and offensive players hand techniques and footwork. Two players will stand face to face with each other. When the coach blows the whistle, the offensive players are taught to drive into the defender’s chest with their legs pushing and not make contact with the other player. Defensive players are taught to manipulate the blocks with their upper body weight and hands to get through the block.
- Tackling – This is a box football drill where offensive players are conditioned to hitting and teaching defensive players the proper posture for tackling. These skills are necessary to prevent serious injuries. Offensive players will also learn to protect the football. To perform this football drill, set four cones out to form a box that is five yards square. Have players line up on opposing sides of the box. One is the designated carrier of the ball. When the whistle blows, the coach will hand the ball to the carrier and the carrier will attempt to make it to the opposite end of the box. The player at the opposing end will then attempt to tackle within the cones. Players rotate so all have an opportunity to tackle and carry the ball.
- Receiving – These two on three passing drills teach receivers and offensive backs how to complete crisp passing routes and make catches under the pressure of defenders. The linebackers and defensive back will also develop their pass coverage skills. For the drill, you will need a quarterback with two wide receivers, as well as two defensive backs in man on man coverage with a linebacker in the center. When the whistle blows, the receivers run three-step slant routes over the middle and the ball is thrown to either of them. The coach may include tackling or limit the drill to only hand contact. The ball should be thrown to both sides during the drill.
- Wind Sprints – This football drill helps develop lung capacity, speed, and stamina. Players line up at the goal line in a three-point stance. When the whistle blows, the players spring hard for eight yards and then reset on the 10-yard line. The players will get set, and then the whistle will blow again. Continue the drill for the length of the entire field, then have them jog a lap for a cool down. This type of football drill should be done at the end of practice to allow players to properly recover.
Are You Ready for America’s Favorite Fall Sport?
So, whether you’re cheering on your favorite football player from the sidelines as a proud parent, sibling, or just a big-time football fan; or you are the one practicing football drills and working hard on the field, you will need a good pair of football socks.
Shop MadSportsStuff today to get all your favorite football socks and any other sports footwear you might need. They've got something for everyone.