Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Football's Greatest Day

It has always been my plan to blog about the history of the Super Bowl, football’s greatest day; the day when the AFC, or American Football Conference takes on the NFC, or National Football Conference. However, my original plan was to do it a little closer to the actual Super Bowl date of February 7. But when looking for historical events this week, I found that the first Super Bowl was actually played this week, January 15 in 1967.

So, football will be my topic this week, especially considering the only other event of any interest to me was the Knights Templar’s creation. But because I know little about them (for now, hopefully my Ancient Israel class next semester will change that) I decided now was as good as any other time for a blog dedicated to Football, one of America’s favorite past times.

According to history.com on January 15, 1967 the Green Bay Packers took on the Kansas City Chiefs, winning 35-10. 60 million viewers apparently watched this sporting event, and today the tradition lives on.

But I think the greater historical question at this point is what is football, and how did st sport originate?

Football originated from the Ancient Greek sport called harpaston, a game described as brutal in nature in classical literature. The rules rewarded a team that got the ball across a line either by kicking, throwing or running. The other team stopped this by any means possible. Sounds like modern football to me, minus the specific field length and lack of drives.

But modern football originated in England during the 12th Century. The sport became so popular the kings of the time actually banned football because it was taking interest away from the traditional sports of archery and fencing.

Football was picked up again in the 1800’s in seven English colleges. Six of the schools played one way, which evolved into soccer (or football as the rest of the world calls it) and the seventh school played by carrying the ball instead of kicking it, which turned into Rugby. Honestly, I don’t follow either Soccer or Rugby, so the rules seem foreign to me. So I’m just going to leave it at that, because I may be boring you all enough already.

November 6, 1869 was the birth date of American Football when teams from two colleges, Rutgers and Princeton, met for a game. In 1873 the Intercollegiate Football Association was formed to establish rules for the game, since many of the current rules were taken from soccer. Now we insert the rules of carrying the ball a certain distance, with a certain number of tries.

The American Professional Football Association was created in 1920, and in 1922 it was renamed and reorganized into the National Football League. The professional league grew from 10 teams, to 26 in the 70’s when the NFL merged, creating the NFC and AFC. Today there are 30 teams in eight conferences with four teams in each conference.

But what about the fate of the Super Bowl? Since it’s beginnings in 1967 the Super Bowl has grown in importance in American culture. Today the Super Bowl is a huge event with a halftime show and economic importance because of the audience the event draws. Super Bowl means big bucks for TV, and companies. The Wall Street Journal has several articles about big companies dropping out of the Super Bowl ad line up, and buying spots.

So, on February 7, millions will sit down to see two teams face off. The Who is set to rock the half time, so there hopefully won’t be another “wardrobe malfunction.” And after their game against the Cardinals on Sunday, unfortunately the Green Bay Packers will not be participating this year.

So who will be playing? Only time will tell. And after the game, it will be history.

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