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Source: Outdoor Sports and Games

The present game of football as played in American schools and
colleges is a development of the English game of Rugby. There are
twenty-two players, eleven on a side or team. The game is played on a
level field, at each end of which are goal posts through which the
team having the ball in its possession attempts to force or "rush" it,
while their opponents by various means, such as tackling, shoving or
blocking, strive to prevent the ball from being successfully forced
behind the goal line or from being kicked over the crossbar between
the goal-posts. A football field is 330 feet long by 160 feet wide. It
is usually marked out with white lines five yards apart, which gives
the field the name of "gridiron." The various positions on a football
team are centre rush, right and left guards, right and left tackles,
right and left ends, quarter-back, right and left half-back, and
full-back. As in baseball, the rules of football are constantly being
changed and the game as played ten or fifteen years ago is very
different from the modern game. The various changes in rules have been
made with a view to making the game less dangerous to the players and
more interesting to the spectator.

The principal scores in football are the "touchdown" and the "field
goal." In a touchdown the ball is carried by one of the players and
touched on the ground behind the opponents' goal line. In a field
goal, or, as it is often called, "a goal from the field," the ball is
kicked over the crossbar between the goal posts. In a field goal the
player executing it must not kick the ball until after it has touched
the ground. Such a kick is called a "drop kick" as distinguished from
a "punt" where the ball is released from the hands and immediately
kicked before touching the ground. A team in possession of the ball is
allowed a certain number of attempts to advance it the required
distance. Each of these attempts is called a "down." If they fail to
gain the necessary distance, the ball goes to their opponents. It is
customary on the last attempt, or down, to kick the ball so that when
the opposing team obtains possession of it it will be as far as
possible from the goal line toward which they are rushing. In this
play a "punt" is allowed. There are also other scores. A safety is
made when a team is forced to touch the ball down behind its own goal

The ball used in American football is a long oval case made of leather
and inflated by means of a rubber bag or envelope. The football
player's uniform consists of a heavily padded pair of trousers made of
canvas, moleskin, khaki or other material, a jacket made of the same
material, a tight-fitting jersey with elbow and shoulder pads, heavy
stockings, and cleated shoes. Players will often use other pads,
braces and guards to protect them from injury. Football is usually
played in the fall months after baseball has been discontinued on
account of the cold weather. A full game consists of four
fifteen-minute periods.



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