Importance of College Football to Our Troops

picture of 1882 Rutgers College Football team

With pastimes and hobbies being limited overseas for our dedicated troops, there remains one constant, strong interest for all troops: college football. One of the most popular items sent in care packages for soldiers from fellow Americans safe at home are footballs. This surely has to say something for how passionate these men are about one of America’s favorite pass times.

When one watches the masses of people that assemble for rivalry college football games and, on a larger scale, the gargantuan crowd that appears for the Super Bowl, it’s hard to imagine that the sport of football began in small, elite colleges, making the sport virtually unknown to the rest of the United States. Amazingly enough, it is almost solely due to the armed forces that football has attracted so talented athletes, dedicated fans and gained, tremendous overall success.

The popularization of football as a college sport started when the military began implementing and developing the rules and regulations we use in football today. As football leagues were just beginning, it was known as a violent sport between Yale and Harvard. This was in 1869. It wasn’t until 1882 that the military stepped in with the goal to make the sport an instrument for military education. Football soon began forming leagues around the country at 19 army bases.

Originally, military teams and college teams played each other. Due to the fact that players on military teams were often older and stronger, leagues opted to form the first college football league today known as the “Big 10”. Not long after, the NCAA was formed in order to make further rules to aid the game to be played in the safest manner possible.

During World War I, football proved to be a huge morale booster. It was also a great pass time and diversion soldiers in many camps across the U.S. Groups of men on bases formed teams and played full-blown games, which drew crowds from surrounding areas, thereby further promoting the sport.

Though many today may not know the extensive history of football and its actual roots in the military, one can hear this rich history in the terminology the referees use in the game. Examples include “sacking”, “blitzing”, “field generals” and “trench warfare”.

About the author: This guest article was provided by My Team Planet, an online retailer with stores carrying Michigan Wolverines Apparel, Alabama Crimson Tide Apparel and Texas Longhorns Apparel.

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