|No Football||See Note 1|
|1873||No Football||See Note 2|
|14.05.1874||Harvard Crimson||3||McGill (Montreal)||0|
|15.05.1874||Harvard Crimson||0||McGill (Montreal)||0|
|13.11.1875||Harvard Crimson||4||Yale Elis||0|
Note 1: Soccer (Association football) was played with the founding of the Cornell Football Association and Princeton Football Association.
Note 2: Yale, Columbia, Princeton and Rutgers formed the first Inter-Collegiate Football Association in America.
While the origins of Football may go back to Ancient Egypt, Greece, China, Rome or Medieval Britain, or even Renaissance Italy (Florence), the first organised football matches in America, that were played under American rules, were those of the Oneida Football Club in Boston. The Oneida FC were teenagers in Boston who tired of both Rugby and Soccer (Association Football) and developed their own game whereby the running of the former and goal kicking of the latter were employed.
The “Boston Game” as it was dubbed by the Press was deemed important enough for it to be mentioned in a short column in the Boston newspapers. The game of football had previously been played in America back as far as the 1820s, at least in Universities, but was more of a mass brawl intended to initiate freshmen into University and was outlawed by the College authorities.
In 1869 the first Inter-Collegiate game of Football, under the London Football Association rules was played in Rutgers, New Jersey, with Rutgers winning out 6-4 over the Princeton Tigers. The Tigers got revenge the following week under their own rules, which favoured their height advantage winning 8-0.
In 1870 Rutgers beat Columbia, but lost to Princeton. The following year there was no Football (as America sees Football) but plenty of Soccer, with the Cornell Football Association founded in 1870 and the Princeton Football association in 1871.
In 1872, Yale and Princeton both went 1-0-0 (Wins-Losses-Ties), with Columbia posting a 1-2-1 record and Rutgers 1-1-1. Harvard opted out of these games preferring the “Boston Game” and in 1873 those four colleges, minus Harvard formed the first Inter-Collegiate Football Association.
In 1874, Harvard with no opponent in America to play its “Boston Game” against, looked to McGill University in Montreal, which played Rugby. After one game in Harvard which the hosts won 3-0 in the Boston Game, abandoned after 22 minutes due to it being a rout, the following day the teams met under McGill’s Rugby rules, playing out a 0-0 tie.
Harvard liked the idea of a touchdown, as used in McGill’s Rugby Rules, so much they adopted it for their own game and persuaded the Elis of Yale to play against them using the rules in 1875, with Harvard winning 4-0.
In 1876, the “Father of American Football”, Walter Camp started playing, who would later become famous for devising the first American Code of Football, utilizing the Goal Kick, Running with the Ball, Touchdowns, Scrimmage (which meant the creation of the quarterback) and Points for different types of scoring (2 for a Safety, 4 for a Touchdown, 2 for a Goal following a Touchdown “Point After Touchdown” or “Conversion”) and 5 for a Goal from Play (“Field Goal”).
 Professional Football Researchers Association (2011) “No Christian End!” The Early History of Professional Football. pg. 23-32. PFRA Publications. Connecticut.
Thanks to Sean Douglas of the Dublin Rebels (Irish American Football League).
About this document
Researched, compiled and written by Enda Mulcahy for the
Irish North American and World Sports Archive
Last Updated: 12 August 2020
(c) Copyright Enda Mulcahy and Eirball 2020
You are free to copy this document in whole or part provided that proper acknowledgement is given to the authors. All Rights Reserved.