Why Do They Call It Football?

USA TODAY Sports

Why is the sport played in the NFL called football? Also, why do they call the other sport soccer?

I was just about to start writing about why they call it Ovaltine instead of Roundtine, when I came across a comment by GGN member sanchise6, who asked: "Why do they call it football? First of all, actual football (which is now referred to as soccer), was used before the NFL came along. Second of all, they actually have a reason to call it football, because they use their feet to play."

Not being able to come up with some smart-ass answer on the spot, I actually decided to look it up. I realized that I actually don't know why they call it football. I've wondered it myself for all these years, and kinda just figured, because we're Americans and that's what we wanted to call it.

So how did the original football get its name anyway? Well, according to Wikipedia, no one is sure:

There are conflicting explanations of the origin of the word "football". It is widely assumed that the word "football" (or "foot ball") references the action of the foot kicking a ball. There is an alternative explanation, which is that football originally referred to a variety of games in Medieval Europe, which were played on foot. There is no conclusive evidence for either explanation.

But how did they come up with the word "soccer"? Basically, the sport is technically known as association football, the rules of which has been established and is overseen by the Football Association. Anyways, somebody somewhere at some point in time, basically took the letters "soc" from association and turned it into soccer as sort of a slang term, and I guess it stuck.

Meanwhile, American football, along with soccer and rugby, originally evolved from the same sport. Rugby gets its name from a school in England, which is named after a town. And it seems like proponents of our sport simply never cared to call it anything else other than plain old football, prompting the other sports to differentiate themselves. In other countries, they specify it as American football, or gridiron football, which can then include the CFL.

Well, that's the basic gist of it. I hope you have been paying attention as this will be on your final. Now back to this question:


Maybe they should call it ovalball? What is your preferred name for the sport?

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