Walter Camp ' 82 as he appears at the
National Portrait Gallery
NOTE: I was chatting with a Dartmouth undergrad during the Dartmouth / Yale football game yesterday ( D: 20;Y:13 ) and he had no idea that a Yale man (and coach) had virtually invented football.
This post is inspired by that chat:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Walter Chauncey Camp (April 7, 1859 – March 14, 1925) was an American football player, coach, and sports writer known as the "Father of American Football". With John Heisman, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Pop Warner, Fielding H. Yost, and George Halas, Camp was one of the most accomplished persons in the early history of American football. He played college football at Yale College from 1876 to 1882. Camp served as the head football coach at Yale from 1888 to 1892 before moving to Stanford University, where he coached in December 1892 and in 1894 and 1895. Camp's Yale teams of 1888, 1891, and 1892 have been recognized as national champions. Camp was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1951. . .
Camp was on the various collegiate football rules committees that developed the American game from his time as a player at Yale until his death. English Rugby rules at the time required a tackled player, when the ball was "fairly held", to put the ball down immediately for scrummage. Camp proposed at the US College Football 1880 rules convention that the contested scrummage be replaced with a "line of scrimmage" where the team with the ball started with uncontested possession. This change effectively created the evolution of the modern game of American football from its rugby football origins. He is credited with innovations such as the snap-back from center, the system of downs, and the points system, as well as the introduction of the now-standard offensive arrangement of players; a seven-man offensive line and a four-man backfield consisting of a quarterback, two halfbacks, and a fullback. Camp was also responsible for introducing the "safety", the awarding of two points to the defensive side for tackling a ball carrier in his own end zone followed by a free kick by the offense from its own 20-yard line to restart play. This is significant, as rugby union has no point value award for this action, but instead awards a scrum to the attacking side five meters from the goal line.
In 2011, reviewing Camp's role in the founding of the sport and of the NCAA, Taylor Branch also credited Camp with cutting the number of players on a football team from 15 to 11 and adding measuring lines to the field. However, Branch noted that the revelation in a contemporaneous McClure's magazine story of "Camp's $100,000 slush fund", along with concern about the violence of the growing sport, helped lead to President Theodore Roosevelt's intervention in the sport. The NCAA emerged from the national talks but worked to Yale's disadvantage relative to rival (and
Roosevelt's alma mater) Harvard, according to