American football (referred to simply as “football” in the United States and Canada) is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense – the team with possession of the oval-shaped ball – attempts to advance down the field by running with the ball or passing it. While the defense – the team without possession of the ball – aims to stop the offense’s advance and to take control of the ball for themselves. Points are scored primarily by advancing the ball into the opposing team’s end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent’s goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins. This sport evolved in the United States, originating from soccer and rugby. Canadian football evolved in parallel with and at the same time as the American game. The first match of this ball game was played on November 6, 1869, between two college teams using rules based on the rules of soccer at the time. A set of rule changes drawn up from 1880 onward by “Father of American Football” Walter Camp. The sport is closely related to Canadian football, although its rules were developed independently from those of Camp. Most of the features that distinguish American football from rugby and soccer are also present in Canadian football. This game is the most popular sport in the United States in terms of broadcast viewership audience. The most popular forms of the game are professional, college, high-school and youth football. As of 2012, nearly 1.1 million high-school athletes and 70,000 college athletes play the sport in the United States annually.
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