Whether you are a die-hard sports fan, or go to socialize with your friends, chances are you will check out a football game this fall. Let’s face it — there is nothing like getting up, grabbing your favorite gear and supporting your favorite team on crisp weekend days. No matter if you are just there for the tailgate or have season tickets, you can impress your friends with these 15 fun facts about football.

Fun Facts About Football to Impress Your Friends

  1. Paul Hubbard1 invented the huddle. He was a legally deaf quarterback, and he “huddled” other players together so that he could hear them better and to protect them from the other team’s prying eyes.
  2. When watching college football, you might notice that the ball has a white stripe on both ends. The purpose? This stripe is supposed to make the ball easier to spot when it is in flight.
  3. The longest field goal in professional football history was 64 yards, made by Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater.
  4. William “Pudge” Heffelfinger was the first professional football player, as he was paid $500 to play in a game in 1892.
  5. Football fields are commonly referred to as the gridiron. Lines had to be painted on the field (resembling a grid) so that players could gauge how far they needed to go.
  6. President Teddy Roosevelt threatened to ban football unless changes were made to protect player safety.
  7. Professional football teams began requiring players to wear helmets in 1943. Helmet technology has improved greatly, and has evolved from leather helmets worn in the 1920s. Today’s helmets are considered the premier line of defense against serious head injury.
  8. The Lombardi Trophy — named after Green Bay Packers legend Vince Lombardi — is crafted from silver and takes approximately four months to make. Despite its impressive size, it weighs just 107.3 ounces, or just a little over six and a half pounds. The trophy is awarded to the winner of the Super Bowl.
  9. The first televised football game was between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1939 and attracted about 500 TV sets … a far cry from the TV audiences that football attracts today.
  10. Ivy League schools do not award football (or any other athletic) scholarships. Their players are considered D1 athletes, however.
  11. Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor is the largest stadium in college football, seating 109,901 fans. However, the stadium has been known to sell more tickets than seats. The Michigan/Notre Dame game in 2013 broke an all-time college football attendance record for seating 115,109 fans for the matchup.
  12. The Rose Bowl was the first college football bowl game (played in 1902), and it’s been affectionately referred to as “the granddaddy of them all” by college football fans. It was a matchup between Michigan and Stanford. Since the initial Rose Bowl matchup, Stanford has played in 15 Rose Bowls, and Michigan has played in 20 Rose Bowls. However, the two teams have only faced one another twice for the Rose Bowl.
  13. The Oregon Duck mascot is the hardest working mascot in college football! Every time the team scores, the mascot drops to the field and does pushups equal to the points they scored.
  14. In 2014, Florida State set a record for the highest number of points scored in a single season by a division I team. They scored 723 points, which is an average of just over 51 points per game. However, the record books show that this was eclipsed by Division II powerhouse Pittsburg State, who scored 837 points in 15 games in 2004, for an average of almost 56 points per game.
  15. The Associated Press (AP) Poll began in 1936. The AP Poll is widely used to determine the national champion. The poll provides weekly rankings of the top 25 NCAA teams in Division 1 football (as well as men’s and women’s basketball). Rankings are compiled by polling 62 sportswriters and broadcasters from across the nation. The AP began polling pre-season in 1950.

These fun facts about football are the tip of the iceberg. Football has a storied tradition in the US. The next time you are tailgating or enjoying the game with like-minded fans, share a little bit of knowledge and impress your friends!

 

1 Buckley, James, Jr. Football (Eyewitness Books). New York, NY: DK Publishing, 1999.