<p><strong>In 1914 tens of thousands of spectators flocked to the newly built Yale Bowl to cheer for the annual Yale-Harvard football game. The new stadium could seat up to 60,000 fans, far more than the roughly 2,500 who attended the first game between the college rivals, in 1875. (Related: "<a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2011/02/pictures/110204-super-bowl-green-stadiums-nfl-fifa-soccer-football-baseball-energy/">Pictures: Kickoff Time for Green Stadiums</a>")</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Football gained popularity in 19th-century America as a mixture of soccer and rugby, two sports that had long been popular in other countries. The first publicized college football game was held at least as early as 1869, just a few years before the famous Yale-Harvard games began. It was not until the 1880s, however, that this hybrid sport began to develop its own official rules, eventually becoming what we know today as American football.</p><p dir="ltr">As a new season begins, our editors searched through the archives to compile 100 years of <em>National Geographic</em> football photography.</p><p><em>—By Becky Little, photo gallery by Adrian Coakley</em></p>

Yale Bowl Debut

In 1914 tens of thousands of spectators flocked to the newly built Yale Bowl to cheer for the annual Yale-Harvard football game. The new stadium could seat up to 60,000 fans, far more than the roughly 2,500 who attended the first game between the college rivals, in 1875. (Related: "Pictures: Kickoff Time for Green Stadiums")

Football gained popularity in 19th-century America as a mixture of soccer and rugby, two sports that had long been popular in other countries. The first publicized college football game was held at least as early as 1869, just a few years before the famous Yale-Harvard games began. It was not until the 1880s, however, that this hybrid sport began to develop its own official rules, eventually becoming what we know today as American football.

As a new season begins, our editors searched through the archives to compile 100 years of National Geographic football photography.

—By Becky Little, photo gallery by Adrian Coakley

Photograph by New Haven Chamber of Commerce

Pictures: 100 Years of Football in America

National Geographic photography captures 100 years of football.

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