American football began in the mid-19th century, when college teams in the United States played an intercollegiate game that was similar to rugby. The first football game on record was played by Rutgers and Princeton Universities on Nov. 6, 1869.
For several years, the rules of football were subject to frequent changes and varied from college to college. However, in 1880, a Yale student named Walter Camp proposed a set of U.S. College Football rules. Among other things, these rules established the modern football points system, line of scrimmage and the "down-and-distance" rules, all of which served to differentiate American football from rugby.