The sport of American football is a variation of rugby, which means that rugby was invented first, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Rugby was created in 1823 as a variation of American soccer Ñ known as football in the rest of the world Ñ and the first American football game was not played until 1869.
It is a popular belief among rugby enthusiasts that rugby was first invented around 1823 by a man named William Webb Ellis, according The Rugby School. The story suggests that Ellis was playing soccer but decided to pick up the ball with his hands and run. While this story does not have much evidence, even the rugby world title cup is called the "William Webb Ellis" trophy. William Ellis was allegedly a student at Rugby school, and the first official rules of rugby were written in 1845. Since then, the game has evolved and grown to even include international leagues.
The first collegiate American football was played on November 6th, 1869, but this game was actually closer to the sport of rugby than it was to today's football. Later in the 1880s, a rugby player named Walter Camp initiated rule changes that started to change the sport closer to what it is today.