American football can be traced to early versions of rugby football played in Europe. In the early 1900s the popularity of football grew as it became the most popular sport in college. Boosted by fierce rivalries and bowl games, college football continues to increase in popularity throughout the country.
In 1920, the American Professional Football Association was formed. This league changed its name to the National Football League (NFL) two years later, and quickly became the major league of American football.
Forty years later, the American Football League (AFL) was created. Due to the fierce competition to recruit players from the various colleges, the NFL and AFL decided to merge in 1970 into what is now the NFL. This led to the creation of the Super Bowl, in which the two leagues had their best teams play against each other.
American football is a popular sport among the youth. In 1929, one of the first little league football organizations was created in Philadelphia. It was started to provide activities for teenage boys. Today, there are thousands of little league football teams in the United States.
Football is also a popular sport in high schools throughout the United States. The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) was founded in 1920 as an umbrella organization for state-level organizations that manage high school sports. The NFHS publishes the rules followed by most local high school football associations. More than 13,000 high schools participate in football.