Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by nikolas. nikolas Wonders, “how did football get its start?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, nikolas!

What do you look forward to when cooler temperatures arrive? Some people look forward to leaves changing colors. Others anticipate fun snow days ahead. For many people, though, fall is the time for watching their favorite sport.

Whether it's on television on Monday, Thursday, Saturday, or Sunday or under the lights of a local field on Friday night, sports fans around the country are ready for the return of their favorite pastime. What are we talking about? Football, of course!

From bone-jarring sacks and gravity-defying catches to goal-line stands and thrilling kickoff returns, there's nothing quite like the uniquely American sport of football. The modern game we enjoy today has a long interesting history. Let's take a look back at the pigskin's past!

American football traces its origins back to two other varieties of football played in England in the 1800s: rugby and association football, more commonly known as soccer. These popular games both involved a ball that is either kicked at a goal or run over an end line.

The first intercollegiate football game in history is considered to be the college soccer football game played between Rutgers and Princeton at Rutgers University in 1869. Over the next several years, these games evolved into a modified version of rugby, from which modern American football slowly began to develop.

In 1876, a convention was held during which the first rules for American football were written down. Yale coach Walter Camp helped steer American football away from rugby and soccer rules, developing such ideas as the line of scrimmage, down and distance rules, and the forward pass. Camp would eventually become known as the "Father of American Football."

For many years, football was primarily played by colleges and local athletic clubs. A rivalry between two Pittsburgh-area clubs, the Allegheny Athletic Association (AAA) and the Pittsburgh Athletic Club (PAC), eventually led to the first professional football player: William (Pudge) Heffelfinger.

Heffelfinger became the first person to be paid to play football when the AAA paid him $500 to play in a game against the PAC. Heffelfinger delivered a win for the AAA, after picking up a PAC fumble and running the ball 35 yards to score a touchdown.

In 1920, the American Professional Football Association was created. Two years later, it changed its name to the National Football League (NFL), which eventually became the major league of American football.

A competing league, the American Football League (AFL), arose in 1960. The two leagues eventually merged, leading to the start of the Super Bowl. Today, the Super Bowl is the most-watched television event in the United States every year.

Wonder What's Next?

Are you ready for the long haul? Load up on carbohydrates, drink plenty of water, and get ready to run! Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day may wear you out…