Why do Americans call NFL football?

The term "football" in the context of the National Football League (NFL) in the United States has its roots in the history of the sport. American football evolved from two sports: soccer (known as football in most of the world) and rugby. The original form of American football was more closely related to rugby, which also involves carrying, throwing, and kicking a ball.
The key reasons for calling it "football" are:

  • Historical Development: In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as American football developed in the United States, it retained the name "football" despite its divergence in gameplay from European football (soccer). This was largely because it evolved from forms of football played in England, such as rugby football and association football (soccer).
  • Rule Evolution: Initially, American football involved more kicking, similar to soccer and rugby. Over time, the rules evolved to emphasize passing and running with the ball, but the name remained.
  • Cultural Context: In the United States, the term "football" became associated with the American version of the game, while soccer became the term used for association football. This distinction is unique to the United States and a few other countries; in most parts of the world, "football" refers to what Americans call soccer.
  • Popularity and Identity: As American football grew in popularity, it became a significant part of American culture and identity, further entrenching the term "football" for this sport in the U.S.

In essence, the naming is more a product of the sport's historical development and cultural context in the United States rather than a strict reflection of the current gameplay.