Home Arts and Leisure Flashback Photo: The Father of Modern Football, 1878

Flashback Photo: The Father of Modern Football, 1878

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Walter Camp

Walter Camp

This is the face of modern football. Really.

It’s Walter Camp, captain of the Yale football team. Football was a very different game then, more or less a chaotic excuse for a brawl. Walter Camp, born into a family that owned a clockmaking company, gradually brought order and precision to the game as a member of rulemaking committees.

Camp coached the great Yale teams of 1888, 1891, and 1892, then headed off to Stanford for a few years before coming back East to run his family’s company.  His devotion to football never wavered, however. He worked as an unpaid advisor to the Yale athletic program  until his death in 1925.

Read more about how Walter Camp changed the game of football here.

(And by the way, it’s a little hard to imagine how he grew into the person depicted in this painting at the National Portrait Gallery):




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