The first intercollegiate college football game was played between Princeton and Rutgers in 1869. There were 25 players to a side. The ball could only be advanced by kicking or being butted with the head.
It wasn’t like anything we know today called football.
From there began a march towards the American football we love today. Colleges started with “mob soccer” or “mob football”, such as that played in 1869. Then they converted to Rugby because of the influence from McGill University out of Montreal, Canada. Recall the Super Bowl commercial involving Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and how he said the US should thank Canada for football. This is because of a game between McGill University and Harvard in 1874.
Then came the rules that make American football the distinct game from soccer, rugby, or any other game in the world today.
This video is about the years from 1869 to 1890-ish and the rules that were established to create our wonderfully loved game of American football.