Sports are often credited with bringing people together and encouraging community. They allow certain groups to bond by rallying behind a common goal— the success of their team— and instill a sense of unity, but have you ever thought about one of the most essential objects in modern sports?
Goal posts are normally given little thought by avid fans unless they are trying to catch a game ball directly behind them or obstructing their view, but those large, yellow goal posts used in American football have come a long way since their first introduction in the mid 19th century.
The Origins of Football
As you may have noticed, American football is similar in theory to its Australian counterpart, rugby, and many early variations of the game were based on the rules of rugby. Professional football dates back to around 1892 when athletic organizations began to recruit players and recognize the sport, but it wasn't until 1920 that the American Professional Football Association was formed (now known as the National Football League, or NFL). Despite its rural Midwestern roots, football rose to national prominence in only a few decades and is now one of the most popular sports in the United States.
Back in those days, goal posts were much shorter, almost always made of wood, and located more towards the middle of fields at the goal line. It wasn't even until the 1974 that the posts were moved back to the end zone. This mainly occurred because kicking was not as highly emphasized in later versions of the game.
As you might have noticed during the Super Bowl or any regulation football game, modern goal post standards have drastically changed. They are normally made of a weather-resistant, composite metal and have a protection cushion wrapped around the bottom to prevent concussions from players running into them.
Most goal posts are expected to be 9.1m high and 5.64m wide, but in 2014, the NFL proposed raising the height to 11m. For their 2015 Pro Bowl, it was also suggested to narrow the width to about 14 feet to make field goal punts more difficult and the NFL agreed.
As you can tell, both the materials and dimensions used to make American football goal posts have dramatically changed in the last century. Goal posts may seem like a trivial part of game play, but they are important nonetheless. They provide a difficult yet attainable objective and are a way to encourage fans to cheer when their team's ball flies through. Contact a company like Adda Flagpoles Pty Ltd for more information.