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There was a lot of speciation in 19th century football. The precise rules varied from village to village or school to school. Some allowed carrying, some didn't. Some allowed kicking the shins, some didn't. Some allowed players to catch the ball (with the typical result that the player making a fair catch of a ball on the fly was entitled to a free kick). If you wanted to play the next village down the road, you worked out a compromise set of rules.

The dominant rules in the early years originated from London and Sheffield (the London FA becoming The FA, though the Sheffield FA is older). The London rules were originally set to be rugby: carrying and hacking would be allowed and if the ball was kicked behind the goal line outside of the goalposts and the side attacking the goal were the first to touch the ball down, they would be entitled to a kick at goal (with their opponents behind the goal line) from 15 yards out, in line with where the ball was touched down (this rule would be refined by rugby into the try and in gridiron into the touchdown). The London rules also leaned toward a rugby interpretation of offside: any player of the attacking side forward of the ball was offside and could not touch the ball nor impede defenders. Sheffield differed on all these points and argued that hacking was contrary to the spirit of the game and should be outlawed. Eventually enough London clubs agreed and voted to ban hacking; the clubs that supported hacking resigned en masse and eventually formed the RFU (hacking supporters generally favored carrying as well, but were willing to do without; hacking was non-negotiable*). Over the next decade or so, the London FA gradually adopted most of the Sheffield rules (corner kicks, forward passing**, no carrying, no catching except by the keeper, free kicks to penalize infractions) and eventually swallowed up the Sheffield FA.

One of the ironies of this is that while hacking was the question that precipitated the rugger/soccer schism, after the RFU formed one of their earliest rule changes was outlawing hacking; hacking is arguably more tolerated now in soccer than in rugger.

*: the representative from the Blackheath club said that hacking was an essential element of football and to abolish it would "do away with all the courage and pluck from the game, and I will be bound over to bring over a lot of Frenchmen who would beat you with a week’s practice"

**: i.e. a looser interpretation of the offside rule (at the time, three opponents between you and the goal). An ambiguity in rugby's rules would more or less be what led to the speciation of gridiron from rugby. The offside rule is thus the most fundamental rule in football, for it nearly forms a continuum from rugby (maximally strict) to Aussie and Gaelic (nonexistent); gridiron and association being in between, though it's difficult to place them because gridiron's offside rule is basically rugby's, but the rule is not always in force.

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$4m if the Browns didn't terminate the contract within three days

$1.1m for showing up for preseason training (carried over from previous contract)

What the **** are clauses like this about? Something to do with paying tax if you receive one giant payment?

The contract was agreed three days before the regular season squad list was to be finalized; the bonus was for being on that squad list. The clauses primarily exist as a way to shuffle money from year to year for salary cap accounting (the salary cap being on the total wage bill). In this case, if my capology is correct, the $4m got charged to the previous season's as opposed to the then-current season's cap.

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There was a lot of speciation in 19th century football. The precise rules varied from village to village or school to school. Some allowed carrying, some didn't. Some allowed kicking the shins, some didn't. Some allowed players to catch the ball (with the typical result that the player making a fair catch of a ball on the fly was entitled to a free kick). If you wanted to play the next village down the road, you worked out a compromise set of rules.

The dominant rules in the early years originated from London and Sheffield (the London FA becoming The FA, though the Sheffield FA is older). The London rules were originally set to be rugby: carrying and hacking would be allowed and if the ball was kicked behind the goal line outside of the goalposts and the side attacking the goal were the first to touch the ball down, they would be entitled to a kick at goal (with their opponents behind the goal line) from 15 yards out, in line with where the ball was touched down (this rule would be refined by rugby into the try and in gridiron into the touchdown). The London rules also leaned toward a rugby interpretation of offside: any player of the attacking side forward of the ball was offside and could not touch the ball nor impede defenders. Sheffield differed on all these points and argued that hacking was contrary to the spirit of the game and should be outlawed. Eventually enough London clubs agreed and voted to ban hacking; the clubs that supported hacking resigned en masse and eventually formed the RFU (hacking supporters generally favored carrying as well, but were willing to do without; hacking was non-negotiable*). Over the next decade or so, the London FA gradually adopted most of the Sheffield rules (corner kicks, forward passing**, no carrying, no catching except by the keeper, free kicks to penalize infractions) and eventually swallowed up the Sheffield FA.

One of the ironies of this is that while hacking was the question that precipitated the rugger/soccer schism, after the RFU formed one of their earliest rule changes was outlawing hacking; hacking is arguably more tolerated now in soccer than in rugger.

*: the representative from the Blackheath club said that hacking was an essential element of football and to abolish it would "do away with all the courage and pluck from the game, and I will be bound over to bring over a lot of Frenchmen who would beat you with a week’s practice"

**: i.e. a looser interpretation of the offside rule (at the time, three opponents between you and the goal). An ambiguity in rugby's rules would more or less be what led to the speciation of gridiron from rugby. The offside rule is thus the most fundamental rule in football, for it nearly forms a continuum from rugby (maximally strict) to Aussie and Gaelic (nonexistent); gridiron and association being in between, though it's difficult to place them because gridiron's offside rule is basically rugby's, but the rule is not always in force.

Thanks, but I still don't understand :) , why eliminate the no-arms rule? 'For the lulz'™?

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In the beginning every club played by their own distinct rules. Members of the club would play games against each other, so the fact that Harrow (incl. Old Harrovians) played a different code than Eton* wasn't important. You can kind of view each of these as a species of football.

When the clubs got bored of playing strictly internally, they started to challenge other clubs. This of course brought up the question of what specific rules to play under: they either would agree to half-and-half (e.g. Harvard (the Boston Game) vs. McGill (rugby union), or Aston Villa Football Club vs. Aston Brook St. Mary's Rugby Football Club**) or they would create a mutant code that took some rules from column A and others from column B. After exposure to a different set of rules, members of the clubs might then decide, "you know, that rule really worked out nicely. We should make that our rule (or adapt it to our code)." This is analogous to interbreeding.

Eventually you have full speciation, where "interbreeding" is rare.

*: Eton, interestingly enough, developed two codes of football: the Field Game and the Wall Game.

**: of course, a one-half football, one-half rugby match was a bit more practical in 1874; until 1875, a rugby game was decided solely on the basis of goals (nothing resembling 'x points for a goal, y points for a try...' would enter rugby until the late 1880s***), so you could add soccer goals and rugby goals together and get something possibly meaningful (and it's also possible football had not yet adopted the crossbar).

***: Iit's doubtful that rugby was influenced by gridiron in this respect which had arrived at a more-or-less similar scoring system a few years earlier: part of the reason gridiron evolved independently was because there was basically no rugby intercourse between the USA and Britain (and little between Canada and Britain)))

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