The Quiet Yalie Who Invented American Football

As a Player and Coach, Walter Camp Rewrote Rugby’s Rules to Create a Sport Fit for America

American football is the all-but-official sport of the United States. But for all the media coverage it draws, the origin story of football gets missed. How did this game become compelling enough to hold the United States in its thrall? The answer lies in the career of Walter Camp, whom contemporaries called the “father of American football.”

Camp worked on the game his entire adult life, a devotion that began in the second decade after the Civil War. On November 13, 1875, standing on the sidelines as a high school …

Why Major League Baseball Tried to Rein in Babe Ruth

The Sultan of Swat Saved a Discredited Game, But the Sport's Establishment Sought to Tame Its Headstrong Superstar

Babe Ruth was baseball’s greatest hero. So why did the national pastime’s establishment turn against him?

The answer lies in the untold story of Ruth’s challenge to the authorities ruling …

The One-Size-Fits-All Sock That’s a Democratic Fashion Statement

Originally Marketed as Sportswear, the Tube Sock Became a Stylish Accessory Thanks to Farrah Fawcett and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

If you’re an American down to your toes, those toes have probably been clad in tube socks at one time or another.

These once-ubiquitous, one-size-fits-all socks are a product of …

Why Samoans Are So Overrepresented in the NFL

It All Started in Hawaiʻi on Oahu's North Shore, Where Plantation Managers and Mormon Elders Nurtured Generations of Football Stars

Long before Oahu’s North Shore became a global hot spot for football, it was a pu`uhonua, a refuge under the protection of priests. Fugitives and villagers escaping the carnage of …

How the NFL and American Politicians Politicized (and Helped Merchandise) Pro Football

In the '60s and '70s, Gridiron Fans Like Richard Nixon and Bobby Kennedy Embraced the Sport That Wanted Their Attention

In January 1942, as the United States committed itself fully to World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt decided that baseball, then the national pastime, should sustain civilian morale during the …

How UCLA Helped Break the Color Barrier in College Athletics

Jackie Robinson and Tom Bradley Were Among Sports Stars Who Proved That Integration Made Schools More Competitive

The arrival of five athletes, all African American, on the UCLA campus in the late 1930s would prove to be a moment of destiny, not just for college sports but …