Football can trace its beginnings back to 1823 when William Webb Ellis, during a game of soccer in Britain, decided to grab the ball and run with it to the opposing goal. This sparked the creation of rugby and subsequently, the development of football in North America.
Early football did not resemble the football that is played today. There were no coaches, daily practices, or complex plays. There was also no downs, 10-yard limits, or forward passes. Teams consisted of a 3-man scrimmage, a quarterback, one back, three halfbacks, and four wing men. These players did not wear helmets or any other protective equipment and their uniforms consisted of lace-up jackets, britches, stockings, and boots. Early plays involved players pushing the ball through the lines by passing laterally to teammates when they were blocked. These games were not very enthralling as the ball could be tied up in scrimmages for extended periods of time with little action to show for it.
Football was a relatively popular sport in Southern Ontario as early as 1897, but wasn't being played in Sudbury until 1921. Before that, young men would play football while attending university in the large metropolises of the south.