Princeton is one of the schools in which football found its origin in the United States, and the game has been played there on a systematic basis ever since 1876, when relations were established with Yale. In the following year a similar agreement was entered into with Harvard and continued until 1897.

Among the football stars developed at Princeton are Cowan, Poe, Ames, Wheeler, King, Trenchard, Lea, Church, Kelly, Cochran, Hillebrand and Edwards.

Most faithfully throughout the history of football has Princeton maintained the strictly regular system of play. All the offensive operations are directed with seven men in the line and rarely is the ball entrusted to any member of the team not a regular occupant of the backfield. This gives a much less varied style of attack and is a consequent deterrent to success, beyond a doubt, but the wonderful spirit which has been the possession of every Princeton team has assisted its successive elevens to maintain a high place in the athletic world, nevertheless.

The Princeton defense places the ends rather wide, the tackles similarly free and the three backs supporting the line.

The Princeton style of game is generally the most freely imitated all over the United States. This is partially on account of its simplicity and partially on account of the large number of Princeton graduates who have taken up football coaching after leaving college.