Urbana, Illinois: Before American Football, bassist Mike Kinsella (Cap'n Jazz, Joan of Arc) and drummer Steve Lamos played in The One Up Downstairs with Dave and Allen Johnson (both of Very Secretary). The One Up Downstairs recorded a 3-song 7" which was to be released by Polyvinyl. Prior to the single's release, however, the group disbanded and despite having recorded material, the single was never released*. Soon after, Steve and Mike began practicing with guitarist Steve Holmes and American Football was born. After writing and practicing for about one year, they released a 3-song CDEP on Polyvinyl in October 1998. The band played a few shows around the Midwest and then recorded a self-titled album which Polyvinyl released in September 1999. Following the release, American Football played a few more shows in the Midwest and one show at New York University.