The Man who Saved Football|
In honor of the upcoming Super Bowl, I am offering information about football that very few are aware of. In the early 1900's there was a large group of people that were lobbying Congess to have football banned - both college and professional games. They declared that football was a brutal and violent and over 100 college student players had been killed playing the game. President Theodore Roosevelt was a fan of football and didn't want the game banned. In 1905 Roosevelt called an urgent meeting at the White House and came up with a few rule changes that both sides could live with. First, he legalized the forward pass. Previous to this change, any pass could only be thrown laterally - NOT FORWARD. In addition, rather than only 5 yards per down, Roosevelt changed it to 10 yards for a down. Also, the new rules outlawed holding and unnecessary roughness. 1906 was the first season that the new rules were implemented. There have been few rule changes since.
While tough football purists decried the rule changes, the new rules wound up making the game not only safer but also more popular than ever. Thanks to President Theodore Roosevelt, football passed into a new era.