Theodore Roosevelt and Football

Have you heard about Theodore Roosevelt and football?

When Theodore Roosevelt was president of the United States the game of football was a popular college sport but a very brutal one!! In one year (1905) 19 college football players died playing the game and another 137 players were seriously injured. The president loved rough and tough activities and he really loved football; his son Teddy, Jr. was playing on the Harvard University team. But the president knew the game was way too rough.

Many people were calling for universities to do away with the game all together. So, Teddy called the most important big-wigs in college football (There was no professional football at the time. Playing in college was the top level of the game.) to the White House to come up with a way to save the game. Something had to give! 

After much debate and a lot of hard convincing, the rules of the game were changed --- mass formations were forbidden; a neutral zone between the offense and the defense was created; the first-down distance was doubled to 10 yards and the forward pass was legalized.