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How Football Was Saved

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Very few people know that the football sport that we love today, will not be around for the past 100 years if it were not for President Theodore Roosevelt.

In the early history of football in the United States, the rules were very different from the ones that are being used today. During that time, the game was being played very dangerously and brutally for those who participated in the gridiron than those athletes who wear their football jerseys at present. The concussions that the players receive at this day and age has no comparison to the injuries and mortalities that happened during the 1900s.

In 1905, 18 young men died due to injuries they incurred during a game in the football field. The public outcry became out of control that several of the colleges that were sponsoring football decided they wanted to discontinue the sport. These schools were Harvard, Columbia, Stanford and Northwestern.

At this point, President Teddy Roosevelt had to intervene. According to the President, football was a game that provided energetic young men the excellent training for their development that is why it should not be removed. He also realized that there should be changes made for the survival of the game. He called on the football coaches of Princeton and Harvard, along with Walter Camp their football founder. The meeting was held in the White House. He restated that the game is under scrutiny and there should be solutions to be made in order to make the game survive.

The meeting resulted to a number of changes made in the rules of playing football. It contained less “rugby-like” action and more safety procedures than how it was currently being played. The number of injuries dropped significantly with game changers like the creation of neutral zones located at the line of scrimmage with longer distances in between the downs. The most important revision that changed the game forever was allowing the forward pass.

The audience who are rooting at the stands for their favorite NFL team or are watching the games at home on their TV sets are not aware of the tireless efforts of President Roosevelt. If it weren’t for him, we will not be enjoying the game of football today.