Teddy Roosevelt Saves Football

Think the forward pass was a good idea? Thank this guy.

If you consider football dangerous, you should see how it was played in the late 1800s, when games weren’t athletic spectacles so much as bloody orgies of pain.

That’s because the rules were different. Football had no forward passing — it was just, as drunk historian Katie Nolan puts it, “dudes who would smash their bodies into each other’s bodies.” This led to problems. As in, players would get carted off the field with “dying injuries,” which sounds pretty serious.

Enter football fan and world-renowned manly person Teddy Roosevelt. As president, Teddy realized that football was killing and maiming way too many of its players. So he called a summit to make some rule changes. The biggest of these was the forward pass, which helped cut back on football’s violence by giving teams a different way to move the ball up the field.

Balls can be thrown, it turns out. Who knew?