I found this chapter to be especially informative to me because I never realized how heavily churches and religious private schools detested football in the 1900s. Today, college football is equated to religion, especially in the deep south, so it was surprising to me that just 50-100 years ago football in the south was nothing like it is today, and was even banned. I can see why though, as in the early 1900s, American college football was a brutal and often deadly sport. There were few rules governing player safety, and as a result, many players suffered serious injuries or even died during games. This led to growing concerns about the safety of the sport, particularly among religious institutions. At this point, Catholic and Protestant churches began to argue the game was immoral and not good for young men to be subjecting themselves to.
It really took some time for football to grow, particularly in safety measures, for the image of the sport as a brutal game to begin to be altered. One of the first significant changes came in 1910 when President Theodore Roosevelt convened a meeting of college football coaches and officials to discuss safety concerns and ways to make the sport less dangerous. This led to the creation of new rules and regulations, including the introduction of the forward pass, which helped to reduce the number of injuries on the field. I knew some about these rule changes before reading this chapter, but I guess in my head I thought people didn’t really welcome the changes. This is probably due to many people saying modern football is changing too much. In reality, the rule changes and safety measures were crucial in making the game a phenomenon like it is today.