In its infancy in the late 19th century, the game of football was still a work in progress that only remotely resembled the sport millions follow today. There was no common agreement about many of the game’s basic rules, and it was incredibly violent and extremely dangerous. An Americanized version of rugby, this new game’s popularity grew even as the number of casualties rose. Numerous young men were badly injured, and dozens—the cream of the crop of America’s prep schools and colleges—died playing it in highly publicized incidents. Objecting to the sport’s brutality, a movement of proto-Progressives, led by Harvard University president Charles W. Eliot and the editors of The Nation, tried to abolish it. President Roosevelt, a vocal advocate of “the strenuous life” and proponent of risk, acknowledged football’s dangers but admired it’s potential for building character. A longtime fan of the game who purposely recruited men with college-football experience for his Rough Riders, Roosevelt fought to preserve the game’s manly essence, even as he understood the need for reform. 

In 1905, he summoned the coaches of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton to the White House and urged them to act. The result was the establishment of the NCAA, as well as a series of rule changes— including the advent of the forward pass—which ultimately saved football and transformed it into the quintessential American game. The Big Scrum reveals the fascinating details of this little-known story for the first time.

Fan of football? Know nothing about football? Then this book is for you.  How can it be for these two polar opposite types of people?

Here you will read the history of football from the very first day. Nothing is skipped here. In fact did you know that football as we know it is so different from the original direction of the game it would be unrecognizable to the founders? Some of the changes are minute, but others are insane! Can you imagine football without the forward pass? Yeah, I can’t either.

It shocked me to read just how close the demise of football was. With so many of its players dying (helmets and padding are a relatively new thing) many called for it to be broken up. And it would have been had President Roosevelt not fallen in love with the game after watching it’s first every game played.

This book is great! Any football lover or young boy/girl showing interest in football will eat this book up. As a non huge football watcher, I appreciated that the author told history in a story format. While there were dates, places and people to remember, he didn’t make it feel like high school history with a test at the end of the week. He made it fun. He made the story memorable. And what husband doesn’t want their wife to have a more positive emotional tie to football? This book will make those Football Sundays a day to look forward to.

Want to call yourself a real football-head? READ THIS BOOK!


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