Football was once nearly outlawed in the United States in 1909.
Twenty-seven players died that year and hundreds more were permanently injured.
Even gunfighter-turned-sportswriter Bat Masterson, no stranger to mayhem, was appalled.
“Football is not a sport in any sense,” he wrote.
“It is a brutal and savage slugging match between two reckless opposing crowds. The rougher it is and the more killed and crippled, the more delighted are the spectators, who howl their heads off at the sight of a player stretched prone and unconscious on the hard and frozen ground.”
An intercollegiate football rules committee was set up by Woodrow Wilson, then president of Princeton University.
After five months, the committee issued its recommendations, prohibiting some of the most dangerous practices: diving tackles, blocking with linked arms, picking up and carrying ball carriers, and interfering with pass receivers.
The death and injury rate dropped and most people supported the new changes, although some hardcore fans complained that the changes ruined the game forever.