It's probably best if politicians stay out of football, but when have they ever listened? Congress held hearings in 2009 on the Bowl Championship Series and Barack Obama, shortly after he was elected president, expressed dissatisfaction over how the college game determines a national champion.
But some good has come out of political football. John J. Miller details one case in his new book, "The Big Scrum: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football."
Football was facing a crossroads in 1905. The violent nature of the sport led to 18 deaths on the field that year. Calls were increasing to sack the sport.
Harvard, Columbia, Northwestern, Stanford and California had quit playing the game. The Georgia state legislature voted to ban football in 1897 after the death of a fullback at the University of Georgia. The governor vetoed the bill only after hearing from the player's mother, who urged him not to outlaw a sport her son had loved.
Harvard president Charles Eliot wrote that no honorable sport embraces "the barbarous ethics of warfare."
But Roosevelt, who took an interest in football as an 18-year-old Harvard freshman, came to the rescue.
"Harvard will be doing the baby act if she takes any such foolish course as president Eliot advises," he wrote.
Roosevelt held a private meeting with Walter Camp, the "Father of American Football," and coaches from Harvard and Princeton.
"Football is on trial," Roosevelt told them. "Because I believe in the game, I want to do all I can to save it."
Later that year, the men formed an organization that would become the NCAA. Rules were changed to increase the yards needed for a first down to 10 from five and a neutral zone was created at the line of scrimmage. But the most sweeping change was the legalization of the forward pass. Until that point, quarterbacks could not toss the ball downfield.
Death and injuries subsided as football abandoned its rugby-like origins and Roosevelt, a bold and unforgettable character, had added to his accomplishments.