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Il presidente che salvò il football americano 05.02.12

Nel giorno del Super Bowl Bob Greene racconta di come il presidente Theodore Roosevelt riuscì, nel 1905, a salvare il football americano costringendo i delegati delle università e delle accademie militari a modificare il regolamento di gioco, introducendo nuove regole volte a scongiurare l'alto numero di morti tra gli atleti.

If Super Bowl Sunday is a day you look forward to with great anticipation each year, if it is a day that you equate with excitement and good times, there's something you should know:

You may have a politician to thank for your happy feelings.

On the other hand, if Super Bowl Sunday is a day you dread each year, if you are dismayed by the notion that the day has turned into a lockstep secular holiday during which most of the nation seems hypnotized for hours on end, there's something you should know:

You may have a politician to blame for your grumpy feelings.

In both cases, it's the same politician:

President Theodore Roosevelt.

A persuasive argument can be made that, were it not for what Roosevelt did during a meeting in the White House toward the end of 1905, football as we know it today would not be a part of American life. There never would have been a National Football League -- at least not the wildly popular NFL that has become such a sports, business and cultural institution -- and Americans would almost certainly be spending Super Bowl Sunday in a completely different way.