It's worth bearing in mind a little history here. More than a century ago, boxing was among the nation's most popular sports. Eventually, the masses rejected its overt savagery. The Sweet Science didn't disappear, but it became a fringe sport. Football itself nearly disappeared in 1905, after 18 young men were killed on the gridiron. Schools banned the game, and editorialists called for its abolition. Instead, at the urging of President Theodore Roosevelt, the game underwent major reforms, which included legalizing the forward pass, a rule change that quickly led to a more wide-open, and therefore less dangerous, game.