Game from 1912 Inspired Modern Day Football and A Screenplay
The Green Bay Packers will play perhaps the most-anticipated football game of the weekend on Sunday night. They're undefeated and they'll play the Denver Broncos, who also come into the game without a loss this year. The game features two of football's biggest names, Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Broncos' quarterback Peyton Manning.
Now flash back around a century – 103 years, to be exact. The most anticipated football game of 1912 also pitted undefeated teams against each other, and featured some of the biggest names in sports. But that's where the similarities end.
That game was between a group of young Native Americans, and the team from the US Military Academy at West Point. And while it's little-remembered today, it had a real effect – not just on football history, but on world history. It's the subject of an award-winning screenplay by Madison's Michael Graf.
"This wasn't just any football game, emotions were really, really high," says Graf. "These are kids whose parents had butchered each other."
Graf is author of the screenplay, The Last Indian War. While there isn't a movie in production, the screenplay has won a number of awards, and recently was named a Finalist for Best Historical Drama at the 2015 World Series of Screenwriting Competition. Graf discusses the unspoken history of American footballs origins and why Native Americans are lost in the conversation.
"It comes back to the fact that Indians basically invented the modern game of football," he says.