In 1900, the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) instructed Brigham Young University (BYU) to end its football program. Two decades later, the church reversed course, and reinstated football on BYU’s campus. The question of Mormonism’s transition at the turn of the 20th century has been widely debated. Within the context of this religious and cultural tumult, this study approaches football at BYU as a site of religious and cultural negotiation that aided Mormonism’s transition from religious outsiders into the mainstream. BYU’s football program provided the LDS Church a platform to navigate the shifting gender norms after the abandonment of polygamy, the new religious messaging with the enforcement of the Word of Wisdom, and the desire to assimilate to American culture. The creation, fall, and resurrection of the BYU football program provides a grassroots perspective of the tensions between the Church’s leaders and laity during Mormonism’s period of greatest change that made BYU the premier LDS university.