The World Series of Football was a series of football games played indoors at New York City's Madison Square Garden in 1902 and 1903. It originally comprised five teams, four from the state of New York and one from New Jersey. While none of the teams was really considered the best in the country, historians refer to the affair as a "World Series". However, it was hardly a series in the sense of two strong teams playing each other over several games. In fact, no team played another more than once and the team pairings were also considered odd. Under the 1902 system, the anticipated second-place team was automatically swept into the championship game without even playing a down while the expected first-place finisher had to fight its way through the brackets, effectively creating a cross between a traditional tournament and a "gauntlet-style" tournament for the first-place team.
O'Rourke planned another series for 1903. This year he planned a round-robin tournament of the top football clubs in the area, a high school all-star game, bicycle races, and a Gaelic football match. The end result would be fifteen football games during a span of six days at the Garden. The 1903 attendees included Oreos Athletic Club from Asbury Park, New Jersey; the returning Orange Athletic Club; and the Franklin Athletic Club from Pennsylvania. The Watertown Red and Black, which refused entry into the tournament in 1902, put up $2000 in prize money ($1,250 for first place, $750 for second). Syracuse was offered a chance to defend their title but declined. Blondy Wallace also returned to the series, this time as a member of the Franklin team.
The playing surface of the Gardens for the 1903 series was still 70 yards. However, the surface itself was also improved upon. Dirt was trucked into the Gardens and steamrolled into a more natural surface.