Women, African Americans, and gays have recently upended US culture with demands for inclusion and respect, while economic changes have transformed work and daily life for millions of Americans. The national obsession with the National Football League provides a window on this dynamic period of change, reshaping ideas about manliness to respond to new urgencies on and beyond the gridiron. Thomas P. Oates uses feminist theory to break down the dynamic cultural politics shaping, and shaped by, today's NFL. As he shows, the league's wildly popular product provides an arena for media producers to work out and recalibrate the anxieties, contradictions, and challenges that characterize contemporary masculinity. Oates draws from a range of pop culture narratives to map the complex set of theories about gender and race and to reveal a league and fan base in flux. Though longing for a past dominated by white masculinity, the mediated NFL also subtly aligns with a new economic reality that demands it cope with the shifting relations of gender, race, sexuality, and class. Indeed, pro football crafts new meanings of each by its canny mobilization of historic ideological processes.
NFL Films changed the way Americans view football. Keepers of the Flame: NFL Films and the Rise of Sports Media traces the subsidiary's development from a small independent film production company to the marketing machine that Sports Illustrated named "perhaps the most effective propaganda organ in the history of corporate America."
Drawing on research at the NFL Films Archive and the Pro Football Hall of Fame and interviews with media pioneer Steve Sabol and others, Travis Vogan shows how NFL Films has constructed a consistent, romanticized, and remarkably visible mythology for the National Football League. The company packages football as a visceral and dramatic sequence of violent, beautiful, graceful, and heroic gridiron battles. Historically proven formulas for presentation--such as the dramatic voiceovers once provided by John Facenda's baritone, the soaring scores of Sam Spence's rousing background music, and the epic poetry found in Steve Sabol's scripts--are still used today.
From the Vincent Price-narrated Strange but True Football Stories to the currently running series Hard Knocks, NFL Films distinguishes the NFL from other sports organizations and from other media and entertainment. Vogan tells the larger story of the company's relationship with and vast influence on our culture's representations of sport, the expansion of sports television beyond live game broadcasts, and the emergence of cable television and Internet sports media.
Keepers of the Flame: NFL Films and the Rise of Sports Media presents sports media as an integral facet of American popular culture and NFL Films as key to the transformation of professional football into the national obsession commonly known as America's Game.
The American Football League, established in 1960, was innovative both in its commitment to finding talented, overlooked players—particularly those who played for historically black colleges and universities—and in the decision by team owners to share television revenues.
In Mavericks, Money and Men, football historian Charles Ross chronicles the AFL’s key events, including Buck Buchanan becoming the first overall draft pick in 1963, and the 1965 boycott led by black players who refused to play in the AFL-All Star game after experiencing blatant racism. He also recounts how the success of the AFL forced a merger with the NFL in 1969, which arguably facilitated the evolution of modern professional football.
Ross shows how the league, originally created as a challenge to the dominance of the NFL, pressured for and ultimately accelerated the racial integration of pro football and also allowed the sport to adapt to how African Americans were themselves changing the game.
The National Football League is one of the most significant cultural engines in contemporary American life. Yet despite intense and near ubiquitous media coverage, commentators rarely turn a critical lens on the league to ask what material and social forces have contributed to its success, and how the NFL has influenced public life in the United States.
The editors of and contributors to The NFL examine the league as a culturally, economically, and politically powerful presence in American life. The essays, by established and up-and-coming scholars, explore how the NFL is packaged for commercial consumption, the league's influence on American identity, and its relationship to state and cultural militarism.
The NFL is the first collection of critical essays to focus attention on the NFL as a cultural force. It boldly moves beyond popular celebrations of the sport and toward a fuller understanding of football's role in shaping contemporary sport, media, and everyday life.
Contributors include: David L. Andrews, Aaron Baker, Michael Butterworth, Jacob Dittmer, Dan Grano, Samantha King, Kyle Kusz, Toby Miller, Ronald L. Mower, Dylan Mulvin, Oliver J.C. Rick, Katie Rodgers, and the editors.
This wide-ranging history synthesizes scholarship and media sources to give the reader an inside view of the television contracts, labor issues, and other off-the-field forces that shaped the National Football League. Historian Richard Crepeau shows how Commissioner Pete Rozelle's steady leadership guided the league's explosive growth during the era of Monday Night Football and the Super Bowl's transformation into a mid-winter spectacle. Crepeau also delves into the league's masterful exploitation of media from radio to the internet, its ability to get taxpayers to subsidize team stadiums, and its success in delivering an outlet for experiencing vicarious violence to a public uneasy over the changing rules of masculinity.
Probing and learned, NFL Football tells an epic American success story peopled by larger-than-life figures and driven by ambition, money, sweat, and dizzying social and technological changes.
Cast as the ultimate hardhats, football players of the 1960s seemed to personify a crewcut traditional manhood that channeled the Puritan work ethic. Yet, despite a social upheaval against such virtues, the National Football League won over all of America—and became a cultural force that recast politics in its own smashmouth image. Jesse Berrett explores pro football's new place in the zeitgeist of the 1960s and 1970s. The NFL's brilliant harnessing of the sports-media complex, combined with a nimble curation of its official line, brought different visions of the same game to both Main Street and the ivory tower. Politicians, meanwhile, spouted gridiron jargon as their handlers co-opted the NFL's gift for spectacle and mythmaking to shape a potent new politics that in essence became pro football. Governing, entertainment, news, elections, celebrity--all put aside old loyalties to pursue the mass audience captured by the NFL's alchemy of presentation, television, and high-stepping style. An invigorating appraisal of a dynamic era, Pigskin Nation reveals how pro football created the template for a future that became our present.