1st Edition

Football and American Identity

    290 Pages
    by Routledge

    290 Pages
    by Routledge

    Learn the value of football to American society

    No sport reflects the American value system like football. Visitors to the United States need only watch a game or two to learn all they need to know about the American way of life and the beliefs, attitudes, and concerns of American society. Football and American Identity examines the social conditions and cultural implications found in the football subculture, represented by core values such as competition, conflict, diversity, power, economic success, fair play, liberty, and patriotism. This unique book goes beyond the standard fare on football strategy and history, or the biographies of famous players and coaches, to analyze the reasons why the game is the essence of the American spirit.

    Author Gerhard Falk, Professor of Sociology at the State University College of New York at Buffalo, examines football as a game, as a business, and as a reflection of the diversity in American life. Football and American Identity also addresses the relationship between football and the media, with much of the game’s income generated by advertising and endorsements, and examines the presence of crime in football culture. The book discusses the development of the game—and those involved in it—at the Pop Warner, college, and professional levels, examining the social origin of players, coaches, cheerleaders, and owners. In addition, Football and American Identity analyzes the game’s fans and their devotion to “their” teams, examines why Pennsylvania is considered the “mother” of American football, and looks at the National Football League and its commissioners.

    Football and American Identity examines:

    • how individualism and achievement can lead to mythological status
    • why a person’s occupation is the most important indicator of prestige in the United States
    • what the consequences are of earning more in a year than most Americans make in a lifetime
    • why equality is vital to the ethnic make-up of American football teams
    • why teamwork is important-in football and in industry
    • how freedom is essential for taking the risks necessary for success
    • and much more!
    Football and American Identity is an inside look at football as an American cultural phenomenon. Devoted and casual fans of the game, as well as academics working in sociology, will find this unique book interesting, entertaining, and thought-provoking.

    • Preface
    • Introduction
    • Chapter 1. The School and American Football
    • The Social Psychology of Football
    • The Academic Achievements of Football Players and Other Athletes
    • Children’s Football
    • Football and Aggression
    • Death and Injury on the Playing Field
    • Football As an Alternative Status System
    • Summary
    • Chapter 2. College Football—The Professionals’ Minor League
    • Football Develops a Subculture
    • Recruiting College Football Players
    • Money and Greed—The College Football Business
    • The Race Issue in College Football
    • Who Plays College Football?
    • The College Football Coach—Role Model for All Seasons
    • Football Injuries and Football Deaths
    • Cheerleaders
    • Summary
    • Chapter 3. Football As a Profession
    • A Brief History of Professional Football
    • The Coming of Television
    • Race and the NFL
    • Football Fanatics
    • The Domestic Lives of Football Players
    • Professional Football Players As Victims
    • Professional Football and Social Class
    • Summary
    • Chapter 4. Football and Social Stratification
    • The Status of Football Players
    • Wealth, Income, and the Football Business
    • Race and Football: A “Mixed Marriage”
    • The Jewish Football Experience
    • Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas: Mothers of American Football
    • Gender and Sexual Orientation
    • Retired Football Players
    • Summary
    • Chapter 5. They Also Serve
    • Coaches
    • Scouts
    • Trainers
    • Officials
    • Cheerleaders
    • Football Doctors, Injuries, and Drugs
    • General Managers
    • Owners
    • Summary
    • Chapter 6. Fanatics
    • The Football Hall of Fans
    • Female Football Fans
    • The Football Culture
    • Regional and Generational Differences Among Football Fans
    • The Tailgate Party and the Football Diet
    • In Groups and Out Groups
    • Fan Violence
    • Fantasy Football
    • The Influence of Gender on Human Contact
    • Catharsis
    • Summary
    • Chapter 7. Football and the Media
    • Announcers and Analysts
    • Football and the Written Word—Print Journalism Supports the Game
    • Women Enter the Locker Room
    • Magazines
    • Football Books
    • Football in Film
    • Football Songs and Lyrics
    • Football Jokes
    • Summary
    • Chapter 8. The Football Business
    • Money, Money Everywhere
    • Film Production
    • Advertising
    • Merchandise
    • Contract Advisers/Agents
    • Lawyers
    • Stadium Construction Profits
    • Gambling
    • Small Business Contracts
    • Summary
    • Chapter 9. Crime and American Football
    • The Benedict-Yaeger Research
    • Felonies and Misdemeanors: The Football Culture of Crime
    • Super Bowl XXXIV
    • Understanding Criminality Among Football Players
    • Gambling and Drugs
    • The Sociology of Crime
    • Summary
    • Chapter 10. The National Football League
    • Football Politics and the South
    • College Football Politics
    • The Commissioners
    • The NFL Machine
    • Urban Warfare
    • The International NFL
    • From Football to Politics
    • The NFL Community
    • Summary
    • Epilogue
    • Notes
    • Index


    Frank Hoffmann