Making and Selling America's Favorite Sport
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
Title Page, Copyright
Before it became a ‘‘brand,’’ the National Football League had an image. In fact, for most of its first half-century, the NFL had a serious image problem. Football in the United States developed over the final third of the nineteenth century as an intercollegiate game, and colleges created the standard against which other forms of...
1 The Creation of the Modern NFL in the 1960s
Professional football became Americans’ favorite spectator sport in the 1960s. It was a decade of great players (as is every decade): Johnny Unitas and Sonny Jurgensen, Lenny Moore and Gayle Sayers, Deacon Jones and Dick Butkus, John Mackey and Raymond Berry. Nearly the entire starting lineup of the Green Bay Packers—Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor, Boyd Dowler, Max McGee, Jerry Kramer...
2 No Freedom, No Football
I entered pro football in 1970 at the end of the nfl’s second brief work stoppage and exited in 1974 at the conclusion of its first full-blown strike. Between these two events passed four relatively uneventful NFL seasons, marked chiefly by the emergence of the Miami Dolphins as the nfl’s newest ‘‘dynasty,’’ and of O. J. Simpson as its greatest individual star. On the field, where in 1973 he became the first...
3 The End of the Rozelle Era
The failed strike in the summer of 1974 marked the beginning of a period of conflict that would not be resolved for two decades (and that has continued, though with owners now fighting each other instead of their players). Peace between the NFL Players Association and management arrived only after two more failed strikes...
4 The New NFL
In 1989, when Paul Tagliabue replaced Pete Rozelle, the league took in $975 million in revenue and the average franchise was worth about $100 million. The most recent figures calculated by Forbes magazine in 2006 are $6.2 billion and $898 million (previous year’s revenue, current worth).a For perspective, Forbes noted...
5 Football as Product
To a short list of milestones marking the creation of the new nfl—May 7, 1982, when Al Davis won the right to move his franchise; February 25, 1989, when Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys; May 6, 1993, when the owners and players finally signed a labor agreement—should be added July 12, 1994. On that day, the NFL...
6 Football in Black and White
Whatever the product the NFL was selling in the 1990s and early 2000s, it came predominately in shades of black. The commercialization and racialization of NFL football have proceeded hand in hand since the 1960s, as pro football’s thrills have been disproportionately provided by African American players. The number of black players in the NFL increased from 12 percent in 1959 to 28 percent...
Paul Tagliabue’s announcement on March 20, 2006, that he was stepping down as commissioner presented an obvious occasion for assessing the state of the National Football League after nearly 17 years of his guidance. Tagliabue broke the news just 12 days after the owners resolved their dispute over revenue sharing, in principle...
I concluded Brand NFL in February 2007 with an observation that the National Football League was thriving yet strangely vulnerable. Three years later the nfl still thrives, yet it is now more vulnerable than at any time since 1993, more profoundly vulnerable than it has been since its struggles to survive in its earliest years. None of this has been apparent on...
Page Count: 336
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2010
Edition: Paperback Edition
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