Pigskin Nation: How the NFL Remade American Politics

Pigskin Nation: How the NFL Remade American Politics

by Jesse Berrett
Pigskin Nation: How the NFL Remade American Politics

Pigskin Nation: How the NFL Remade American Politics

by Jesse Berrett


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780252083327
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Publication date: 04/11/2018
Series: Sport and Society
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Jesse Berrett earned a PhD in History at the University of California, Berkeley. He has worked as a rock critic, television columnist, and book reviewer. He teaches history at University High School in San Francisco.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Football's Taking Over 1

Part I Making Football Important

1 No Football Fans, Just Football Intellectuals 11

2 Search and Destroy 30

3 The NFL's Role in American History (Somebody's Gotta Be Kidding) 53

Part II Making Football Political

4 The Kennedy/Lombardi School 85

5 A Real Coup with the Sports Fans 108

6 I Really Believed in the Man 133

7 Out of Their League 159

8 Right Coach, Wrong Game 181

Epilogue: Hollywood Ending 205

Notes 215

Bibliography 257

Index 277

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