Brand NFL: Making and Selling America's Favorite Sport by Michael Oriard

By Michael Oriard

Expert soccer this present day is a $6 billion activities leisure undefined. during this astute field-level view of the nationwide soccer League on the grounds that 1960, Michael Oriard appears heavily on the improvement of the game and on the picture of the NFL and its certain position in American existence. on the center of this tale is a query without basic resolution: has the extreme commercializing and "branding" of NFL soccer because the past due Nineteen Eighties paradoxically weakened the cultural energy of a recreation whose allure for greater than a century used to be essentially noncommercial?

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75 per man. After several more years of shaky finances, the Packers won nfl titles in 1929, 1930, and 1931, then three more in 1936, 1939, and 1944; yet bankruptcy always loomed. Once, in the 1920s, Lambeau saved the team by persuading a friend to sell his Marmon roadster and loan him the proceeds. The final crisis was repeatedly postponed until after the 1949 season, when the franchise was salvaged by a sale of stock to local citizens, with most of the 1,699 stockholders buying just one $25 share, and no one allowed more than 200.

T H E C R E AT I O N O F T H E M O D E R N N F L I N T H E 1 9 6 0 S 23 ‘‘Tribute to America,’’ former nfl stars read from the Declaration of Independence, and former presidents recited Abraham Lincoln’s speeches from an earlier national crisis, as the Boston Pops played Aaron Copeland’s Lincoln Portrait in the background. After this, the halftime show—a musical performance by rock band U2, whose lead singer Bono flashed the American-flag lining of his leather jacket at the finale as a list of those who died on September 11 scrolled up the tv screen—seemed relatively subdued.

Shecter followed this formula, too, but he shifted the emphasis—more on Lombardi’s abusiveness, less on its compensation— and he implicitly questioned whether the ends justified the means. Admirers and detractors shared a common understanding of Lombardi’s complexity and his players’ conflicted feelings about him. Jerry Kramer wrote that he hated Lombardi, but he loved him. Leonard Shecter wrote that the Packer players respected Lombardi, but they despised him. Whether respect trumped hate or hate trumped love was a personal matter for the players and a matter of journalistic priorities for sportswriters.

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