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

By Michael Oriard

Expert soccer this day is a $6 billion activities leisure undefined. during this astute field-level view of the nationwide soccer League considering 1960, Michael Oriard appears to be like heavily on the improvement of the game and on the photo of the NFL and its exact position in American existence. on the middle of this tale is a query without easy solution: has the intense commercializing and "branding" of NFL soccer because the past due 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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He preached the importance of God, family, and Packer football, supposedly in that order. He also preached that second place was for losers, that a team that will not be beaten cannot be beaten. ∑∂ Lombardi’s football world was the one in which I played as a kid growing up in Spokane, Washington, far from Packerland. The Lombardian virtues— 34 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 mental toughness, physical conditioning, stress on the fundamentals, playing with pain—were the air I breathed.

The nfl had a commissioner and ownership group obsessed with maintaining a conservative image for the league. The afl had an overriding need to attract fans. It was an accident that came to seem foreordained that the managing partner of the Jets happened to be Sonny Werblin, who had worked for 30 years at the Music Corporation of America, the largest talent agency in show business, before retiring as vice president to join four partners in paying $1 million to salvage the afl’s pitiful New York Titans in 1963.

As with Lombardi, it is useful to reconstruct Namath’s impact on nfl football from contemporary accounts. Before he emerged as the anti-Lombardi, Namath was repeatedly set against other representatives of Establishment values. Upon signing with the New York Jets immediately after playing brilliantly for Alabama in a narrow loss to Texas in the 1965 Orange Bowl, Namath was initially contrasted to John Huarte, the quarterback from Notre Dame signed by the Jets for $200,000 as insurance on their $400,000 investment in Namath.

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