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POLI.3240-061/ Politics and Football

football player kneeling
CCO

Welcome to Politics and Football with Jeff Gerson

Professional football was once looked down upon in America as a form of hooliganism and as a game far inferior to college football. From that starting point in the early 1920s the game has evolved into what is widely described today as a sporting religion in America.

The National Football League has become the most valuable brand in sports, grossing more than $9 billion a season, and the game of pro football long ago surpassed baseball not only as our national pastime but as our national obsession. How and why did this happen and what does it say about America?

This course seeks to answer those questions in economic, sociological, political and mythological terms, for each is a part of the whole that has become a Sunday tradition in the fall that appears to dwarf religion itself.  Where once we gathered at churches and then the family dinner table on Sunday, now we gather around the 42-inch screen all Sunday afternoon.