When you think of an NFL game, what images come to mind? A packed stadium, the National Anthem, hotdogs, beer, blood and sweat on the gridiron? How about the American flag?
This blog is an in-depth examination of the relationship that nationalism has with the NFL in order to answer several important questions: How do sports (and the NFL in particular) factor into the American identity? Is football culture actually an integral part of this identity (as suggested by the prevalence of nationalistic icons within NFL), or has nationalism become a commercial product that sports leagues use to manipulate American citizens into falsely feeling more connected with the game itself? Essentially, these questions boil down to much more simple paradigm:
Is football’s connection with the American identity organic? Is the game a reflection of our culture? Or is the connection a synthetic entity, created by the NFL to maximize profits through ethnocentric marketing?
Why Is This Important?
As with any academic discourse, it’s important to recognize why the examination of the relationship between nationalism and the NFL is relevant. On a small scale, it is indicative of business practices that could be extrapolated to fit the business model of other national sports leagues. But on a larger scale, it provides insightful commentary on how nationalism and politics drive industry and business, and how in return, they drive patriotic attitudes.