The Modern Militaristic American Identity and Football

American football rose to prominence during a time of massive political change in the United States. In the 1800s, the US predominantly stayed out of foreign affairs and kept to itself. During the 1900s, America transformed in the worldwide military power.  Some experts have pointed to the rise of football as a side effect of the  “American public’s acceptance of themilitary’s place in the economic and political segments of U.S. society. This interrelationship, first termed the ‘‘military-industrial complex’’ by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, has steadily eroded the boundaries between the military and daily life in the United States.” (Boggs & Pollard, 2007) By the end of the Cold War, America had the strongest military in the world.

Consequently, the change in American politics mirrored changing sports economics. Baseball, a slower paced and less action-packed game, began to shrink in popularity. It was replaced at the top of American sports by  the quicker, more aggressive game of football.  During this time of military expansion, the NFL began to appeal to the new militaristic America. Advertising soon reflected the new marketing strategy.

For example, these pre-game NFL clips from 1981, 1989, and 1996 are widely different from their modern day counterparts:


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