American Sports Of NFL And NBA And Their Influence In Popular Culture Annotated Bibliography


Sports and popular culture (NFL/NBA) Prelude

Pop Culture

Popular culture entails all forms of mass communication such as:





Books and Cartoons and comics


It is somewhat different compared to higher forms of cultural art such as:

Classical music


Conventional theatre

In terms of mass communication, popular culture means messages which are intellectually and artistically limited primarily designed to entertain and humor the viewers (Hollander, 2014). Following the industrial revolution, the people had a lot of time to spare which led to a huge demand for entertainment and amusement and gave height to media. The increasing supply of goods also made it necessary for the advertisers to attract the consumers and mass media could reach a large number of audiences at the same time (Hollander, 2014).


The physical activities have always been in the life of human beings in the form of different leisure activities. These activities consisted of hunting and war-like nature as well as dancing and other activities. The romans admired games that had gladiatorial and military effect to them while the Greeks loved the human body and its beauty. Later on in the Middle Ages, they had religious festivals and knight tournaments (The Concept of Sport and Physical Education, 2011). Sports are mostly an indoor or outdoor activity that is played by a set of rules. different people have different opinion about sports among which some consider it as beating their opponents while other take it as an exercise and improving mental and physical skills along with relaxation. Sport provides people with good health, enjoyment, satisfaction, happiness, fitness and success while others might consider them to be a case of sorrow, exhaustion, illness and injuries (The Concept of Sport and Physical Education, 2011). Schools in America developed their athleticism in the nineteenth century and during that time, several institutions related to sports had also come forward. Proper teacher with committed goals came forward and a lot of activities were sponsored by the schools (The Concept of Sport and Physical Education, 2011).

Sports in Popular Culture

Since the late 19th century, fast forward to today, college and professional sports have been instrumental in binding the nation together on the whole, redefining and establishing American identity from the scratch to the political level, the media (all forms) and Hollywood movies. A country which has seen fresh waves of immigrants from time to time, coping with racial differences and experiencing an economic change unseen in other countries, the relevance of sports can't be overlooked (Naison, 2012). Sports have been instrumental in explaining events in American history and shows people in the society tackling different issues such as regional, ethnic and racial issues. One example is nationalization of white supremacy by assigning a book on Jack Johnson during the times of Jim Crow and releasing a movie titled Cinderella Man highlighting the story of a heavyweight champion, James Braddock who lived in poverty for a year prior to winning a title indicating the tumultuous stress American families had to endure during the great depression. Sports history paints a picture of the tough times Americans endured during their lives (Hollander, 2014).

Sports have given the common Americans an escape from harsh realities of life and provided them with a lively connection to the nation's heart and cultural values, uniting them on the whole.

Let's take an example here of Super Bowl. If a friend has come from abroad, what's a better idea than to take him to a four hour full entertainment showdown rooted in American culture and the drama surrounding it? There are four cult classic themes from American civilization present tin pure form which are:

The flirtation with violence and bravery in face of adversity

An individual is shown as a glorified customer

The struggle between personal certainty and team's destiny

The portrayal of gadgets and latest technologies showcasing public's wealth

The entire white audience watching tentatively two black teams entangled in an unsafe and harmful game

Cheer leaders wearing short clothes showing more skin whilst marketing products (Axelrod, 2001).

That's a view of the typical American society on the whole with its power, magnificence and inadequacies shown in such a manner that it captivates the entire nation. Just like other sports, it shows how people think and live, how people entertain themselves and how they collectively assemble to rejoice and endorse who they are (Naison, 2012).

Here are some considerations on three important aspects of sports in American history:

The role it played in Americanizing immigrants as well as their children

The pivotal role it played in sidelining African-Americans during the Jim Crow period, compelling blacks...


Baseball and boxing attained intense popularity during the 20th century became a vehicle for immigrant's role in the American society. The major players were made national heroes by these sports, courtesy to newspapers and radio allowing immigrants to attain the status of a revered culture icon, while their counterparts were struggling with poverty and combating ethnic disparity (Mauricien, 2012).
Sports were the prime bastion of democracy during the 1950's throughout the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. The society which had ninety five percent of Italian and Jewish community with remainder of the elder population speaking least English, sports became a religion amongst English speaking boys and men. Apart from intensely discussing sports in bars, dinners and at street corners, men took part actively in betting in sports like basketball, horse riding and boxing by a bookie. Sports captured the entire fancy of young boys (Mauricien, 2012). A huge crowd followed the famous New York baseball teams namely:




They imagined themselves as the top centerfields of these teams namely:

Duke Snider

Willi Mays

Mickey Mantle

Children indulged in Basketball following the footsteps of older students who were playing on the school team and ended up getting admission in colleges whilst playing for them. They are huge fans of Friday Night fights and Sunday pro-football, imitating the moves used in the fights, employing them in alley fights and football games.

The scholar Todd Boyd has emphasized quite well that in context of popular culture; the African-Americans had quite a dramatic and long lasting effect on American society. Separating stereotyping, segregation, they made their mark via sports, music and popular forms of entertainment, which captivated the American audience at large and redefined their image and set a benchmark for entertainment and all the Americans. There has been a lack of proper documentation of the 18th century African-American popular culture thriving in Pennsylvania, it's important to take different sources in consideration while putting together lively cultural history of the African-American people (House, 2012).

The globalization of American culture is detested by some nations. The French are firm on keeping their language free of English words while the Canadians have implemented restrictions on American publications. Most Americans complain about broadcast media inclination towards poverty stricken population. Besides this fact, the Americans are providing entertainment to the entire global community which is a huge contribution (Lyndsay & Audrey, 2013).

Writer and producer, Jon Boorstin penned a book titled 'The Hollywood Eye', has defended this stance on movies' inclination towards mass market interests by using terms applicable to other divisions of American pop culture. 'The Hollywood filmmakers are quite greedy, simple minded and democratic as they are acutely aware of what the audience wants to watch. It means that they neglect rarefied sensibilities and share the fun with their loved ones such as, Wall Street lawyers, waiters, small town Rotarians, cops, pacifists, engineering students, car wash guy and even junkies for that matter. The common currency of humans such as sorrow, joy, excitement, loss, love, pain and anger are shared' (Hollander, 2014).

Sports and recreation within the residential schools were required to meet certain goals which pertained with the education and health improvement of the Aboriginal people. These were the same goals that a lot of sportsdevelopmental programs give hype to. Alot of residential schools had programs and organizations that were being used to deter the youth of Aborigine for participation in different activities like physical games etc. (Lyndsey & Audrey, 2013). Severalprograms were introduced which brought the swimming coaches and instructors from south to north for employment in certain seasons. However, the main goal of the program was to help make the youth of Aborigine become good leaders (Rose ? & Giles, 2007).

NFL in popular culture

Culture and sports have been for most of the time been upstream from politics. The occurrences on field shape and affect the nation's politics eventually. Years before the Civil Rights Movements in 1947, Jackie Robinson united the Mahor League Baseball after crossing all white lines, indicated by historian Jules Tygiel (House, 2012; Lee, 2012). Apart from that, in Cincinnati at Crossley Field in the first season, Dodger shortstop Pee Wee Reese (white southerner) reached the first base where Robinson was positioned and put an arm around him whilst the fans taunting and criticized the black ballplayer in Major League Baseball. The famous baseball author Roger Kahn noted that Reese didn't…

Sources Used in Documents:

Sports have played a huge role in the American society on the whole as they have become a necessary part of the popular culture. American football is quite a popular game which brings NFL (National Football League) in limelight. NFL is same to same as other sports have an off season too when they are on a season break. Leagues such as NBA (National Basketball Association), MLB (Major League Baseball) and NHL (National Hockey League) follow the same pattern which builds the hype for them (Lee, 2012). It enables the public to forget all about sports for a while until it swings back in action again. The off season usually consists of training sessions, gym, trading players, NFL Combine and NFL Draft. These activities are heavily kept watch of by loyal fans followed by intense discussions (House, 2012).

Super Bowl is intensely popular in United States. Even the non-followers are somehow influenced by it as they hear news about it or by viewing it. The news channels mention regularly and social media is definitely on fire with news and updates. A famous band plays during halftime while a draw exists for watching the advertisements during the game and halftime (Lee, 2012). Companies are compelled to dish out loads of cash to display advertise themselves as the Super Bowl progresses. These ads are usually creative and funny and sometimes mixed. People for the sake of fun choose a particular team and cheer it till the end or otherwise friends pick a team and contend that it will win the title. It's sort of a public gathering event where food is enjoyed and drinks are taken in huge quantities. Tostitos and Doritos are chips found mostly at super Bowl parties while in case of drinks Coke, Pepsi and Budweiser. For the sports fans, it's their day off as they spend the entire day in front of a TV or mocking the opponent's team for fun. TV shows often give reference to Super Bowl just as Christmas and Halloween. Betting on a high level is also involved for the winning team, people are cut some slack from office, schools and colleges as it's the biggest event of the year (Hollander, 2014).

In 'Popular culture and the rituals of American Football' by Mark Axelrod, several cultural practices in America regarding football are mentioned. Before the ports went global, there were a lot of rituals and myths

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