Synopses & Reviews
ESPN national correspondent and veteran NFL reporter Sal Paolantonio takes readers on a journey through the cultural history of American football--from its earliest post-Civil War roots to the high-flying acrobatics of the present day game. Using the historic 2007 season as a cinematic canvas, Paolantonio explains how American football evolved from the old English rugby and soccer and why every change in the rules, every attempt to recast the game of football was often a simple reflection of who we are as a people. Why, in America, was it simply not enough to kick the ball from goal to goal? Why did we have to pick it up and throw it? What was it about us as a people that we had to have possession of the ball, gain territory, and advance? Who came up with those concepts and why? We love football for the same reasons we love John Wayne and Luke Skywalker. In football, the hero (the quarterback) is on a journey through hostile territory like Ulysses or other heroes from time immemorial. Football is a definable story in a finite amount of time perfectly suited for television. Well, they have televisions in Japan. Why hasn't it caught on there? Sociologists often explain that football was a game that naturally evolved out of the industrial revolution in late 19th Century. But the last time anybody looked, the industrial revolution happened in Europe first and foremost. And, after years of trying, American football has gone dormant in Europe. How Football Explains America explains how America created football and why. Other societies and cultures have been just as violent. Why is our game the most violent? Why is it the only sport in the world with a huddle? How is Tom Brady a directdescendant of Jim Thorpe? How did a simple rule change in 1882 foreshadow Gen. Douglas McArthur's influence on Bill Parcells? What role did the Italian-American, Scots-Irish, and Slovakian immigrants play in shaping American football into the game it is today? Using some of those most prominent voices in pro sports and cultural and media criticism, How Football Explains America is a fascinating, first-of-its-kind journey through the making of America's most complex, intriguing, and popular game.
Using some of the most prominent voices in pro sports and cultural and media criticism, How Football Explains America is a fascinating, first-of-its-kind journey through the making of Americaand#39;s most complex, intriguing, and popular game. ESPNandrsquo;s Sal Paolantonioandrsquo;s explores just how crucial football is to understanding the American psyche. Interspersed with memorable images from the climax of Super Bowl XLII, Paolantonio tackles varying American themes from Manifest Destiny to andldquo;fourth and oneandrdquo; as he goes deep in order to answer the age-old question Why does America love football so much? An unabashedly celebratory explanation of Americaandrsquo;s love affair with the game and the men who make it possible, this work sheds light on topics such as how the pioneers and cowboys helped create a game that resembled their march across the continent, why rugby and soccer donand#39;t excite the American male like football does, how rule changes are continually made to enhance the dramatic action and create a better narrative, the eternal appeal of the heroic quarterback position, the military lineage from General Douglas MacArthur to the New York Jetsandrsquo; head coach Eric Mangini, and how the burgeoning medium of television identified and exploited the NFLandrsquo;s great characters. It is a must read for anyone interested in more fully understanding not only the game but also the nation in which it thrives.
About the Author
Sal Paolantonio is a national correspondent for ESPN, covering the NFL for SportsCenter, Sunday NFL Countdown, and ESPN.com. He also hosts ESPN's State Farm NFL Matchup on Sunday mornings. He is a former sportswriter and political correspondent for the Philadelphia Inquirer and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy. He lives with his family in Moorestown, New Jersey.