This landmark work explores the vibrant world of football from the
1920s through the 1950s, a period in which the game became deeply
embedded in American life. Though millions experienced the thrills
of college and professional football firsthand during these years,
many more encountered the game through their daily newspapers or
the weekly Saturday Evening Post
, on radio broadcasts, and
in the newsreels and feature films shown at their local movie
theaters. Asking what football meant to these millions who followed
it either casually or passionately, Michael Oriard reconstructs a
media-created world of football and explores its deep entanglements
with a modernizing American society.
Football, claims Oriard, served as an agent of "Americanization"
for immigrant groups but resisted attempts at true integration and
racial equality, while anxieties over the domestication and
affluence of middle-class American life helped pave the way for the
sport's rise in popularity during the Cold War. Underlying these
threads is the story of how the print and broadcast media, in ways
specific to each medium, were powerful forces in constructing the
football culture we know today.