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Football in American culture

Football in American culture

Sports in America are very popular, and while baseball is a pastime, football is an actual passion. Although many sports have a big number of fans, in the past years football has gained more and more popularity, especially since the development of the media. The National Football League (formed in 1922), is the professional league consisting in 32 teams from all over America, which play at the highest level at the end of each year, and the championship culminates with the Super Bowl night (the annual world championship game). No other sport has ever taken advantage in such a way of the opportunities provided by the development of the media: because of publicity and advertising, the Super Bowl is the greatest television event and is considered almost a national celebration. People organize home-parties and gather to watch the Big Game on TV, which is broadcasted by channels in more than 200 countries and has billions of viewers all over the world. The symbolical value of this sport is huge, and is often considered the equivalent of the military in the sports category, since it is often seen as rigid. Furthermore, football is not only a huge spectacle, but also the main sport during holidays and celebrations, and is considered one of America’s most representative façade. For many people, it personalizes very accurate the American society and culture.

Originally, American football was not an organized sport, and very often the meetings ended up in violence. Schools or towns had a set of rules, and the matches involved two teams which were trying to score. Starting as an interscholastic competition, the sport was formalized in the second half of the nineteenth century. Ever since, it has developed fast and transformed into a defining cultural element for the United States. The football games had a huge commercial success, and traders have speculated this fact, transforming anything connected to football into a marketing opportunity. For example, in terms of consumption, the Super Bowl Sunday (the informal name of the Big Game) is the second largest after Thanksgiving. Each team has a huge number of fans, and they choose to show their support and admiration by wearing traditional equipment. However, the professional league is very exclusivist and if you live outside U.S., it may be hard for the average fan to have access to NFL online stores, which proves once again how anchored the sport is in the American culture.

Besides being a marketing instrument, a popular entertainment method, or a recreation activity for youth and adults, football has become a real lifestyle for some people, and the “football fever” is very common in certain communities from America. They consider the sport a way in which young men can build a personality, based on values such as team-work or self-confidence. Despite the fact that it is often associated with brutality and sexism, football is still the most loved sport in America.