Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Stewart Hoover

Second Advisor

Stephen Jones

Third Advisor

Nabil Echchaibi


The National Football League is more than just the most popular sports league in America. Dominant American discourses that surround American patriotism and popular culture have a parallel in the NFL. This parallel is due to the fact that football is a game uniquely rooted and structured like war. Additionally, many products of the American neo-liberal era are flourishing on the NFL stage. These products include: corporatism, commercialization, consumer culture, and aggressive competition. The violent nature of the game invites notions of militarism and war that fit seamlessly with the game’s identity. Militarism, being a symbol that protects the nation, fits perfectly with an American civil religion that is largely devoted to Reagan’s ideal redemptive America. The NFL, through active and skillful branding, has meshed its identity with foundational aspects of American identity. Now the NFL has to navigate through the popular and traditional logics that are ingrained in American society while maintaining their business.