“NFL Football: A History of America’s New National Pastime” by Richard C. Crepeau
Football (American), professional, history, business
August 1, 2014
4 ½ of 5 stars (excellent)
There is no doubt that professional football is the most popular sport in America now and the National Football League is one of the most successful enterprises in the world. How the sport and the league arrived to this point is chronicled in this well-researched and well-written book by Richard C. Crepeau. It is a wide ranging book that covers mostly the business of the league and related topics such as media coverage and labor relations.
The book mentions very little about the game itself. It could be considered more of a business book, but in a historical context. The references for the author’s research are both from academic and media sources, which leads to very interesting writing. It is mostly serious, but Crepeau shows some humor as well. One of my favorite passages in the entire book is near the end in the chapter about how the Super Bowl has turned into a national holiday. When talking about the ever-growing popularity and hype of the event, he states that “there are only two things that can stop it: a massive economic collapse or a hysterical wave of sanity sweeping the country.”
Crepeau is careful not to show opinions in the book, but he does make clear the strengths and weaknesses of the league’s commissioners during the period of exponential growth of the league, which is considered to be roughly the second half of the 20th century and into the 21st century as well. The passages on labor relations under Pete Rozelle, during which there were three player strikes, and Roger Goddell, under whom there was a lockout in 2011, were especially balanced. This was true not only about praise or criticism of the leadership, but also in the writing style. Crepeau wrote about this and other business matters in a way that the average fan who does not deal with business language would understand, but advanced enough so that those readers who do work in this field would not consider it too simple.
No topic related to the business of the NFL is ignored. Franchise relocation, drug testing for both illegal substances and performance-enhancing drugs, pension benefits, and post-concussion health problems are all addressed in the book. The sheer amount of topics that are covered in depth make this book worth reading for anyone interested in the business side of the NFL. Crepeau’s work makes that topic that sounds boring a very good read for football fans.
I wish to thank NetGalley for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Did I skim?
No as the book shows the fascinating history of the league, especially off the field as both a business and as an enterprise.
Pace of the book:
It took awhile to get through the book. It is not one that can be read quickly. Reading it slowly and methodically is best to understand all the intricacies of the league.
Do I recommend?
There are so many different aspects of the NFL that are covered, especially since the 1960’s, that any football fan should be able to enjoy the book. This is especially true for those readers who enjoy reading about non-football issues with the league.
Book Format Read: