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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Easterbrook does it again

In the post-Super Bowl Tuesday Morning Quarterback, Gregg Easterbrook offers an opinion on why American Football is now the national game:
As Michael Mandelbaum wrote in his wonderful 2004 book "The Meaning of Sports," football in the past century has leapfrogged other team games in importance because its structure reflects the modern industrial era. Like big corporations and complex organizations, football requires large numbers of people cooperating. As recently as the stillness before World War II, most Americans made their livings working alone or in small groups in agriculture, craftsmanship, merchandising or owner-operated industry. For the past 60 years, large organizations have dominated the social structure of the West. Large organizations ask large numbers of people of diverse backgrounds to work together cooperatively. Football asks large numbers of people of diverse backgrounds to work together cooperatively. And it's not just the guys on the field who must cooperate. TMQ's Law of the Hidden Moms holds that for every boy who steps onto the high school football field, two people worked behind the scenes to make it possible. In big-college and the pros, it's more like five or six behind the scenes for every one on the field. Other team sports require much less in terms of group commitment. For football to happen, large numbers of people who otherwise would have nothing to do with each other must make a commitment to get along. And that describes a modern economy, doesn't it?

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