JRN 362 / SPS 362 - Lecture Eleven

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JRN 362 / SPS 362 - Lecture Eleven

  1. 1. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Rich Hanley, Associate Professor Lecture Eleven
  2. 2. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football
  3. 3. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Review • How did college football reach the point in the first third of the 20th century teams were more important than faculty and media rushed over itself to cover and promote the sport? • How had football evolved to the point where it stood separate from and above education in the public eye?
  4. 4. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Review • First, we know its immense influence by the volume of cultural products stemming from football such as films (e.g. Hold ‘Em Yale, The Freshman) books, and magazines. • Game attendance underscored this popularity.
  5. 5. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Review • By the end of the 1920s and into the early 1930s, though, critics began to ask fundamental questions about whether college football had gone too far. • Howard Savage was commissioned by a non-profit group to study the issue.
  6. 6. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “Can it concentrate its attention on securing teams that win, without impairing the sincerity and vigor of its intellectual purpose?” asked Savage, lead author of American College Athletics (1929).
  7. 7. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching sponsored the study. • It deployed the most sophisticated survey techniques and data analytics of its period to find the answer. • The results were damning.
  8. 8. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • The foundation decided to look into college football in the mid 1920s after noting success of Knute Rockne in elevating the status of football and a coach to unprecedented stature. • Rockne had personified the shift in the game from campus event to entertainment spectacle.
  9. 9. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Even as far back as 1905, college faculty and administrators took sharp notice of the latent corruption of the during the period when on-the-field deaths spurred calls for reform. • This critique raged alongside concerns over the carnage of on-the- field deaths and injuries.
  10. 10. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • In January 1906, a University of Wisconsin history professor argued that the game’s popularity made it impossible to make athletics “honest and rightly related to university life.”
  11. 11. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Collier’s Magazine published a series on the corruption of college football in November 1905 that alleged the University of Wisconsin had paid players and that some athletes had worked to rig elections to guarantee favorable funding and legislation.
  12. 12. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Princeton president, and later U.S. president, Woodrow Wilson said extracurricular activities had become the “side show” that had “swallowed up the circus.” • Wilson would later credit football with helping the Allied victory in World War I but he had clear reservations.
  13. 13. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Other critics took note. • In his 1899 work, The Theory of the Leisure Class, Thorstein Veblen, an economist and sociologist at Chicago, described college sports (particularly football) as a form of “conspicuous consumption” that reflected the strain of debauchery
  14. 14. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • The early 20th century critiques, however, did little to halt the rise of college football. • These complaints, however, created a template Carnegie and others would use in the late 1920s as part of a formal investigation into football and its role in college and American life.
  15. 15. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • The Carnegie Foundation spent three years beginning in 1926 studying college football in response to concerns over the influence the sport secured over the rest of university life. • Its report, issued in 1929, generated front-page news for the abuses it documented.
  16. 16. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “In the United States, the composite institution called a university is doubtless still an intellectual agency. But it also a social, a commercial, and an athletic agency, and these activities have in recent years appreciably overshadowed the intellectual life for which the university is assumed to exist,” report author Savage concluded.
  17. 17. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “College, the report stated, was designed for one “conscious purpose” and that was to teach and, “as a teaching agency, to bring the college youth to an understanding and appreciation of the intellectual life – in a word, to teach the boy to think.”
  18. 18. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Savage wrote that by the early 20th century, a college “began to conceive of itself not merely as an agency for training students to think hard and clearly but as a place where, without fundamental education,” young people could acquire “all the vocations practiced in a modern industrial state.”
  19. 19. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • In short, the college offered everything “from the exposition of esoteric Buddhism to the management of chain grocery stores … “
  20. 20. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “It is under this regime that college sports have been developed from games played by boys for pleasure into systematic professionalized athletic contests for the glory, and too often, for the financial profit of the college,” Savage wrote.
  21. 21. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback Among other things, the report concluded: 1. That college football made it it difficult for players to also attend to coursework because the demands of practice consumed time that precluded study.
  22. 22. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback 2. Thrust naïve, poor students into a world where they had access to robust meals, fancy clothes and other accessories of the life of the well-to-do. 3. Encouraged the recruiting of players to guarantee winning teams to fill new stadia.
  23. 23. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Moreover, the report found that colleges essentially provided free content for the many newspapers who covered games and featured players as celebrities. • “ … the blaze of publicity in which the college athlete lives is a demoralizing influence for the boy himself and no less so for the college.”
  24. 24. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Overall, the report found schools hired athletic administrators whose experience suggested they had the “ability to make athletics, especially football, yield profits, to devise schedules that please various contingents, and to procure funds for stadiums” rather than for education or promoting health among students.
  25. 25. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “The tendencies of the time, the growing luxury, the keen inter-college competition, the influence of well- meaning but unwise alumni, the acquiescence in newspaper publicity, the reluctance of the authorities of the university or the college to take an unpopular stand,” Savage wrote, all played a role in elevating football.
  26. 26. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Football transformed colleges from centers of intellectual life to the center of the entertainment industry, the report stated. • The solution? Return college football and other sports to their rightful place as the pursuits of amateurs.
  27. 27. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • The report’s path to redemption led through a recalculated concept of the amateur athlete, imported from elite English schools. • To date, that concept had been largely ignored by American colleges. Now, it would take center stage in the debate over the future of college football.
  28. 28. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • The United States government used the following to define amateur in the 1920s: • “An amateur sportsman is one who engages in sport solely for the pleasure and physical, mental, or social benefits he derives therefrom, and to whom sport is nothing more than an avocation.”
  29. 29. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • It’s important to note that the media, so roundly criticized in the report, reflected this idea in its reportage, describing players who turned pro as “gold diggers.” • Professional sports served as the “antithesis” of amateurism in a philosophical tension: material versus spiritual rewards.
  30. 30. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “The matter involves both the presence or absence of material considerations and also a body of spiritual considerations, which accrue to the amateur, but which in the case of the professional are necessarily outweighed by the material benefits that he receives.”
  31. 31. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Yet the evidence showed that the amateur college players received significant material benefit, in the form of scholarships, publicity and other things such as free clothing and food.
  32. 32. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Historically, colleges sought to define amateur in the negative by composing a long list of prohibited acts, which, if violated, make an athlete a professional. • But the report noted that human nature would seek loopholes in the list of banned acts, creating a premium for violating the act itself.
  33. 33. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • So it circled back to the honor code of sportsmen as the animating motivation to play by the rules. • “It is important that the doctrine of amateurism be preserved, whether the college is regarded as an intellectual or socializing agency,” the report recommended.
  34. 34. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Purdue University faculty concurred. • “ … admission to the university of students who are financed because of their athletic prowess and because of their ability to round out winning athletic teams cannot do otherwise than result in disaster to our educational programs and to its standards of scholarship.”
  35. 35. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • In other words, the report noted, if colleges permitted professionals to play, the intellectual infrastructure of higher education – the admissions process, the application of grades, etc. would be corrupted because athletes would require special opportunities to meet these academic requirements. It said:
  36. 36. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “It is unifies the student body and soon brings other undergraduates to feel that efforts to fulfill the intellectual purposes of the institution avail nothing if men are to be supported merely for the sake of winning games. No other force so completely vitiates the intellectual aims of an institution and each of its members.”
  37. 37. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Moreover, professionals would undermine fair play. • “ … the convention of amateurism represents a guarantee on the part of the American college that every undergraduate shall have his fair and equal chance to develop his physical powers for the honor of his fellows, his own self-satisfaction, and the good of the nation.”
  38. 38. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • So there it is: the deployment of paid athletes to represent college teams would undermine the intellectual standing and democratic nature of the college. • For the “good of the nation,” the code of amateurism needed to return to college campuses.
  39. 39. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Report author Savage and others anticipated that they would be criticized by football supporters who would assert – as they had in each crisis ahead of this one in 1929 – that the game’s moral code developed character. • They neutralized that claim with research.
  40. 40. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • The qualities – courage, obedience, unselfishness, persistence and the like – “have formed the theme of countless eulogies athletes and athletics,” the report stated. • Yet no measurable evidence could be found to support the myths constructed by the press, coaches and athletic administrators.
  41. 41. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • In fact, the report noted, active participation seemed to boost dishonesty because of corrupt practices involving recruiting and professionalism. • It stated:
  42. 42. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “The impairment of moral stamina that such practices imply is the darkest blot upon American college athletics.”
  43. 43. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • That called into question the nature of whether the amateur ideal, based on an honor code rooted in sportsmanship, could ever exist in a sport such as football. • And running alongside the report remained concerns over permanent injuries and deaths stemming from the game.
  44. 44. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • The average player stood 5-foot-10 and weighed approximately 170 pounds in the late 1920s. • That’s small relative to contemporary football players yet that body at that size generated considerable force.
  45. 45. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • That force, expressed in violent collisions, is evident in injury reports from the period. • At 22 institutions studied in the late 1920s, football caused an inordinate amount of injuries. • At one school, almost 75 percent of the players were injured in all.
  46. 46. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • During the same period, a study of 376 former football players revealed that 44.1 percent had suffered concussions. • Another study found that up to 30 percent of all players on any given team had suffered concussions.
  47. 47. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “The possible seriousness of concussion is attested by the fact that nearly one-half of the team physicians … have observed that concussion, once suffered severely, tends to recur more easily,” the report noted.
  48. 48. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Overall, at least 25 percent of all football players suffered a serious injury during the course of a season. • It is difficult to conclude that sportsmanship was uppermost on the minds of players. • In fact, sportsmanship might have been a fictional concept all along.
  49. 49. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • In January 1927, a former Harvard player named Wynant Davis Hubbard wrote an article for Liberty magazine that alleged dirty play by Princeton. • His charges serve as a laundry list of what happens during football games of the period in the mid part of the decade.
  50. 50. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “Sprained knees and ankles, broken legs, smashed noses, dislocated wrists, scissoring, cursing and filthy language, dangerous kicks and wallops, kneeing, torn eyeballs and eyelids,” Hubbard wrote. • One player left a 1925 game with the “clear imprint of a signet (ring) on his nose,” he added.
  51. 51. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • The charges were so inflammatory that Harvard’s president urged Hubbard not to go public with the article. • Hubbard told the New York Times he wanted the article published because he wanted to save the game from itself.
  52. 52. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • One passage struck at the very heart of the notion of the amateur ideal as expressed through sportsmanship:
  53. 53. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “That it is common knowledge that Princeton players direct a constant flow of filthy and abusive language at the members of the Harvard teams, with the express purpose of getting their goats, making them angry, or otherwise directing their attention from the game.”
  54. 54. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Princeton vigorously denied the charges but the atmosphere in which Hubbard went public showed that despite the exceptional popularity of college football, the game had significant issues. • When combined with the Carnegie Report of two years later, it seemed football would be in trouble.
  55. 55. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • But it was not. • The game’s powerful hold on America’s dream life simply strengthened. • Former players vigorously defended the game, including a Harvard quarterback named Barry Wood.
  56. 56. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Barry Wood had just completed his senior season at Harvard when he was invited to speak at a meeting of the New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in Boston on December 4, 1931. • Several speakers ahead of Wood criticized football.
  57. 57. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Wood responded with a line that swept through the sport and persists within the game’s vocabulary. • Wood said the problem with football could be found in the stands, where “the Monday morning quarterbacks” stood ready to second-guess and criticize everything about the game.
  58. 58. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • A year later, Wood wrote What Price Football: a Player’s Defense of the Game. • The book invited readers to learn about the players’ perspective of the game, again stressing the Monday Morning Quarterbacks who continued to criticize a sport they did not understand.
  59. 59. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “It would be absurd to criticize college football for the fact that the American people seem to have become football mad,” he wrote. • The figures bear him out. Harvard’s football revenue in 1931 stood at $891,932. The next sport? Baseball, with $26,975 in revenue.
  60. 60. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football
  61. 61. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Football had survived yet another existential crisis. • It would grow even stronger in the 1930s and 1940s as the pro game secured widespread acceptance and finally reached stability.
  62. 62. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • The fact that football survived crisis after crisis suggested to some that something much deeper was working in the game’s favor. • As the 20th century hurtled forward, serious writers began to sense that the game furnished a psychological grip on America beyond its visible and vicarious appeal.
  63. 63. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Among the first to see that would be F. Scott Fitzgerald, a 1917 graduate of Princeton. • Fitzgerald, Arthur Miller, Robert Penn Warren and J.D. Salinger would write four of the greatest works in American letters, and three circulated around the American dream life of football gone awry.
  64. 64. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Football fascinated Fitzgerald, who played at The Newman School before attending Princeton. • Fitzgerald died, in fact, while reading a Princeton alumni magazine about the 1940 team and making notes for the author and compiling a list of football greats from the past.
  65. 65. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • In his 1927 essay on Princeton, he wrote the following:
  66. 66. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “For at Princeton, as at Yale, football became, back in the nineties, a sort of symbol. Symbol of what? Of the eternal violence of American life? Of the eternal immaturity of the race? The failure of a culture within the walls? Who knows? …
  67. 67. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “ … It became something at first satisfactory, then essential and beautiful. It became, long before the insatiable millions took it, with Gertrude Ederle and Mrs. Snyder, to its heart, the most intense and dramatic spectacle since the Olympic games …
  68. 68. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “ … . The death of Johnny Poe with the Black Watch in Flanders starts the cymbals crashing for me, plucks the strings of nervous violins as no adventure of the mind that Princeton ever-offered …
  69. 69. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “ … . A year ago in the Champs Elysees I passed a slender dark- haired young man with an indolent characteristic walk. Something stopped inside me; I turned and looked after him. It was the romantic Buzz Law whom I had last seen one cold fall twilight in 1915, kicking from behind his goal line with a bloody bandage round his head.”
  70. 70. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Fitzgerald thought Princeton’s Hobey Baker to be the ideal American athlete. • He used Baker as the model for the fictional Allenby in This Side of Paradise, for example.
  71. 71. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Fitzgerald wrote a short story titled “The Bowl”, the only piece of literature that focuses exclusively on football. • It was published in the Saturday Evening Post on January 21, 1928.
  72. 72. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • The story is centered on a Princeton football player named Dolly Harlan and a game at the Yale Bowl. • Harlan’s love interest is named Vienna Thorne, whose brother was killed in a prep school football game in front of his family.
  73. 73. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Fitzgerald also writes descriptions of what it is like to play the game from the perspective of a player even though he did not play at Princeton. • This excerpt shows another layer of understanding:
  74. 74. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “Yale would punt and I'd look up. The minute I looked up, the sides of that damn pan would seem to go shooting up too. Then when the ball started to come down, the sides began leaning forward and bending over me until I could see all the people on the top seats screaming at me and shaking their fists.
  75. 75. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “At the last minute I couldn't see the ball at all, but only the Bowl; every time it was just luck that I was under it and every time I juggled it in my hands."
  76. 76. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • The excerpt that follows reveals that Harlan really didn’t want to play football, in fact hated the game, but showed up for practice anyway, something Fitzgerald’s narrator would give up a portion of his life to do:
  77. 77. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “On the fifteenth of September he was down in the dust and heat of late-summer Princeton, crawling over the ground on all fours, trotting through the old routine and turning himself into just the sort of specimen that I’d have given ten years of my life to be.”
  78. 78. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • This excerpt shows that it is difficult to match the sense of achievement in victory on the college gridiron for students and players who cared about such a thing.
  79. 79. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “Our class—those of us who cared— would go out from Princeton without the taste of final defeat. The symbol stood—such as it was; the banners blew proudly in the wind. All that is childish? Find us something to fill the niche of victory.”
  80. 80. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Harlan and Vienna become a couple, and he quits the football team because of a broken ankle. • But drawn by unseen forces, he returns for the Yale game at the bowl against Vienna’s wishes. • Here’s Fitzgerald’s narrator’s description of game day:
  81. 81. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “The actual day of the game was, as usual, like a dream--unreal with its crowds of friends and relatives and the inessential trappings of a gigantic show. The eleven little men who ran out on the field at last were like bewitched figures in another world, strange and infinitely romantic, blurred by a throbbing mist of people and sound.
  82. 82. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “One aches with them intolerably, trembles with their excitement, but they have no traffic with us now, they are beyond help, consecrated and unreachable--vaguely holy.”
  83. 83. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “One aches with them intolerably, trembles with their excitement, but they have no traffic with us now, they are beyond help, consecrated and unreachable--vaguely holy.” • Consecrated. Unreachable. Vaguely holy.
  84. 84. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Harlan catches a pass late, and Princeton scores a touchdown to tie Yale. • After the game, Harlan walks on the field in darkness before going to New York with the narrator and a character named Daisy Cary, an actress.
  85. 85. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Harlan leaves the group to meet Vienna, but he returns in search of Daisy Cary. • He asks the hotel clerk to call her room. Unlike previous fiction where the football hero metaphorically connects with the girl, Harlan seeks her out, in her room.
  86. 86. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Fitzgerald closes the story with a passage that defines the game itself for players and how only they understand the momentary sense of ecstasy the game triggers. • He describes the way Harlan walked to Daisy’s room.
  87. 87. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “Dolly turned away, alone with his achievement, taking it for once to his breast. He found suddenly that he would not have it long so intimately; the memory would outlive the triumph and even the triumph would outlive the glow in his heart that was best of all …
  88. 88. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “… Tall and straight, an image of victory and pride, he moved across the lobby, oblivious alike to the fate ahead of him or the small chatter behind.” • He would go see Daisy in her room.
  89. 89. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • It is in his masterwork, The Great Gatsby from 1925, that Fitzgerald shapes a former college football player – a Yale alum, of course, not Princeton - as someone who represented the less-than-ideal person who does the opposite of Harden. • The character is Tom Buchanan.
  90. 90. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • In Gatsby, Fitzgerald critiques 1920s America and undercuts the myth of the football player as self-made man who triumphs by brawn and brain. • Buchanan is a football player because he was born big and he attended Yale because he was born into wealth. He describes him thus:
  91. 91. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “Two shining, arrogant eyes had established dominance over his face, and gave him the appearance of always leaning aggressively forward … you could see a great pack of muscle shifting when his shoulder moved under his thin coat. It was a body capable of enormous leverage—a cruel body.”
  92. 92. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “Tom's problem is that he peaked too early, playing football at Yale. It's hard to be satisfied with a normal life of playing polo and yachting when you've been a gridiron star.” • “[Tom] would drift on forever seeking, a little wistfully, for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game.”
  93. 93. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • In short, Buchanan represented the opposite of the football hero. • He treated his wife, Daisy (Gatsby’s crush), like chattel and cheated on her, with Myrtle Wilson. • And unlike Harlan, he didn’t walk away with “his head held high, oblivious to the fate ahead of him.”
  94. 94. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • The next three works appear after World War II, in the late 1940s and early 1950s when, according to scholar Kathryn Lay, "Sports heroes were larger-than-life representations of all that was good about American society.“
  95. 95. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Miller’s Death of a Salesman was first staged in 1949, earning the Pulitzer Prize for drama and a Tony Award.
  96. 96. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Set in late 1940s New York, Death of a Salesman explores the psychological terrain of the American dream and its corrosive impact on the lives of people who cannot attain it. • The story revolves around salesman Willy Loman and his family – and football’s dream life.
  97. 97. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Loman is haunted by the inability of his son, Biff, to become a football hero, as Gary Harrington of Salisbury University points out. • At one point in the play, Willy states that Biff’s “life ended after that Ebbets Field game,” a reference to a high school championship contest.
  98. 98. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Loman acknowledges that Biff’s failure to be a college star has been “trailing me like a ghost for the last fifteen years.”
  99. 99. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Loman wanted stardom for Biff, at one point comparing him to the greatest running back up until that point. • “They’ll be calling Biff another Red Grange. Twenty five thousand a year,” he exclaims.
  100. 100. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Willy’s neighbor, Charley, asks in reply: “Who is Red Grange.”
  101. 101. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Scholar Mark Golden concluded that “Willy believes that Biff's success as a high school football player is proof is his divinity.” • To Willy, a football star is equivalent to a god.
  102. 102. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Golden adds: “As [Willy] talks to Ben about him, he points to Biff who stands silently by them like a divine presence. Biff wears his school sweater, symbolic of his athletic career.”
  103. 103. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “And that's why when you get out on that field today it's important. Because thousands of people will be rooting for you and loving you.“
  104. 104. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • According to Golden, Biff’s brother, Hap, is an attendant to a god, carrying Biff's shoulder guards, gold helmet and football pants from high school.
  105. 105. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • In many ways, football could be interpreted as the father of Willy (whose own father abandoned him) and even of Willy’s own son Biff, who was considered a failure because he didn’t make it past high school football as a result of a bad math test.
  106. 106. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Even Willy’s wife, Linda, treated their son Hap as a second-class son in the family because he did not play football.
  107. 107. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Willy has had an affair with a woman named Miss Francis in a Boston hotel. • When caught by Biff, Willy denies he is involved with Miss Francis, but Biff doesn’t believe him.
  108. 108. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Willy asks her to leave the room. • Miss Francis turns to Biff, asking: ''Are you football or baseball?'‘ • ''Football,'' he replies. • ''That's me too,'' she says, revealing her own American dream life of vicarious ecstasy and violence.
  109. 109. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • And as Maureen Dowd wrote in the New York Times, the Loman family cheats a little, lies a little and fantasizes a lot about football and what it could bring to them in material goods and social status. • Instead, it has a corrosive effect on all it touches.
  110. 110. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren was published in 1946 but is set in the 1930s. • The work is about Willie Stark, a fictionalized character based on Huey Long of Louisiana.
  111. 111. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Willie’s son, Tom Stark, is a college football hero, a big man on campus according to the expression of the time. • Tom, however, is hardly the clean- cut, All-America type, as academic Gregory Phipps reveals in his analysis of the work in 2010.
  112. 112. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Among a list of scandals, he: - Crashes a sports car while driving while drunk. - Is accused of getting Sibyl Frey pregnant. - Starts a fight with local "yokels" (townies) at a bar, or roadhouse.
  113. 113. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Willie Stark’s political connections save Tom from himself – off the field. • Willie sees a younger version of himself in Tom and wants his son to achieve the American dream just as Willy Lohman did for Biff.
  114. 114. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “Back [in his youth] the Boss had been blundering and groping his unwitting way toward the discovery of himself, of his great gift, wearing his overalls that bagged down about the seat ... Now Tom wasn't blundering and groping toward anything, and certainly not toward a discovery of himself …
  115. 115. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “… For he knew that he was the damnedest, hottest thing there was. Tom Stark, All American, and there were no flies on him.”
  116. 116. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • The scene set for one of Tom Stark’s games attended by his father illustrates the tension between the beauty of the field and uniforms and the violence that occurs within that tableau.
  117. 117. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • A character, Adam Stanton, describes the stadium as a place where "men in red silky-glittering shorts and gold helmets hurled themselves against men in blue silky- glittering shorts and gold helmets and spilled and tumbled on the bright arsenical-green turf like spilled dolls."
  118. 118. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • He later imagines Tom Stark as a “cross between a ballerina and a locomotive.”
  119. 119. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • During the game, however, Tom Stark is injured as his father watches. • The injury, at first, didn’t seem serious, according to a character in the novel.
  120. 120. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • "There was nothing to it, the way [Tom] did his stuff, it looked so easy. But once after he had knifed through for seven yards and had been nailed by the secondary, he didn't get up right away. ‘just got the breath knocked out,' the Boss said."
  121. 121. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • But Tom was paralyzed by the blow. • Stanton predicts what comes next:
  122. 122. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • "He'll be like a baby. And the skin will be inclined to break down. He will get infections easily. The respiratory control will be impaired, too. Pneumonia will be likely. That's what usually knocks off cases like this sooner or later." • And Tom dies of pneumonia.
  123. 123. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • This sequence has been described by critics as an “emasculation” of the football hero but it actually carries much larger psychological freight for the game.
  124. 124. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Phipps’ analysis is pitch perfect: • “That is to say, for a sport defined by gladiatorial, risk-taking and the relentless sacrifice of one's body for victory, the only appropriate participant is a young man who is already a reckless, chauvinistic risk- taker …
  125. 125. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “ … In fact, one can even push this point further and add that the ideal young man is one who not only is a risk-taker but also is the son of a governor. After all, despite what players would like to believe, due to the threat of injury and the commercialization of the sport, football generally does not function
  126. 126. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • In short, the football hero is a myth, as is the football code of honor, under a close reading of the text in relation to football. • The game does not bring social mobility or even wealth or fame. • It brought death and corruption.
  127. 127. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • It is no accident that the opening sequence of J.D. Salinger’s canonical American novel of the 1950s – The Catcher in the Rye – includes the main character offering a critical appraisal of a football game.
  128. 128. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • “Anyway, it was the Saturday of the football game with Saxon Hall. The game with Saxon Hall was supposed to be a very big deal around Pencey. It was the last game of the year, and you were supposed to commit suicide or something if old Pencey didn't win.”
  129. 129. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • Miller and Warren furnished definitive critiques of football in the late 1940s as did J.D. Salinger in his opening, yet like the Carnegie Report and the Liberty magazine article a generation earlier, the game didn’t suffer; it became more popular than ever.
  130. 130. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football Monday Morning Quarterback • And it would for many decades to follow because of this:
  131. 131. JRN 362/SPS 362 Story of Football

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