Football and the Super Bowl Essay

This essay has a total of 787 words and 4 pages.

Football and the Super Bowl

February 2, 2000
Sports Rhetoric

Knowing I had this assignment to complete, I was planning on watching the Super Bowl …
alone. Then I got invited to a Super Bowl party and I could not refuse the opportunity to
go out and socialize with my friends. I was sick the past week and was starved for some
human contact. I am not really a football fan, but this was Super Bowl Sunday, one of the
biggest parties of the year. So I went to my friend’s house, armed with my notebook, and
was ready to analyze the game. Soon, more and more people showed up. They were all male,
all college students, and all athletes. I do not think I need to explain much of what
happened, but I will say this; I did not hear what the sportscasters had to say and we
were all more entertained by the commercials, snowball fights, and the new puppy than we
were by the football game. To quote Linda Fuller, “The game itself is oftentimes hardly
the point; rather, it is the parties, the people, and … the products surrounding it.”
(Fuller 165) So I lived the Super Bowl experience, and for the rhetoric analysis I went to
see the film Any Given Sunday.

Shailer Mathews, dean of the Chicago Divinity School once said, “Football today is a
social obsession. Football is a boy-killing, education-prostituting, gladiatorial sport.
It teaches virility and courage, but so does war.” (Fuller 163) Young boys are taught in
order to become real men they must be tough and they must like sports. From an early age
the young men in this country are taught to fight, be strong, and push down anyone who is
in the way. Many of the terms used in football are taken from military terminology, such
as blitz, bombs, offense, defense, victories, and defeats, to name a few. Phrases such as
“ground and air attacks,” “fighting on the frontlines,” and “battling in the trenches” are
also used. (Fuller 167) The football field is much like a battlefield, without as many
casualties but just as many injuries.

In the film Any Given Sunday two of the star players get seriously injured right at the
start of the film. The injuries were not a surprise. The players who got hurt had been
playing for years and their bodies have taken serious beatings. They played with existing
injuries that never healed properly, because they felt like they had to continue to go out
there and “fight”. It is what they were trained to do. As the instant replay is showing
the star quarterback getting injured over and over again, the sportscasters say, “let’s
see that again,” “that gives you a sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach,” and,
“the dynasty is in trouble”. The sportscasters embellish what happens on the field for
the entertainment of the audience.

In addition to the violence of football, there is a lot of sexist oppression going on as
well. Men dominate the big money making sports, including pro football. The sport is
played entirely by men, announced by men, coached by men, and watched primarily by men.
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