Brand NFL

Making and Selling America's Favorite Sport

Paperback Edition

By Michael Oriard

With a New Afterword from the Author

344 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 2 tables, notes, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-7156-0
    Published: September 2010
  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-9965-6
    Published: September 2010

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Professional football today is an $8 billion sports entertainment industry--and the most popular spectator sport in America, with designs on expansion across the globe. In this astute field-level view of the National Football League since 1960, Michael Oriard looks closely at the development of the sport and at the image of the NFL and its unique place in American life. New to the paperback edition is Oriard's analysis of the offseason labor negotiations and their potential effects on the future of the sport, and his account of how the NFL is dealing with the latest research on concussions and head injuries.

About the Author

Michael Oriard, a former professional football player, is Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Culture and Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University. He is author of several books on football, most recently, Bowled Over: Big-Time College Football from the Sixties to the BCS Era.
For more information about Michael Oriard, visit the Author Page.


"Oriard, a former pro player and current professor, makes the epic tale of the NFL's touchdown drive from tainted image to powerhouse brand as intensely exciting as a Sunday game on a highlight reel."--Robert Lipsyte, contributing writer, The New York Times

"Detailed, compelling, and strangely fascinating. . . . This book's signal contribution to our understanding of leisure, culture, and sport in America makes it highly recommended."--Library Journal, starred review

"Brand NFL explains how [Oriard's] old sport transformed within four decades from 'rinky-dink sideshow,' baseball’s thuggish kid brother, into arguably America’s favorite entertainment."--Financial Times

"Oriard speaks about football from a unique perspective: an academic who has plied his trade in the trenches. His new book, Brand NFL tackles the game's racial politics, labor disputes, and big-bucks marketing campaigns with candor and pungent critiques."--Chronicle of Higher Education

"Brand NFL is the definitive account of America's most compelling sport. Michael Oriard's book is at once a powerful story and an erudite history, told by a writer whose authority is equaled by his flair."--Sally Jenkins, sports columnist, The Washington Post

"[A] thoughtful, informative overview. . . . Oriard wonders whether the NFL may have gained the whole world but lost, or at least compromised, its soul. . . . The combination of [Oriard's] playing experience and his deep knowledge of the league's inner business workings makes for a unique and useful point of view. . . . In the end Oriard, for all his toughness, reveals himself to be something of a romantic. . . . Oriard is right to insist that if pro football permits the essential nature of the game to be lost in all that marketing, if it becomes all sizzle and no steak, something very American and very valuable also will be lost."--Washington Post Book World

Multimedia & Links

Read Oriard's posts at the Washington Post's NFL blog, The League.