Lines of Scrimmage: Selling and Contesting the NFL in Contemporary Media Culture is the title of a special issue of Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture (Volume 14, Issue 1, 2016).
Writes issue editor, Thomas P. Oates, in the Introduction: Shifting formations: The NFL in uncertain times:
This special issue of Popular Communication directs a critical focus toward the league’s efforts to expand its presence and the possible obstacles to its growth. The broader context for this struggle is a set of economic/political/cultural shifts that have created new modes of producing and distributing popular culture. New forms of citizenship stress the pragmatic and often moral virtue of free markets, the importance (and fun) to be found in what Randy Martin (2002) describes as the “financialization of daily life” (p. 3). Despite claims of a new postracial, postfeminist environment, this cultural formation, as Lisa Duggan (2003) notes, “has a cultural politics” that “organizes political life in terms of race, gender, and sexuality as well as economic class and nationality, or ethnicity and religion.(p.3)”
The articles that make up the issue represent a rich variety of perspectives on NFL football.
Reaching the kids: NFL youth marketing and media / Jeffrey Montez de Oca, Brandon Meyer & Jeffrey Scholes
“Together, We Make Football”: The NFL’s “feminine” discourses / Victoria E. Johnson
America’s game: The NFL’s “Salute to Service” campaign, the diffused military presence, and corporate social responsibility / Adam Rugg
The 12th Man: Fan noise in the contemporary NFL / Mack Hagood & Travis Vogan
A rant good for business: Communicative capitalism and the capture of anti-racist resistance / Abraham Iqbal Khan
Reframing concussions, masculinity, and NFL mythology in League of Denial / Zack Furness