Football and Philosophy: Going Deep

Football and Philosophy: Going Deep

Football and Philosophy: Going Deep

Football and Philosophy: Going Deep

Synopsis

Over the past forty years, football has surpassed baseball as America's favorite game. The game has become an institution of our national culture: the Super Bowl is regarded as an unofficial national holiday, and our annual Thanksgiving Day celebrations would be incomplete without it. The sport brings in massive amounts of revenue to high schools and both public and private universities as spectators enjoy a unique and celebratory social scene. Professional football teams across the country cultivate and foster a sense of community in urban areas. Surely a game this influential, with its hallowed traditions, treasured festivities, and clearly defined cultural presence, resonates far beyond recreational importance. Football and Philosophy: Going Deep, edited by Michael W. Austin, reveals how a sport followed by millions reflects our deeper values, beliefs, and priorities. Austin and other contributing writers bring unique perspectives to this thought-provoking collection of essays. Divided into "four quarters" of reflective writing, the book covers many topics frequently debated by football fans. Sharon Ryan asks "What's So Bad about Performance Enhancing Drugs?", while the book's editor argues for a playoff system in college football. Daniel Collins-Cavanaugh ponders whether the salary cap makes the NFL a fairer league, and Joshua Smith offers his own review of the instant replay. Football and Philosophy also forays into some time honored issues as it considers the philosophy of winning in light of the NFL's most legendary coach, Vince Lombardi, and contemplates the concepts of sportsmanship, virtue, friendship, and failure. While the book is unafraid to tackle serious topics, touching on ethics, religion, and the nature of reality itself, the collection is designed to be accessible for any interested reader and was written, first and foremost, for fans of the game. As Austin notes, football fans and philosophers definitely have one quality in common: they both love to argue. Football and Philosophy engages in the debates of both groups, illuminating how the fields are intertwined. So whether they love or hate the college bowl system or disagree on whether the NFL has an ego problem, readers of this book will undoubtedly find much to ponder about America's favorite game.

Excerpt

As a sports columnist, I often write about philosophy. Why, just the other day I was discussing philosophical theories with Kansas City Chiefs football coach and nfl Nietzsche Herman Edwards. “My philosophy,” Edwards said, “is that you’ve got to hit the quarterback.” Among moral philosophers, this quote may not rank with “Man is the cruelest animal.” But couldn’t you argue that both say the same thing? This is the wonderful thing about football. While coaches and players are constantly talking about their particular brands of football “philosophies” (for example, “We want to run the football,” “We play our corners in bump and run,” “Only the best players will make this team,” “I just want to earn my respect”), it seems they are, in their own way, touching on some of our larger questions.

After all, while Stobaeus may have asked, “What use is knowledge if there is no understanding?” it was that tough coach Bill Parcells who said, “If you don’t quit making that same [bleeping] mistake, I’m going to cut you and send you to a truck stop in New Jersey.” It seems to me that Parcells was just taking the next logical step.

Apparently, I’m not the only person to think this way. Mike Austin and his group of talented philosophers, writers, and teachers have taken that next step here. the difference is that Mike Austin and his group of talented philosophers, writers, and teachers are a lot smarter than I am. in this fine book, they use football as an opportunity to discuss some of life’s biggest topics, bold and important ideas that philosophers have studied through the years. Some of the chapters that follow delve into . . .

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