PLEDGE NOW
Four Hundred Years Of American Football

The deep history of American Football. Ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII, 400 years of pain and glory.

The inaugural collegiate football team at the University of Notre Dame in 1887. (Courtesy Notre Dame Archives)

The inaugural collegiate football team at the University of Notre Dame in 1887. (Courtesy Notre Dame Archives)

Super Bowl XLVIII  is bearing down on us now like a 300-pound linebacker plus Bruno Mars.  But my guest today, Susan Reyburn, is looking way past the Seahawks and Broncos, the trash talk and Bud Light commercials, to 400 years of American football history.  Yes, you heard right – 400 years.  They played football on the beach at Jamestown, she says.  Brought in the rules after the Civil War.  Saw two dozen players die on the field in 1909.  Integrated before baseball.  Blew up in the age of television.  This hour On Point:  400 years of American football history.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Susan Reyburn, writer and editor for the Library of Congress. Author of “Football Nation: Four Hundred Years of America’s Game.” Also co-author of “Baseball Americana,” “The Library of Congress World War II Companion” and author of “Women Who Dare: Amelia Earthart.”

Armen Keteyian, CBS News correspondent and lead correspondent for Showtime’s “60 Minutes Sports.” Co-author of “The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football.” (@armenketeyian)

From Tom’s Reading List

ESPN: Unionization may fail but not a failure — “To succeed in the formation of a union, the players must convince the National Labor Relations Board that they are employees. It will not be easy. In addition to the numerous courts that have ruled that injured athletes are not eligible for medical benefits automatically available to employees, the players will face assertions from Northwestern and the NCAA that they are ‘student-athletes,’ a category invented to avoid any suggestion of employment.”

Wall Street Journal: 11 Minutes Of Action — “In other words, if you tally up everything that happens between the time the ball is snapped and the play is whistled dead by the officials, there’s barely enough time to prepare a hard-boiled egg. In fact, the average telecast devotes 56% more time to showing replays. ”

International Business Times: Bonuses, Trademark Rights And Brand Value: What’s Really At Stake For The Players And The NFL?  — “The Super Bowl is nothing if not a game of superlatives. It’s often the most-watched television broadcast in any given year. It generates more tweets and it commands higher ad revenue than any other sporting event in the world. Calculating the average revenue from sponsorships, tickets and licensed merchandise, Forbes magazine in 2012 estimated the Super Bowl brand to be worth $470 million; no other game comes close.”

Read An Excerpt From “Football Nation: Four Hundred Years of America’s Game” by Susan Reyburn

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 2, 2016
A man walks on the rail tracks of a train station turned into a makeshift camp crowded by migrants and refugees, at the northern Greek border point of Idomeni, Greece, Friday, April 29, 2016. Many thousands of migrants remain at the Greek border with Macedonia, hoping that the border crossing will reopen, allowing them to move north into central Europe. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

A top former US diplomat says refugees and tribalism are pulling Europe apart and that the US needs to get involved- to help Europe by helping refugees.

May 2, 2016
ADVANCE FOR MONDAY, MAY 2, 2016 AND THEREAFTER - In this April 19, 2016 photo, Laurie Millan, a para-professional and tutor, works with a student during an after school tutoring session at San Francisco International High School, in San Francisco. While some districts in numerous states have discouraged migrant minors from Central America from enrolling in their schools, the school accommodated its youths by rewriting young-adult novels at a basic level to spark the newcomers' interest in reading.  (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Is grit the secret sauce that drives success? More important than both talent and intellect? We’re talking the power and limits of grit.

RECENT
SHOWS
Apr 29, 2016
Screengrab from the #MorethanMean video produced by Sarah Spain and Julie Dicaro. Scroll down to view the video.

Women pushing back. A video by two female sports reporters about online harassment goes viral.

 
Apr 29, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, joined by former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina waves during a rally in Indianapolis, Wednesday, April 27, 2016, when Cruz announced he has tapped Fiorina to serve as his running mate. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Trump and Hillary wins. Bernie lays off. Cruz chooses Carly. Beyonce drops “Lemonade.” Our weekly news roundtable goes beyond the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
‘Embedded’: How Violent Gangs Are Terrorizing El Salvador
Thursday, Apr 14, 2016

NPR’s Kelly McEvers on her reporting in El Salvador for the podcast Embedded, and how gang killings brought San Salvador’s bus service to a halt.

More »
Comment
 
That Cheap Dress On Facebook? It Isn't Worth It
Monday, Apr 11, 2016

Know those shockingly cheap clothes you see advertised on Facebook? There’s a catch.

More »
Comment
 
The Boston Globe Imagines — And Rejects — A President Trump Front Page
Monday, Apr 11, 2016

The Boston Globe editorial page imagines — and rejects — President Donald Trump.

More »
Comment