Win one for the gipper: fetish for the gridiron

Win one for the Gipper. The advertising costs $3 million for a thirty second spot. Its deep in the red-zone of marketing. ….If Ronald Reagan as the Gipper was the symbol for a sport based on sportsmanship, morality and Christianity, today’s game, at the pro level is plagued by brutality, a culture of violence and a level of profitability that may be as unsustainable as the Soviet Union was that Reagan is credited with unraveling. Is the NFL the “evil empire” and a symbol of the American way of life. The game itself is at a point where validated evidence seems to indicate grave long-term consequences of brain injuries incurred on the field. The problem is the culture of violence is the game’s biggest attraction. Like bullfighting and Roman gladiators we are in the heart of Guy Debord’s “Society of the Spectacle” with the NFL.

“The commodity can be understood in its undistorted essence only when it becomes the universal category of society as a whole. Only in this context does the reification produced by commodity relations assume decisive importance both for the objective evolution of society and for the attitudes that people adopt toward it, as it subjugates their consciousness to the forms in which this reification finds expression. . . . As labor is increasingly rationalized and mechanized, this subjugation is reinforced by the fact that people’s activity becomes less and less active and more and more contemplative.” —Lukács,--- read more: image:

Guy Debord :  35.In the spectacle’s basic practice of incorporating into itself all the fluid aspects of human activity so as to possess them in a congealed form, and of inverting living values into purely abstract values, we recognize our old enemy the commodity, which seems at first glance so trivial and obvious, yet which is actually so complex and full of metaphysical subtleties.

36.The fetishism of the commodity — the domination of society by “intangible as well as tangible things” — attains its ultimate fulfillment in the spectacle, where the real world is replaced by a selection of images which are projected above it, yet which at the same time succeed in making themselves regarded as the epitome of reality.

37.The world at once present and absent that the spectacle holds up to view is the world of the commodity dominating all living experience. The world of the commodity is thus shown for what it is, because its development is identical to people’s estrangement from each other and from everything they produce….Read More:

Knute Rockne:
Well, boys … I haven’t a thing to say.
Played a great game…all of you. Great game.
(He tries to smile.)
I guess we just can’t expect to win ‘em all.
(Rockne pauses and says quietly.)
I’m going to tell you something I’ve kept to myself for years –
None of you ever knew George Gipp.
It was long before your time.
But you know what a tradition he is at Notre Dame…
(There is gentle, faraway look in his eyes as he recalls the boy’s words.)…

"Reagan As ''The Gipper'': Reagan became a famous actor, and in the "Knute Rockne All American" he gained his nick-name "The Gipper". (Photo Credit: Bettmann/CORBIS)" read more:

Much of the appeal of the game is based on crude thrills and episodes of  almost Biblical dimension that hark back to somewhere on the field between the end of barbarism but before civilization gained a toe-hold. So the game is a paradox; Roethlisberger gets suspended four games for accused rape, Ray Lewis beats a murder charge. The game is both for the caveman and against them. But, since a caveman is not really a bona-fide man, he is also a commodity. Also,  many Americans see their national identity reflected in the game and in many ways the championship team tells a story about what it means to be American. Again there are, as is typically American, contrasts between Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning, a Ray Lewis and so on. The cross bewteen the hard working, honest role model and the narcissistic basically emasculated characters dependent on paternalistic relationships that also make up the structure of the football industry and much of the market economy.

..And the last thing he said to me — “Rock,” he said -
“sometime, when the team is up against it — and the
breaks are beating the boys — tell them to go out there
with all they got and win just one for the Gipper…
(Knute’s eyes become misty and his voice is unsteady as he finishes.)
I don’t know where I’ll be then, Rock”, he said – “but
I’ll know about it – and I’ll be happy.”

(There is a hushed stillness as Rockne and the crowd of boys look at each other. In the midst of this tense silence,
Rockne quietly says “Alright,” to the men beside him, and his chair is wheeled slowly out of the dressing room.)

"The 1940 movie Knute Rockne All American starring Pat O'Brien and a very youthful Ronald Regan has brief real life cameo appearances by football legends Alonzo Stagg, 'Pop' Warner, Howard Jones, and Bill Spaulding. Also keep an eye out for a remarkably older heavier 1940 Jim Thorpe 1888-1953 as he very briefly sticks his head in the locker room to let the team know it's time to come back out for the second half. The scene that St

is in, involves a meeting of those top football coaches in which the moral character of football is defended by a rousing speech from Rockne. In the scene Stagg sits at a table, and as I recall he stiffly says a few lines and later stands to applaud Rockne at the end of his speech."... Read More:

…A Player:
Well, what are we waiting for?

With a single roar, the players throw off their blankets and rush through the doorway…

We expect of our star football players, ignorant lugs they may be, to be redeemers of the professional game, and at the same time unassuming heroes who are unchanged or perhaps oblivious to the celebrity status they both enjoy, abhor, or are addicted to as economic vehicle. Its a cardboard cut-out ideal. The perfect Ben Roethlisberger arrives for the weekly match dressed in a well-tailored classic suit, and pauses politely for autographs and chatting with the press, before changing into a violent monster on the field. There is a dual nature that reflects America as a beacon of light, a world leader in values, and that of a harsh, new world, a new frontier to be tamed, and subjugated by force. National identity is in part a well-knitted myth; a bit of fact and a lot of the way we like to believe we are. Like in most of the food products advertised during the game, there is some real food in the recipe, …

"In this Dec. 23, 1968 file photo, Oakland Raiders coach John Rauch, right, celebrates with Dave Kocourek (88) after the Raiders beat the Kansas City Chiefs 41-6 to advance to the American Football League championship." read more:


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So how did the saying come about? Well, there’s the sad part of the story. It seems that Gipp caught a throat infection during one of his final football games at Notre Dame. He died a few weeks later at the age of 25. Just before his death, he told Coach Rockne, “Some time, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys – tell them to go in there with all they’ve got and win just one for the Gipper. I don’t know where I’ll be then, Rock. But I’ll know about it, and I’ll be happy.”

This deathbed request and the legendary pep talk it provided eight years later is chronicled in the motion picture, Knute Rockne: All American. That’s where Ronald Reagan comes in. He played the Gipper in the 1940 film.

The actually phrase, “That one was for the Gipper,” was supposedly uttered by halfback Jack Chevigny immediately after he vaulted for a one-yard touchdown in the 1928 Notre Dame victory inspired by Rockne’s recounting of Gipp’s request. Read More:

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