How Real were the Cougars? Crime and Deviance in the National Football League

Curtis A. Fogel


In 2003 ESPN premiered a new series titled Playmakers which provided a fi ctional account of life on and off the fi eld of professional football. Despite the high viewership ratings and television awards it received, the show was cancelled during the first season. Playmakers told the story of a fictional professional football team, the Cougars, from an unidentified American city. The show depicted various acts of crime and deviance in American football such as: injurious violence on the field, steroid use, painkiller use, illicit drug use, night club violence, domestic violence, homosexuality, and eating disorders. The NFL league offi ce claimed that the show was a gross misrepresentation of life in the NFL. This paper examines the real life events and issues in the NFL and reveals that Playmakers did not misrepresent professional football but rather, it cast an important critical light on many issues in professional sport and NFL football in particular.

Key words: American football; Television; Violence; Crime; Deviance

Résumé En 2003, L’ESPN la première d’une nouvelle série intitulée Playmakersqui ont fourni un compte rendu fi ctif de la vie sur et hors du terrain de football professionnel. Malgré les évaluations d'écoute élevés et des récompenses qu’il a reçues de la télévision, le spectacle a été annulé au cours de la première saison. Playmakers a raconté l’histoire d’une équipe professionnelle de football fi ctive, les Cougars, à partir d’une ville non identifi ée américaine. Le spectacle représenté divers actes de criminalité et de déviance dans le football canadien, tels que: la violence préjudiciable sur le terrain, l’utilisation de stéroïdes, de l’utilisation antalgique, la consommation de drogues illicites, la violence boîte de nuit, la violence domestique, l’homosexualité, et les troubles alimentaires. Le bureau de la ligue NFL a affirmé que le spectacle était une déformation grossière de la vie dans la NFL. Ce document examine les événements réels et les enjeux de la NFL et révèle que Playmakers n’a pas dénaturé le football professionnel, mais plutôt, il jette une lumière critique importante sur de nombreuses questions dans le sport professionnel et de la NFL du football en particulier.

Mots clés: Football Américain; Télévision; La violence; La criminalité; La déviance


American football; Television; Violence; Crime; Deviance



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Copyright (c) 2012 Curtis A. Fogel

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