“Together We Make Football” and Community

When I think about the NFL, or football in general, my mind immediately goes to large men with helmets running into each other; granted, I am not a big sports fan.  Most people’s minds wouldn’t imagine a little girl as the face of a major NFL ad campaign.  However, tiny Samantha Gordon, a ten-year-old pee-wee football player from Utah, is featured on the first commercial of the NFL’s “Together We Make Football” campaign.

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“Together We Make Football” is a contest where football fans of all ages, shapes and sizes are encouraged to share their stories of how football impacts their lives and what it means to them.  The contest narrows down to ten finalists, with five invited to take part in Super Bowl XLVIII festivities.  These stories can be in video, picture or story form and are posted to the “Together We Make Football” website.  The winners are chosen by a panel of judges, and the site’s visitors are invited to “like” the different posts; although these likes don’t have any affect on the contest winners.

So how can I, someone so inexperienced in all things NFL, take an interest in “Together We Make Football?”  By applying it to what I know.  This campaign is a perfect example of how subcultures form and become such tight-knit communities.  The Social Identity Theory of communication states that people have many different versions of themselves depending on the groups, or subcultures, they belong to.  Different social situations are what drive these separate “selves” to behave in certain ways.  The title alone explains why “Together We Make Football” exemplifies this theory.  Defining fans of football as a “we” takes thousands of people and brings them together into a single unit.

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Social Identity Theory goes further, saying that people belonging to one group tend to favor others within the group at the expense of others on the outside.  This holds true in the NFL regarding team rivalries in which fans become passionately involved.  Rivalries are like a double-edged sword, bringing together fans of the same team while creating tension with the fans of the opposing team.

“Together We Make Football” reminds us that all fans are the same.  Ultimately, the goal is for their favorite team to win.  The campaign reminds us that all fans have the same goal, though it might be for different teams.  It allows people to share why they love the game so much, which can bridge the gap between rivals.  The different fan groups can become a single football-loving “we” because of the “Together We Make Football” campaign.

– Maggie Dowicyan

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17 thoughts on ““Together We Make Football” and Community

  1. I love this post because it completely embodies my identity as a football fan. Growing up in Philadelphia, I learned to love the teams and the tokens that represent Philly pride. I can only name a hand full of Eagles, Flyers, or Phillies players but I stand by my team despite my ignorance. In my elementary school we would actually have to sing the Eagles’ fight song after the Pledge of Allegiance every morning during the NFL season. Football in this country is way more than a sport; it is a common ground upon which we choose to build positive or negative relationships.

  2. I, too, am not a sports fanatic– I support the teams from my home state and I have no problem getting invested in a game, but I couldn’t name every player and their position. Does that mean I’m not a true fan? I’m sure some people would shout “YES” as they put on their favorite players jersey and update their fantasy team (just kidding– fantasy football is not an easy undertaking and I respect the effort that goes into it!). However, the NFL’s new “Together We Make Football” campaign would have me believing that I certainly can be a part of this subculture, and in fact, I am an important part of the group!
    Although I won’t be entering the contest anytime soon, by simply rooting for a team I become a part of the “in-group”. I am a Bears fan, so naturally I hate the Packers, so I can identify with yet another group, an “us-against-them” subculture. As you said, by using the word “we”, the campaign is making football both inclusive and exclusive at the same time, which is an attractive concept. It’s interesting to see the NFL market not only to die-hard fans who are already invested in their programming, but to anyone who has cheered for a team or jeered against a rival.

  3. I think these type of campaigns are really well done because of the way it brings people together as a whole and creates hype for the product (NFL in this case). By having a prize as big as a Superbowl experience, there is a lot of hype created and a lot of talk going around about the competition on all platforms which raises the profile of the NFL. I also really like the slogan for the campaign, like said perviously, the “we” makes you feel like you are part of NFL, but also makes you feel like your in a kind of exclusive group at the same time and makes it feel like the advert is talking directly to you. I’m really excited to see this campaign grow and I actually went to the website to have a look at the competition after reading this- so it must be a good campaign!

  4. This post really jumped out to me as it is comparing the different kinds of football fans that fall into the category “we the fans of the NFL”. These fans can come in all shapes and sizes such as the 350lb offensive linemen involved in the games or the 65lb 10 year old girl who is representing the NFL brand in their recent commercials. The comparison between different types of fans helps me to realize how diverse football fans really are. The sport of football has always had a large impact in my life as we played and watched the sport as a family during my childhood and to this day.

    The add “Together We Make Football” makes everyone watching feel as if they are a part of the collective that is the NFL. In a sense we are all a part of the NFL. Without each of us rambunctiously cheering on our favorite teams and buying tickets the NFL would no longer exist. This advertisement tries to instill a pride in each fan that we are a part of something bigger than us. The great and mighty NFL.

  5. I am glad you all agree with and can relate to this post! I have actually become more invested in football since writing it. That’s another way the “Together We Make Football” campaign works I guess. Now I am not only invested in seeing how the campaign plays out, but I am hoping that maybe someday I can take part in it. The campaign has inspired me to transition from the “them” (non-football fans) to the “we” of football fanatics around the US!

  6. I love this post because in my mind whenever I think of football I think of fans getting rowdy and drinking beer and screaming at the TV whilst eating fast food and other junk. This completely changes that outlook to one of an entire family sitting down together and enjoying football for the sport that it is. This makes us see that fathers can bond with sons over football and people can share stories of how they bond with their families and rituals that they do. This could be every Sunday, sitting down as a family and supporting your team or just watching any game that’s on TV.

  7. For the past few weeks every saturday and sunday in my household football is on. My husband is a fairly big sports fan, and I have no choice but to join him in the festivities. Although I may not understand all of the rules and regulations, I can appreciate the game and share in the passion that the fans love. I have grown up with the NFL all of my life and have some of the best memories with family members & friends while watching sporting events. I think the NFL got it right when launching this campaign, they are using ethos to gain our attention and are showing that football is not just for the guys anymore.

  8. The NFL really is bigger than just two teams trying to kill each other over a leather ball. What makes a football game a football game? The “Together We Make Football” campaign invites fans of all ages to share their experiences with the game that we have come to love so much. This embodies why I think sports impact us at so many different levels. It gives us an opportunity to be a part of something we unknowingly are a part of. A huge sports team collective that somehow connects your neighbor or fellow fan who lives thousands of miles away. Sports are truly special in that way and “Together” we are all impacted by them.

  9. This blog really hit home for me because although I am not a sports fanatic myself, I have little ones in my family who even at six years old seem to live for the Miami Dolphins. I really appreciate the information on the actual contest because I was able to pass on the information to my sister so that maybe my little nephew can take part in it. Like I said before, I am not a big fan of football but when the NFL invites all types of audiences into their fan group, it makes me gain respect for the organization.

  10. This was a well done marketing move by the NFL. It not only unifies the football community but also considers the importance of family and the associated get together that occur Sunday afternoon. It depicts the NFL as a family of athletes and fans who all want the same thing, to win. It reminds me of last year’s NBA slogan, Bigger Than Basketball. A lot of times it was about some philanthropy that a player or team was a part of but often just about the unity of the NBA community. Making the people buy into and share in a story is a beautifully perfect move by the marketing executives to feel that the sport is deeper than it is. Unity and commitment is the center piece of these campaigns and are successful at bringing in people who are not avid sport fans.

  11. This post really stood out to me because I am the type of girl who loves football and seeing how the NFL is trying to get all groups of people involved in their organization just makes me love football even more. I think the NFL is really attempting to reach out to all markets, such as children, in order to broaden their spectrum. This is giving the smallest fan a chance to voice his or her opinion. It is really true that communities of people can form when finding a common interest.
    -Danielle Salas

  12. Going though most of the blog post recently posted on this website, this blog really stood out to me. Being as it football season right now, my whole house is filled with crazy loving football fans, but we all love different teams. I thought that the way you mentioned the Social Identity theory was a great way to show how football fans are merely all the same people. That when our favorite teams battle against our rivals, or even another team that is the favorite of a roommate in my house, at first it is complete hatred and disliking, but then it is respect and gratitude because we are both fans, and regardless of the win or loss, we still had fun watching and rooting for our team. This blog really made me realize that Sunday’s really bring all people together to watch football, and despite our likings for different teams, were all fans doing the same thing and cheering on our team.

  13. I love this post and the idea behind it! I have grown up around football and my entire family will get together to watch any big game that is on. NFL, and football in general, is a huge part of American culture, whether or not you actually follow it. The NFL did a great job on making football relate to anyone just by using emotional stories, pictures, and videos. Almost anyone can relate to a story with emotion and, therefore, this can increase participation and popularity for the “Together We Make Football” contest. Additionally, because it focuses on emotion, it stays away from the stereotypes that are given to football. These stereotypes range from the hostility of fans of the sport, to the players being overly-aggressive, “meat-heads.” Because the stereotypes are erased, viewers and contest judges can actually see the real and raw story behind the photo, etc… I respect the NFL organization even more now because of this campaign and plan to keep following it.

  14. I am a huge sports fan, but I love what this blog has to say about it all. I am one of the most hardcore fans when it comes to my team and love talking trash. I’ll wear my jersey all day and connect myself with my team and my team’s fans. At the end of the day, I love the sport itself. Even if my teams were to never have been established, my love for the game wouldn’t change. It is much more encouraging and beneficial to go out and spend a day with all types of fans and enjoy the moment rather than talk trash and sulk after your team loses. NFL has done a fantastic job getting everyone involved, not just men, with this campaign.

  15. The slogan, “Together We Make Football” is extremely interesting to me. It is saying that football is not just the players and coaches that make up the NFL, but includes the fans of football. This slogan connects with fans and deepens the NFL brand by creating multiple narratives that people can relate to. “Together We Make Football” is selling the NFL experience and encourages fans to socially construct what football means to the them.

  16. This post really jumped out at me because of how football has impacted my life. I grew up watching football because of my dad. My dad is a huge Dallas Cowboys fan, as am I. When we first started to watch games together it was no fun for me. I would retreat to my room because I was so bored, but then I began to value the time together. It was a solid four hours that I was guaranteed to spend with just my dad and I. So football became important to me. Even now at school I will watch the Cowboys play and text my dad during the game.

    “Together We Make Football” shows that there are other things besides winning and loosing when it comes to football. It brings people together and forms bonds. The NFL is doing a great job to reach all types of audiences.

  17. I love football because it was all we had for along time, we would go to church and rush home to watch our favorite teams. It also gave us the children and the grandparents and uncles something to do together. Thanks so much for everything. I am now56 years old and watch it with my grandchildren.

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