What is the whitest NFL team

American football: Old white throwers


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It is a western script of the sport, a thoroughly American storyline that is performed in the semi-final play-off of the National Football League (NFL): The aging hero pulls himself up again to defend his terrain and the To silence doubters for good: "You say it is no longer enough? We want to see that." This is exactly how the loyal supporters of Donald Trump would have liked to usher in a second term of office for their Savior.

Johannes Ehrmann

lives as a journalist and writer in Berlin. Most recently he published the book at Tropen Verlag together with ex-professional footballer Andreas Buck Turbo: My race against the soccer business. In his podcast The Americanist he regularly discusses topics from US history, politics and culture with Stanford professor Mike Baiocchi.

When NFL quarterback Tom Brady competes with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers this Sunday evening, it will be a showdown of two old sheriffs, heroes of a bygone era. Brady, who some call the greatest quarterback of all time, is the biblical athlete age of 43, and Rodgers is no longer young for the sport at 37. An old white man will definitely lead his team into the Superbowl, the remaining national high mass after four years of Trump.

The duel is therefore the logical consequence of the distorted demographics of a league that has long consisted of 70 percent black athletes, but whose most important position in 70 percent of the teams is still occupied by quite old white men. In the quarterfinals last Sunday, Brady beat Drew Brees of the News Orleans Saints; Brees is 42. The list goes on.

The only question is whether this demography is still distorted if one takes the national sport as the signature of a society that still ticks exactly as it is presented here. Let's not kid ourselves: Even the supposedly forward-looking Democrats couldn't think of anything better than dragging a very visible 77-year-old into the national arena in Joe Biden. When he invokes the unity of the nation, it always resonates (without being blamed for this himself): It is, if at all, to be found in the old white man, anything else would be too great a provocation for the America of the old white men .

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A deeply patriarchal crisis has opened up, in the White House as well as in the NFL, and the traditional position of power is in a way catching up with itself: as long as white, male rule prevails, it exaggerates itself and makes other things unthinkable. Even Barack Obama could do little to change that: "What if we were wrong?", he asked forebodingly at the end of his term of office. Yes, what if the black man in the highest office had only produced Trumpism and its consequences as a defensive reaction?

American football, the US national sport with by far the greatest charisma, could now be the scene of an emphatic change - and it has hardly been so to date, as it needs the quarterback. If football is not dissimilar to chess, as it is often said, then the quarterback is undoubtedly the key figure of this game, visible from afar and difficult to move in the center of the action, carefully protected and cherished by countless lackeys: a king among equals. In stoic dignity, so the expectation demands, he has to toss ball after ball down the field, to a friend or even to an enemy, who cares? But above all, always with a grimly determined look - always everything under control - also in the breaks in the focus of the cameras, the general's coat warming over the armor. A cliché? Yes, a lived one!