The Christian Science Monitor

'Big Game' offers a provocative, warts-and-all portrait of the NFL

Next month, the National Football League kicks off its 99th season and, as usual, there is ample evidence to show the league never truly goes into hibernation, even if the Super Bowl in February is supposed to signal a retreat until team training camps resume in July. The NFL became the nation’s most popular sport in 1972, according to Gallup surveys, and hasn’t relinquished the title since.

But its ubiquity truly ramped up during the past two decades. Consider: The league’s 24-hour cable network launched in 2003. A year later, for the first time, the player combine, comprised of college prospects running around cones, lifting weights and showing off their

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