This question has puzzled a lot of people without being able to give an explanation. Let’s start from the beginning.
American football wasn’t always the number one sport in terms of revenues and viewership in the US. In the 1920s and 1930s football was popular and grew in colleges, mostly in small towns, where teams like Southband Indiana thrived. In the 1960s and 1970s football (before 1960s was 2nd and 3rd sport in revenues and viewership in the US) started to be the dominating force in the US sports entertainment. Most experts say that this happened because of TV. Football as a sport is full of stoppages, making it ideal for commercials. Also football, from its nature, has what is called dramatic crisis that makes you want to see what happens next in the game.
Another reason that makes football successful in the USA is the fact that the sport combines elements of ballet and war. There are big guys putting on their helmets and go out to do battle, while being accompanied by epic energetic music, even the words that they are used are borrowed from war like the long pass, which is called “bomb”. Except from elements of war, it also has elements of ballet, like the sideline catch or the sprint that the players do while avoiding the opponent defenders.
A third reason is the American version of capitalism. Capitalism is a culture of big houses, big cars, big salaries, huge companies and everything done big in general. American football and capitalism share this vision of things done big, for example there are huge stadiums and players with giant bodies. The American culture is build like that, you can become Bill Gates or homeless there is nothing in between and this happens also in the American football.
A final reason is the nostalgia of masculinity. Nowadays men do the dishes, change dippers, respect women’s rights and many more, something that didn’t happen before and this creates a nostalgia for an older more patriarchal society, in which gender roles were more defined. This is expressed through football, where men are the only protagonists of the game and women are only on the sidelines as cheerleaders only for men to look at.
All these reasons brings us to question will American football continue to grow in the future or it will decline?
Check also an extension of this article American Football and its Future