Synopses & Reviews
Dan Jenkins calls him the greatest quarterback who ever lived, college or pro. Slingin' Sammy Baugh, who played for TCU and the Washington Redskins, single-handedly revolutionized the game of football. While the pros still wore leather helmets and played the game more like rugby, Baugh's ability to throw the ball with rifle-like accuracy made the forward pass a strategic weapon, not a desperation heave. Like Babe Ruth, who changed the very perception of how baseball is played, Slingin' Sam transformed the notion of offense in football and how much yardage can be gained through the air. As the first modern quarterback, Baugh led the Redskins to five title games and two NFL championships, while leading the league in passing six times--a record that endures to this day--and in punting four times. In 1943, the triple-threat Baugh also scored a triple crown when he led the league in passing, punting, and interceptions.
Slingin' Sam is the first major biography of this legendary quarterback, one of the first inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Joe Holley traces the whole arc of Baugh's life (1914-2008), from his small-town Texas roots to his college ball success as an All-American at TCU, his brief flirtation with professional baseball, and his stellar career with the Washington Redskins (1937-1952), as well as his later career coaching the New York Titans and Houston Oilers and ranching in West Texas. Through Holley's vivid descriptions of close-fought games, Baugh comes alive both as the consummate all-around athlete who could play every minute of every game, on both offense and defense, and as an all-around good guy.
The Game before the Money
recounts the National Football Leagueand#8217;s story and the evolution of Americaand#8217;s most popular sport in the vivid words of men who built the NFL. This unprecedented look at football history from the playersand#8217; perspective combines the stories of icons such as Frank Gifford and Bart Starr with those of journeymen who shared the huddle with Johnny Unitas and rallied to halftime speeches from legendary coaches Vince Lombardi and George Halas. Featuring players from the 1930s through the 1970s, these personal accounts trace professional football in its journey from post-barnstorming days through the first two decades of the Super Bowl.
The Game before the Money offers backstories to classic games and the men who made history in them before multi-million dollar contracts. Insights into life in the NFL come from those most capable of providing it, NFL legends themselves. Forty former players open windows onto their own lives, their triumphs and tragedies, and the hardship and the glory that make them the people they are both on and off the field.
chronicles the life and times of the architect of the modern National Football League, Pete Rozelle, who transformed football into arguably the most successful sports league in the world. While he was never considered a serious candidate for the job of NFL commissioner early on, the position ultimately catapulted Rozelle into the role through which he transformed the NFL and became a trailblazer for all sports in the second half of the twentieth century. When he became commissioner in 1960, the league had twelve teams playing to half-empty stadiums and was mired in an outdated business model. Rozelle introduced revenue and television profit sharing to guarantee the success of small-market teams and brought every NFL game to national television.
Rozelles monumental achievements include the introduction of the Super Bowl in the 60s followed by the NFLs most rapid expansion and the establishment of Monday Night Football. The 80s saw Rozelle presiding over drug scandals, labor struggles, and the leagues legal battles with team owners such as Oaklands Al Davis, who famously won a lawsuit to move his Raiders to Los Angeles.
Jerry Izenberg chronicles the iconic life of Rozelle, who revolutionized the culture of sports in America and is responsible for turning the NFL into the preeminent sports league in the world.
On any given workday, any little thing might send Steve Smith’s thoughts spinning back to Saturday—last Saturday, Saturday two weeks ago, Saturday two years ago, back into the thrilling minutiae of game day—until reality reminds him: this is not how well-adjusted adults act. Steve Smith is not a well-adjusted adult. He’s a Nebraska football fan, and this is his rollicking account of what it’s like to be one of those legendary enthusiasts whose passion for the Cornhuskers is at once irresistible and hilarious.
A journey into an obsessed Nebraska fan’s soul, Forever Red immerses readers in the mad, mad world of Husker football fandom—where wearing the scarlet-and-cream Huskers gear has its own peculiar rules; where displaced followers act as the program’s ambassadors, finding Husker subculture beyond the pale; and where the team’s performance can barely keep pace with its followers’ expectations but sometimes exceeds their wildest dreams.
Revised, updated, and expanded from the 2005 edition, Smith’s story of thirty-plus years following the team takes readers back to memorable game moments from 1980 up through the roller-coaster ride of recent years. Blending wit and insight, Smith offers a window on the world to the uninitiated and the fellow fanatic alike where fantasy and football meet, where dreams of glory and gritty gridiron realities forever join.
About the Author
Jerry Izenberg is a sports columnist emeritus for the Newark Star-Ledger
and is the author of several books, including Through My Eyes: A Sports Writers 58-Year Journey
. He won the Red Smith Award from the Associated Press Sports Editors and was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame in 2000. David Stern is former commissioner of the National Basketball Association.