THEY'RE PLAYING MY GAME by Hank with Lou Sahadi Stram


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An above-average sports bio of interest mainly for the modest amount of inside information it provides on the American Football League's early years. Though long gone from the gridiron, Stram still ranks among the most innovative coaches to have worked in the pro game. Following a lengthy apprenticeship at the college level, he signed on with Lamar Hunt's start-up club in Dallas at age 34. Despite a championship season in its third year, the franchise was moved to Kansas City (as the Chiefs) to avoid head-to-head competition with the NFL Cowboys. In the heartland, Strata enjoyed consistent success over a lengthy span. Vince Lombardi's Packers crushed his ex-Texans in Super Bowl I, but he returned three years later to whip the Vikings in the last inter-league contest before the AFL/NFL merger. Stram developed razzle-dazzle passing formations that have subseqently been adopted by most professional squads and remain an offensive staple to this day. Sufficiently soft-spoken to be the first (and only) pro football coach ever wired for sound on the sidelines, Stram has few unkind words for anyone in his lickety-split narrative. He is, though, no great fan of the bottom-liners who forced him out of KC in the mid-1970's (despite a 10-year contract). Nor does Stram miss many chances to note that the then-wealthy Hunt seldom carried cash, meaning his less affluent guests or subordinates usually picked up any tabs. Wisely, Stram does not dwell on his second career as a broadcaster after being sacked in Kansas City. While short on personal detail, Stram's memoir does provide a faithful if laconic record of his contributions to an upstart sports enterprise. In brief, then, an incomplete life story with enough football material to interest undemanding fans and, perhaps, nostalgia buffs.

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 1986
Publisher: Morrow