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Over 50 choice, diverse pieces on football--arranged alphabetically by authors (as in Charles Einstein's similar The Fireside Book of Baseball) for maximum browsability and no-argument. Old pro Benny Friedman reminisces about the early days; Alex Karras makes sport of being creamed by Big Daddy Lipscomb; Marion Motley painfully recalls breaking football's color bar. Yearn to relive that ""greatest"" game? Try Dave Anderson on the 1950 NFL wind-up between the Rams and Browns--or Jack Mann on the 1958 Colts-Giants sudden-death overtime. Heywood Hale Broun laments pro football's marriage to TV--while Hunter Thompson opts for the set over the 50-yard line. Writer George Plimpton attempts to play football; Dan Jenkins' fictional running back Billy Clyde Puckett tries his hand at writing. Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry wax reverent; not so Pete Gent (""Contract negotiations were honorless, distasteful, and totally frightening experiences"") or Larry Merchant (Super Bowl V ""was a whipped cream pie in the face of the pretentious boobs dedicated to making the NFL an eternal flame of truth""). From safety Jack Tatum's bragging (""I had more knockouts than Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali combined""), and subsequent paralyzing of Darryl Stingley, readers can draw their own conclusions about excessive violence. For novelty, see Mrs. Charlie Connerly's piece on booing (excerpted from her book Backseat Quarterback) or Ogden Nash's poem to the Namath-beaten Colts. Statistics buffs can even wrestle with articles by David Shapiro and Paul Zimmerman. Like a seasoned quarterback, Thorn uses his personnel and field to avoiding keying on one man or team or era. The result is an enjoyable instant replay of nearly a century of football--and a worthy companion to Einstein's best-of-baseball.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1982
Publisher: Scribners