IRON MEN: Bucko, Crazylegs, and the Boys Recall the Golden Days of Professional Football by Stuart Leuthner

IRON MEN: Bucko, Crazylegs, and the Boys Recall the Golden Days of Professional Football

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Football nostalgia--in the form of oral history--chronicling the early days of pro football prior to the inception of megamoney and megabodies; by the author of another nostalgia book, The Railroaders (1982). Nostalgia is not as ingrained to the game of football as it is, say, to baseball, where it is a cottage industry. The author cites a TV announcer who recently compared a runner's style with that of Bronco Nagurski, drawing a blank from his cohort, who asked, ""Who?"" Leuthner ponders: ""Can you imagine Joe Garagiola asking, 'Who's Lou Gehrig?'"" So the author tries to correct this lack by rolling the tapes for a procession of pro greats, including Andy Robustelli, Otto Graham, Edward LeBaron, George Summerall, ""Crazylegs"" Hirsch, Marion Motley--even throwing in a few nonplayers, including a representative tan, a Washington Redskins band member, and Iongtime official Stan Javie. Decrying the fact that today's players ""are starting to look like something out of Rollerball,"" the author harkens back to a time when men were men and guys like ""Bucko"" Kilroy didn't even wear pads. There are some laments (Otto Graham seems embittered by the monetary turn taken by sports today) and some wonder (ex-Steelers guard Dale Dodrill is amazed at how current players expect equal time in retorting to their coaches). But most of all, there is sentimentality here for an era when, since pro football players were looked on as ""athletic bums who couldn't get any other kind of work"" (Nicholas Storich), players were poorly rewarded but played for the love of the game. A welcome antidote for our age of glitz and hype.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1988
Publisher: Doubleday