MacCambridge's sweeping history of pro football starts just before WWII, when the National Football League was still largely a regional organization, and ends with Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction at Super Bowl XXXVIII. Though there are plenty of vivid descriptions of remarkable games, what sets this chronicle apart from a slew of other recent football books is the depth and breadth of its stories about players, coaches and owners. The centerpiece of this personal approach is the extensive portrait of the career of Pete Rozelle, who became the NFL's commissioner at 33 and initiated many of the measures that ensured the sport's cultural ascendancy, including a television deal that distributed revenue equally among all teams. MacCambridge (The Franchise: A History of Sports Illustrated Magazine) zeroes in on two sideline projects that might have made the greatest difference in football's rise over baseball: NFL Properties, which brought a consistent standard of excellence to fan paraphernalia; and NFL Films, which solidified the myth of the game as an epic struggle through the instantly recognizable narration of John Facenda. MacCambridge also considers the sport's track record regarding race relations, noting that the NFL's first black players were on the field months before Jackie Robinson, while highlighting the roles played by great African-American athletes like Paul Younger and Jim Brown. Though some fans may be disappointed that their favorite teams and players aren't extensively covered, this magisterial history is a fitting acknowledgment of the sport's legacy.
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*Starred Review* Football is the professional sport of choice in America today, evidenced by the fact that its championship game, the Super Bowl, is an undeclared national holiday. MacCambridge, author of the extraordinarily informative and very entertaining The Franchise: A History of Sports Illustrated (1997), picks up the struggling National Football League immediately after World War II, when the team owners were a ragtag collection of squabbling entrepreneurs. The owners pulled together somewhat to squash a rival league and usurp its best team, the Cleveland Browns, but the NFL's ascendancy really began in the 1950s, coinciding with the growth of television. MacCambridge tracks the history in a thoroughly readable narrative, devoting plenty of space to the 1958 overtime championship game between the Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants--a game that mesmerized a national television audience and created the momentum that would carry the league--under the visionary leadership of commissioner Pete Rozelle--through the merger with another rival, the American Football League, and the start of the Super Bowl phenomenon. MacCambridge also offers revealing profiles of the front-office figures who played key roles in the growth of the league--Rozelle, Paul Brown, Al Davis, and Lamar Hunt--as well as gleaning the insights of former players and coaches such as Jim Brown, Bill Walsh, and John Madden. This is a classy, carefully researched, and very enlightening overview of a uniquely American sports enterprise. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Let me start by saying this is a great book that I could not put down. The discussion of the earlier, struggling years of the NFL is fascinating and the war with the AFL was... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Marc W. Schneider
Great history of the NFL with really detailed facts. It reads like a text book at times and makes you wonder if they'll be a pop quiz after wards. Read morePublished 3 months ago by andrew platt
I read this during the offseason in the middle of a football history binge. I was ravenous for any info on th history of the NFL. This book delivered. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Having just finished Michael MacCambridge’s “America’s Game,” I am compelled to write a review. Rarely have I read a book that is so comprehensive and painstakingly researched as... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Bill Bekkala
This is a story not so much about the big stars as about the folks that organized the enterprise. Very readable and keeps your interest.Published 5 months ago by Pikoush
Excellent service. I am very pleased with this purchase. Thank you.Published 7 months ago by Top Cat
the best football book I have every read. Am a book reader of non fiction. I have a nice collection of sports books. Read morePublished 7 months ago by steve allison