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Give It To Steve! (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Will Bunch
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $1.99

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Book Description

On the morning of December 19, 1948, Philadelphia, basking in the glow of post-war optimism and shrouded in the black smoke of booming factories, awoke to gridiron dreams of a first-ever NFL championship for its long-suffering Eagles – and the first flakes of a raging blizzard. And as the 1:30 p.m. kickoff for pro football’s title tilt between the Eagles and the Chicago Cardinals drew closer and eight inches of snow piled up on the rigid turf of Shibe Park, there was a huge problem: The Eagles’ superstar running back Steve Van Buren was nowhere to be found. “Give It To Steve!” tells the remarkable story of how pro football’s “Greatest Generation” of blue-collar, combat-hardened Everymen pulled off the game they remember as “The Blizzard Bowl.” It was the last NFL championship game in leather helmets and the first on national TV – in a bygone era before the Roman-numeraled orgy of the Super Bowl, when the NFL was still man enough to play in the snow, even if the players themselves had to clear the field. The story follows the unlikely odyssey of Van Buren -- whose slashing style revolutionized pro football – from an obscure Caribbean island to a snow-obliterated end zone, helped by his unbelievable dash on old-fashioned trolleys and a subway just to get to the game. The saga concludes with a poignant epilogue – the difficult medical price that Van Buren and other vets of the leather-helmet era have paid for their years of smash-mouthed football glory.

Will Bunch is senior writer for the Philadelphia Daily News, where he writes the popular blog Attytood. He shared the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for spot news reporting in 1992 when he was at New York Newsday. His books include Jukebox America: Down Backstreets and Blue Highways in Search of the Country’s Greatest Jukebox; The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama; and Tear Down This Myth: The Right-Wing Distortion of the Reagan Legacy. His first Amazon Kindle Single was October 1, 2011: The Battle of the Brooklyn Bridge. His articles have also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, American Journalism Review, and elsewhere. He lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with his family. Follow on Twitter: @Will_Bunch .

Editorial Reviews Review

Based on exclusive access to the man who scored the game-winning touchdown, Will Bunch tells the remarkable story of the 1948 NFL Championship game, a battle between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Chicago Cardinals waged during a blizzard. A rematch of the previous year's championship game, which the Eagles lost on a snow-covered Chicago field, the game was nearly canceled when inch upon inch of snow blanketed Philly's Shibe Park. But the teams insisted on playing, even though Eagles star running back, Steve Van Buren, had to ride trolleys and buses and trudge through snow drifts to reach the stadium. Though the game was a thriller--won on a fourth-quarter Van Buren run, breaking a 0-0 tie--this is as much a story about football in the aftermath of World War II and an ode to the scrappy veterans who helped bring the game into the modern era. It was the first televised championship game, and Bunch flushes out his story with fun asides and arcana, like the history of the plastic helmet and the backstories of the ethnic and working-class players, many of whom held jobs and played ball on the weekends. It's a worthy trip back in time, to the earlier, simpler days of NFL football. --Neal Thompson

From AudioFile

Product Details

  • File Size: 161 KB
  • Print Length: 70 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0073NPOR6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #470,253 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
One of the storied professional football games in the history of the NFL was played on my birthday in 1948. I was only 12, so I missed it at the time, but I feel like I have lived through it as a result of reading "Give it to Steve." When a fan thinks of early championship games, he or she (yes, there are women fans) often goes back to the games that were played in serious, pre-global-warming weather. There was the tennis-shoe game on ice in Chicago in 1947, the first sudden-death overtime in 1958--which is where I came in as a fan--, and in 1948 in Philadelphia, the "blizzard bowl," featuring hall-of-famer Steve Van Buren. In "Give It to Steve," Will Bunch focuses to some degree on Van Buren's difficulties getting to the game and his starring role after arriving, but he also tells the stories of many of the fans who were there on that day when some of the fans could not see the field for the snow. You also get to meet Steve's family and even Van Buren himself, and learn about some of the characters who played pro ball in the early days of the NFL. It is a great read and a real bargain at $1.99.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In the book "Give It to Steve" Give It To Steve! (Kindle Single) author Will Bunch brilliantly recreates the story of the 1948 championship NFL game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Chicago Cardinals, the worst weather championship game in NFL history, the first to be nationally televised, and the last to be played in leather helmets. Coach Earle "Greasy" Neale, known for his great coaching instincts and an early promoter of the shotgun formation, was against playing the championship game on that snowy December day that nearly paralyzed Philadelphia and covered the field at Shibe Park in North Philadelphia with such a heavy amount of the white stuff that it would take ground workers, team members, and even fans some very heavy labor and much time to clear the field for play. A memorable quote from one of the players, George Savitsky, summed up the feelings of most of the players on both the Eagles and the Chicago Cardinals, "Some people wanted to postpone the game, but we did whatever we could to make sure we played. The tickets were sold, the stands were filled, and our take was based on the number of people who showed up. We said, 'What the hell - let;s get it over with!'" I was fascinated with the part of the story about a modest, quirky, and shy football hero named Steve Van Buren, born and raised in early childhood on an island near balmy Honduras, who was later sent, with his brother Ebert, to live with his grandparents in Depression-era Metarie (Jefferson Parish, LA), near New Orleans. Despite hard times, he was able to play high school football. Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sports fan's dream February 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
You don't have to be an Eagles fan with attytood to love this book about
the gritty hard men who made the NFL what it is today. This is a wonderful
book. Buy it and give to to any friend who loves sports.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By BaBoo
Format:Kindle Edition
History buff? You're covered. Pop culture buff? Yup, you're covered too. Will Bunch's Give It To Steve! (Kindle Single)is an excellent narrative of the Philadelphia Eagles first championship in 1948. Played in blizzard conditions, the Eagles ascension to the best of the NFL during its growing-pain years is 63 years old, and still is as solid a story as the day it was fought on that white gridiron. While Give it to Steve is, at its core the fable-like tale of Eagles great (best ever) running back, Steve Van Buren, his amazing life story, from the Caribbean, to Louisiana, to Philly, it's also a story of the United States' east coast cities post WWII. Bunch doesn't shy away from the impact of racism on the city of Philadelphia and the nation as a whole that year. Bunch devotes some space to the Democratic National convention held earlier that year at Philly's Convention Hall when Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey gave a speech embracing civil rights and witnessed the walkout by Strom Thurmond and the rise of the "Dixie-crats". While Bunch embraces the Eagles and the snowy conditions they battled to win, he doesn't whitewash history. Bunch dutifully calls out the NFL for not integrating, especially since Jackie Robinson played major league baseball the year before.

Against this backdrop of one game, played on one day, Bunch weaves tales of fans, young and old, male and female along with the players, coaches and the late, great father of the modern NFL, Bert Bell as they make their way to the game. As one who cringes at the over-hyped, over-marketed, NFL of today (especially today), Bunch begins his tale with the NFL posponing an Eagles-Vikings game in 2010 because of a "forecast" of heavy snow. Yikes!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining piece of sports history November 13, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an interesting article on sports history. It details the 1948 NFL championship game between the Chicago Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles that was played in Shribe Park in Philadelphia in an all out blizzard. Bunch keeps the focus on the Eagles' star player, running back (half back in those days) Steve Van Buren who almost didn't make the game because of the storm. The details of the game are entertaining but the real value of the article is the historical contrast with the modern NFL. Bunch does an outstanding job of showing the working class origins of pro football and the incredible toughness of men who fought in World War II and then played football in leather helmets with no face masks. And he shows the price they paid later in life for that toughness.

As someone who has written on sports history (HOOP CRAZY: COLLEGE BASKETBALL IN THE 1950S), I would highly recommend this well written article to anyone interested in the history of pro football or American social and cultural history in general.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
was a fan when i was a young boy in philly
Published 2 months ago by david chubb
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Don't recall
Published 2 months ago by Barbara P. Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Thoroughly enjoyed this book...I grew up in the '50's in Los Angeles and was a Ram fan but never saw Van Buren play.... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jerre
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book...Thanks
I grew up in the Drexel Hill and Delaware County area. The description of the numerous places talked about in the book made me feel like I was there. Awesome.
Published 11 months ago by chrisd
4.0 out of 5 stars The Blizzard Bowl
You have heard of the Ice Bowl. This book fills a historical and sports niche telling about one if the most mysterious and precarious athletic contests ever.
Published 16 months ago by Mark Edge
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome
I'm a football junkie , and love history so it was very interesting so anybody tha loves football will enjoy this book.
Published on May 6, 2013 by Joe Montane
3.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written
I was interested in this book as an Eagles fan former Philadelphian but found the writing poor with many grammatical errors.
Published on March 26, 2013 by F. Dwyer
4.0 out of 5 stars insight to the "old days"
The last time I really enjoyed and followed professional football was the 1970s with a brief period of reinterest in the early and mid 1990s. Read more
Published on March 25, 2013 by Happy Husband
4.0 out of 5 stars Snow Game
Really enjoyed this story. Very indepth with vivid detail of a long ago football game. Story was good enough to make me feel that I was there.
Published on March 24, 2013 by toni elizabeth
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't have to be an Eagles fan to appreciate tha way the game was...
Good little story. Hard to put down. A great read for the beach in an afternoon. If you remember the leather helmet days you'll identify with the whole setting.
Published on February 7, 2013 by John
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