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The Glory Game: How the 1958 NFL Championship Changed Football Forever

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The Glory Game: How the 1958 NFL Championship Changed Football Forever [Hardcover]

Frank Gifford , Peter Richmond
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 4, 2008

“Frank Gifford brings the contest so alive that you find yourself almost wondering, 50 years later, how it will turn out in the end.”
New York Times Book Review


The Glory Game recreates in breathtaking detail the 1958 National Football League Championship Game between the New York Giants and the Baltimore Colts, which many football fans feel was “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” This first-hand, field level, “behind-the-helmet” account by ex-Giant Hall of Famer and longtime “Monday Night Football” broadcaster Frank Gifford brings back to life all the sights and sounds of the momentous contest that changed football forever, and offers vivid, indelible portraits of the legendary players—including Sam Huff, Andy Robustelli, Art Donovan, Lenny Moore, and Raymond Berry. The Giants-Colts clash of ’58 was truly The Glory Game—and now readers can relive it in all its glory.

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The Glory Game: How the 1958 NFL Championship Changed Football Forever + The Most Memorable Games in Giants History: The Oral History of a Legendary Team
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gifford, the 78-year-old former star for the New York Giants and later an icon on Monday Night Football, tells the story of this much-chronicled game between his Giants and Johnny Unitas's Baltimore Colts from both his perspective and through interviews with teammates and opponents. Gifford decided to write this book after David Halberstam, a friend of Gifford's who had planned to write a book about the game, was killed in a 2007 car accident. Gifford's is a candid, insightful and entertaining look at the camaraderie and culture of the first great stirrings of the NFL, when professional football was a second-class sport in comparison to baseball. He describes vividly an era where the Giants players worked second jobs in the off-season, spent many fall nights barhopping their way across midtown Manhattan and often partook of cigarettes and beer in their Yankee Stadium locker room. Despite the title, this is less a book about how that 1958 game changed the NFL (which was covered in Mark Bowden's summer release of The Best Game Ever) than it is an enjoyable telling of the men who played it. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“The NFL, as we know it today, began with the 1958 Championship. There’s nobody better to tell the story of that game and the guys who played it than Frank Gifford. This book, like those players, is All-Madden.” (John Madden)

“Frank Gifford’s superb memoir shows what it really takes and means to be a champion. Also, it’s nice to read about the Giants losing a title game.” (Bill Belichick)

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (November 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061542555
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061542558
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 5.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #969,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
According to Frank Gifford, even those who played in the NFL championship game in 1958 did not realize that it would later be widely viewed as the greatest game ever played. He acknowledges that he made two critically important fumbles that proved costly to the Giants, for example, and asserts that the game was not even well-played until the fourth quarter and then during the first ever sudden-death overtime period before Alan Ameche scored from the one-yard line and the Baltimore Colts defeated the New York Giants at Yankee Stadium, 23 to17, on December 28, 1958. According to Gifford, David Halberstam, not he, had planned to write this account of the game but Halberstam died in a "horrific traffic accident" en route to meet with Y.A. Tittle. With some reluctance, duly acknowledging that Halberstam would have written an account that "would have beautifully captured our moment of history," Gifford then agreed to write his own with Peter Richmond, "in David's memory, and in the memory of those players who are no longer alive."

The details of the game from beginning to conclusion are best revealed within Gifford's narrative. It seems appropriate, now, for me to note some of the background information that helps to create a frame-of-reference for what happened on the field. First of all, Gifford gives full credit to the Colts for their victory. They had more and better talent, were closer as a team, and led by arguably the greatest NFL quarterback ever, Johnny Unitas. When he and receiver Raymond Berry were clicking, they would not be denied. Gifford also indicates somewhat strained (if not adversarial) relations between the Giants' offensive players and their defensive counterparts led by middle linebacker, Sam Huff.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best book on football's greatest game November 20, 2008
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Written in an engaging and conversational style, The Glory Game by Frank Gifford and Peter Richmond chronicles the epic 1958 NFL Championship Game between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants. Eventually won by the Colts in the first sudden-death overtime in the history of the sport, "The greatest game ever played" or "Best Game Ever" cemented the NFL's place at the forefront of American popular culture. There has been lots written about the game over the years, but Gifford, the Giants star Running Back from 1952-64 offers a unique field-level perspective. Relying on his own memories supplemented by interviews with his teammates as well as former Colts players, Gifford gives the reader a down-by- down play by play account of the Colts thrilling march to victory. Along the way he offers anecdotes and insights that I haven't seen in any other books. He also uses the game as a jumping off point to discuss the NFL culture of the 1950's, considered by many to be pro-football's golden era.

Gifford began the book as a tribute to his friend David Halberstam who was working on a similar book at the time of his death.

I've read 6 books on football this year (including two others on this game) and this is by far the best.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars See and Experience Football Through Frank Gifford's Eyes November 18, 2008
If you love pro football, this is a must read.

If you ever watched Frank Gifford on Monday Night Football, you know that he showed a respect and love for football that separated him from the others who shared the broadcasting booth with him. He was reticent and heart-felt in his comments. I always wondered what it would be like to hear him recount his playing days over a beer or two. Reading The Glory Game comes as close to having that experience as I can ever hope to reach.

In The Glory Game, he takes you back into professional football in the fifties when the game was considered by most fans as little different from professional wrestling. The players were long on devotion and short on pay. They also had respect for themselves and others. They played more to honor their teammates than for accolades from the fans.

Into the middle of this world, live television brought a mass audience who came, saw, and came back. One of the games that caught everyone's attention was the 1958 NFL Championship game between the Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants (for whom Mr. Gifford played). The book provides a virtual play-by-play recounting of that game, book ended by descriptions of the players and their origins, the owners, the coaches, and the social life of the teams on the one side and what happened to the people after the game on the other side.

Frank Gifford was no second-stringer. He was one of the most highly regarded players of his era. His two fumbles and a missed first down (which maybe was mismeasured) had a major impact on the game's score and ultimate resolution.

I didn't see the game played live, but I've seen highlights many times since then. I agree that it was the greatest game in pro football up to that point.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
As a long-time follower of Peter Richmond's brilliant cultural commentary -- from the pages of GQ to his countless NPR appearances -- I was thrilled to relive the details of this legendary game through his and Gifford's extraordinary retelling. This book is a must for sports fans, nostalgia buffs, lovers of American history and readers looking for a compelling read: if it's not in The Glory Game, it's not part of NFL history.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Frank Gifford: Last of the Great White Running Backs
Frank Gifford was a hero of mythological proportions in the late 1950s. Frank played running back for the New York Giants. Read more
Published 1 month ago by John Theofanis
5.0 out of 5 stars The Game
Frank Gifford and Peter Richmond's attempt at re-telling the 1958 NFL title game between the Colts and Giants is brought to life. Well done.
Published 10 months ago by Richard Assad
4.0 out of 5 stars Heart felt and moving
If only football were today what is was during the glory game. Well written and I cried a few can tell I'm no longer young.
Published 11 months ago by Paula DeLorenzo
5.0 out of 5 stars Brought back one of my greatest memories
I remember my father and me sitting on the edge of our seats rooting for the Colts. Gifford does a wonderful job of describing the game. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Judith B. Mark
3.0 out of 5 stars Halfway there
What drew me to this was that it was at least partly billed as the spiritual realization of David Halberstram's planned book on this game that he never got to write due to his... Read more
Published 24 months ago by Hunter H
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous '58
I was born, April 1 1958. Of course, I had no knowledge of this game except for some occasional superficial references. Read more
Published on October 12, 2011 by Dr.Stanley Toompas
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Perspective of Players, Not So Good on Coaches
Wow, what a story! The book contains background information on the "Greatest Game Ever Played" that only Frank Gifford, with his media & player connections and personal... Read more
Published on July 1, 2010 by E. Larkan
5.0 out of 5 stars Good job on a great story
I've read several books on the '58 NFL championship game, some with a Baltimore perspective and some without bias. Read more
Published on April 26, 2010 by Stephen J. Powers
4.0 out of 5 stars The Glory Game
I purchased this as a gift for my husband who is a huge football fan. He enjoyed it and then passed it along to his son who was in the Army stationed in Afghanistan. Read more
Published on April 20, 2010 by Beverly Debenedictis
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest Game Ever Played---Unitas to Berry..over and over!!!
I have read 2-3 books on the subject of the "Greatest Game Ever Played," but most of them from the Colts' point of view. Gifford gives us both sides. Read more
Published on February 8, 2010 by William G. Straub
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