From Publishers Weekly
For gridiron historian Carroll ( The Hidden Game of Football ), the 1960s were the golden age of the pro game. In a sense it was: the decade saw the emergence of the AFL as a successful second league; the number of teams increased from 12 to 26 and the total attendance rose from three million to nine million; televised games, introduced in 1958, became ever more popular and the networks became ever more generous. As for the caliber of play, though, there is some question as to whether the passage of time lends an enchanted aura. Even Carroll, enthusiast for the '60s that he is, seems to suggest that many of the teams of the fledgling AFL were pretty feeble. And surely a 1993 fan may well ask whether the players of 1963 were of the same caliber as the pros of today. It seems doubtful. Still, the book promises to be fun for nostalgia buffs interested in the players and the politics of the era. Photos not seen by PW .
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
An informal retrospective on pro football in the 1960's, skillfully blending facts, figures, and historical analysis with a fan's joyful nostalgia. Though Carroll (The Football Abstract, 1991, etc.--not reviewed) opens with a stumbling account of Lamar Hunt's 1958 decision to found a new league (the AFL) to compete with the entrenched National Football League, he soon hits his stride. Using interviews with former players and coaches (Sid Gillman, Sam Huff, Forrest Gregg, Willie Davis, et al.), as well as profiles of legendary figures such as Vince Lombardi, Gale Sayers, Joe Namath, Jim Brown, and Dick Butkus, the author tells how ``pro football emerged as the game of the '60s.'' As he moves from the AFL's inaugural season in 1960 to Namath's signing for a then-unheard-of $426,000, the merger of the leagues in 1966, and, finally, Hunt's vindication in 1969 (when his Kansas City Chiefs embarrassed the vaunted Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV), Carroll recounts key games, championships, trades, franchise moves, bitter draft wars, and the all-around astounding growth of pro football during the decade. Total attendance at regular season games rose from three million in 1959 to nine million in 1969 (although the number of teams rose as well, from 12 to 26; for comparison's sake, Carroll should have offered similar stats from baseball and basketball). Perhaps most significantly, in 1950 the NFL had a $50,000 TV deal for the entire league; by 1963, the deal was for $325,000 per team; by the late 1960's, it was in the millions per team and the Super Bowl had become an ``unofficial national holiday.'' If not ``a Golden Age,'' Carroll writes, ``the 1960s were the age when pro football struck gold.'' Well-done popular history that will delight older fans while providing a solid introduction to newer students of the game. (One hundred b&w photos--not seen) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.