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Paper Lion Hardcover – June, 1966
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When PAPER LION was published in the mid-1960's, it was a wonderful behind-the-scenes look at professional football. Before the days of constant national television coverage, Monday Night Football, hour after hour of pregame shows, or the NFL Network, this book was truly the first look at what goes on before a season for the players that you'll be cheering for when fall rolls around. Plimpton's premise was that he was coming in as an unheralded rookie just trying to find a position to play, but it wasn't long until his secret was out.
The beauty of this book is that Plimpton was anything but an athlete. He came into this setting having never played a down of organized football in his life. That being said, the strides he made in a four week period were astonishing. Granted he wasn't going to make the team as a 36-year old rookie, but he certainly made progress leading up to his time in the intrasquad scrimmage. More important than the actual time on the practice field is the look he provided into the inner workings of the Detroit Lions program; the life in training camp after the day's practice had ended and everyone was back in their rooms or out on the town.Read more ›
Perhaps his most famous was in the early 1960s when he was "signed" by the Detroit Lions as a 36-year-old rookie trying to make the club as a third-string quarterback. Plimpton - wearing jersey number 0 - practiced with the team for one month.
His quarterbacking culminates with his appearance in a scrimmage where Plimpton calls a number of plays under game conditions.
The book leads the reader through the highs and lows of Plimpton as a player, along with great anecdotes on the teammates and coaches.
A reprint is slated for publication in September 2006. I hope the TV special on Plimpton's training camp and QB play gets dusted off during the upcoming NFL season. Anyone reading this inside that large campus in Bristol, Conn.?
(1) He wasn't really a "regular guy." Firstly he was someone who was in a position where he could actually get the opportunity to work out with a pro football team and get into an intra-squad game. And he could REALLY PLAY, a fact that is rarely recognized. It's not that he was exactly on the NFL level -- he wasn't. But, he was good enough that he could sort of play with those guys, which very few of us could, and good enough that the "real" players couldn't tell that he wasn't legit. (They didn't know his real story for a while.) They could tell he wasn't great and they didn't think he was going to stick with the team, but nobody thought he wasn't for real or that his presence was ridiculous. And this despite his being 35 years old, an age at which even most "real" players can't hang in there any more.
(2) However, from the book it is clear that there were times that the players regarded his utterances as ridiculous, without there being any indication that Mr. Plimpton realized it. I wonder if he ever did. A good example is some of the things he was prattling about on the bench during the intra-squad game.
(3) This book is perhaps the first such intimate portrayal of the life and routine of pro football pre-season camp.
A great and classic book. Thank you, Mr. Plimpton, and rest in peace. And by the way you really could play football.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It moves a little slower than I thought but is a good reading book. Arrived on time and in as advertised condition.Published 2 months ago by Avid Reader
Interesting movie. My husband liked the book better, but the movie arrive on time and in good condition. Thanks.Published 5 months ago by Texas reader
Classic. Have to like the technical crap of the game to enjoy the book. Can't just like the NFL.Published 8 months ago by E. O. GAVIN
I have just started reading this book and already it has me laughing despite not being a "football fan". I would recommend this as a read to anyone!Published on July 11, 2014 by Brooke C. Paxton
Great stuff and one of a kind. This is a wonderful read for NFL fans of any team. This book should be back in print in a good paperback edition. Until then, this will do.Published on July 2, 2014 by J. Lowe
This is a book I had always planned on reading. I finally purchased it after seeing a show about George Plimpton's life. Paper Lion has been referred to as literary non-fiction. Read morePublished on June 19, 2014 by Walldog