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That First Season: How Vince Lombardi Took the Worst Team in the NFL and Set It on the Path to Glory Paperback – Bargain Price, September 21, 2010
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In the late 1950s the once vaunted Green Bay Packers were a laughing stock. They hadn't fielded a winning team in more than a decade and were very nearly in jeopardy of losing their franchise to another city. The ultimate low came in 1958, when, with 7 future Hall of Famers on the team, they went a lousy 1-10-1 under a too-soft coach, Scooter McLean. They were desperately in need of a savior, and he arrived via wood-paneled station wagon in the dead of winter from New York City. That First Season chronicles Vince Lombardi's remarkable first year as head coach with the franchise he would reinvent and etch forever in football history. In a single year, as the grizzled coach who took no bull, he would transform a team of underachievers into winners and reignite a city known for its passion for its sport. Based on exhaustive new research and interviews, That First Season is the seldom-studied prequel to a football career marked by greatness. Eisenberg pushes away the mist that surrounds the Lombardi legend to bring readers the real story of how the seeds of a football dynasty were sown. He also brings alive an incredible ensemble tale of a team, a town and their leader.
Photographs from That First Season
(Click to Enlarge)
|The Packer offense took off when Lombardi inserted Boyd Dowler||Paul Hornung, a key player in Lombardi's offense|
|Don McIlhenny runs the ball against the Colts||A fan congratulates Lombardi as he leaves the field|
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this book from the perspective of being a Packer fan, Wisconsin native and leader of a team - pastor of a church.
This is an inspiring book on the importance of a coach on a football team. The methods and tactics that Lombardi installed in Green Bay would be very difficult to the modern football star who makes so much more money than the head coach. Lombardi's leadership focused on fundamentals, preparation, discipline, training, hard work, loyalty, perseverance, and strategy.
"That First Season" is a well researched, highly readable portrait of how "the right man for the right job at the right time" ended up in Green Bay and transformed an unfocused, unmotivated group of losers suffering through a horrible one-win season to become a 7-5 winning team in one year and a team that would later send a truckload of its players to the hall of fame. Imagine Paul Hornung unwanted and sitting under-utilized on the bench. Or Bart Starr, considered too nice and too mistake prone to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. Or Jim Taylor, not considered big enough or strong enough to become a hall of fame fullback. Or Ray Nitchke, considered too undisciplined to ever become a true leader. These are poignant characterizations of what Lombardi inherited when he assumed the coaching and personnel reins of the Packers after that disastrous 1958 season.
"That First Season" examines in detail how Lombardi and his coaches took control of a losing team and guided it and its community back to respectability in the world of professional football.Read more ›
Lombardi had been looking for a way to obtain a head coaching position. He was highly thought of as a coach, but was not well known and was not getting any younger. Recommendations from respected friends in the coaching profession led the management of the Packers to interview Lombardi and finally to offer him the position as head coach of the Packers. Of course, Lombardi took the job and his success in Green Bay is now legendary.
Vince Lombardi was a tough coach. His players said that they would not want him as a friend but that they loved having him as their coach, especially as he began to prove to them that they could win. Mr. Eisenberg's book takes the reader through the first season in detail - offseason activities, practices, preseason games, and regular season. He also gives us a high level play by play of each game plus a wealth of behind the scenes information.
Lombardi's success as the Packers coach is well known. This book gives an excellent picture of how the success began. Any fan of football and the NFL will enjoy the book. For fans of the Green Bay Packers, I would think that the book should not be missed.
Eisenberg shows this side of Lombardi with loads of details, personal anecdotes, and recreations of conversations. The only thing I can say against the book is that the actual descriptions of the games themselves are not nearly as engaging as the events surrounding them. However, it is just a minor flaw in a good book that adds depth to a field that had previously felt already-plowed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Imagine Vince Lombardi showing up as a coach of an NFL team and not being a popular selection. This happened after the 1958 season, when the Green Bay Packers had one win, ten... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great read for any football fan or coach. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in football and how the game was played then.Published 3 months ago by Tom
An excellent story, superbly told. Sports books too often are sloppily written; not this one. Even though we know exactly how it will end, the author makes the story a... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Albert S. Copersino
A book all Packer fans should read to understand the determination of a great manPublished 8 months ago by Lawrence W.