Breaker Boys: The NFL's Greatest Team and the Stolen 1925 Championship


David Fleming - 2007
    Built by an eccentric owner, molded by a visionary coach and loaded with hardscrabble miners, college All Americans and the sky's the limit ethos of the Roaring Twentys, the Maroons did the unthinkable and dominated the NFL in their rookie season. (Their improbable rise was chronicled each week in the local paper by a rookie Pottsville sportswriter named John OOHara.)Little Pottsville outscored its first seven opponents 162-6. The boys so thoroughly pummeled one opponent, angry fans shot up their train car as the Maroons rode out of town. In the final game of that first season the Maroons traveled to the Midwest to face the league-leading Chicago Cardinals in what was viewed as the championship game for 1925. The Maroons overcame a Windy City snowstorm and an injury to their best player to defeat the Cardinals 21-7.But the fans wanted more.College ball was still king. And as news of PottsvilleOs success was splashed across the news reels and headlines throughout the country, a movement began to have the Maroons face a team of college All-Stars from the University of Notre Dame, featuring the legendary Four Horsemen, the finest collection of talent the game had ever known. Experts believed the NFL was still decades away from competing with college football. But on a neutral field in Philadelphia, in a battle described as The Greatest Football Game Ever Seen, the Maroons shocked the world and turned the football establishment upside-down, defeating Notre Dame 9-7 on a last-second field goal by their captain Charlie Berry who had his kicking cleat bronzed for eternity.The championship was theirs. The NFL was finally on the map. The Maroons victory over Notre Dame had legitimized the league. It also destroyed the town and the team that made it all possible.Claiming the upstart Maroons had violated the territory of another franchise by playing Notre Dame in Philadelphia, the NFL suspended Pottsville and awarded the 1925 NFL championship to the Chicago Cardinals. The Cardinals refused to accept the bogus title and the 1925 crown was never officially awarded. For more than 80 years, fans of the Pottsville MaroonsNthe team Red Grange said was the greatest he ever facedNhave fought to have the 1925 title returned to its rightful owners.With Breaker Boys their remarkable story is told at last.

When Saturday Mattered Most: The Last Golden Season of Army Football


Mark Beech - 2012
    That fall, the Black Knights of Army were the class of the nation. Mark Beech, a second-generation West Pointer, recounts this memorable and never-to-be-repeated season with:- Pete Dawkins, the Heisman Trophy winner who rose to the rank of Brigadier General - The long-reclusive Bill Carpenter, the fabled "lonesome end" who earned the Distinguished Service Cross for saving his company in Vietnam - Red Blaik, who led Army back to glory after the cribbing scandal and had the field at Michie Stadium named in his honorCombining the triumph of The Junction Boys with the heroics of The Long Gray Line, Beech captures a unique period in the history of football, the military, and mid-twentieth-century America.

The Unforgiven: The Story Of Don Revie's Leeds United


Rob Bagchi - 2002
    'The Unforgiven' reveals how far the eccentric Revie was responsible for Leeds' outlaw status, using carpet bowls sessions for team building and exorcising a gypsy's curse at their ground.

On Rocky Top: A Front-Row Seat to the End of an Era


Clay Travis - 2009
    The book chronicles the 2008 season, during which the team suffered its second worst record ever and Head Coach Phil Fulmer, the most beloved and recognized man in Tennessee, was fired. Author of Dixieland Delight, Clay Travis offers a fascinating inside look at the inner workings of a major college sports program, and chronicles a season of promise that went terribly wrong, ending a long, fabled era.

Undefeated: Inside the 1972 Miami Dolphins' Perfect Season


Mike Freeman - 2012
    Now, 40 years after sports history was made, acclaimed sports writer Mike Freeman celebrates the Dolphins’ singular achievement in Undefeated. A riveting story filled with heartbreaking injuries, miraculous finishes, and tested relationships—featuring a roster of gridiron greats, including Bob Griese, Earl Morrall, Larry Csonka, Paul Warfield, Mercury Morris, Nick Buoniconti and others—Undefeated follows a underdog team on its remarkable run: 14 regular season victories, 2 postseason wins, and a Super Bowl championship. It is a book no football fan will want to miss.

Going Long: The Wild Ten-Year Saga of the Renegade American Football League in the Words of Those Who Lived


Jeff Miller - 2003
    Hearkening back to a simpler time for sports, this unique oral history reveals the origins of the modern game we know today, and how it all began with a fight-to-the-death for professional football supremacy. This story of the AFL is filled with legendary names such as Bob Griese, Joe Namath, Lamar Hunt, Jack Kemp, Bart Starr and more. From the contentious formation of the league, to paychecks bouncing as often as footballs, to improbable Super Bowl victories, Going Long presents the colorful and sometimes bizarre tale of eight teams and a league that refused to die.

Bayern: Creating a Global Superclub


Uli Hesse - 2016
    They are the most passionately supported club in Germany and the most hated. There is no doubt that they are the most successful. Winners of twenty-four domestic titles since the late-1960s, they have stood at the pinnacle of European football for almost their entire existence. German football is in the spotlight like never before and Bayern are at the forefront. While Germany have become World Champions, Bayern have been to the Champion’s League final for three of the last six years, collecting their fifth winners medal along the way and revolutionising the way they play. And they’ve done it all without billionaire tycoon owners, record transfer deals, eye-watering debts or charging supporters an arm and a leg for tickets. Through interviews with the key protagonists, Uli Hesse tells the story of this unique club. From early run-ins with the Nazis to being dubbed FC Hollywood for their egocentric stars in the 1990s up to the sensational undercover appointment of the best coach in the world, Pep Guardiola, Hesse opens the doors on Bavaria’s superpower and takes you inside Bayern Munich.

Unbeatable: Notre Dame's 1988 Championship and the Last Great College Football Season


Jerry Barca - 2013
    With a completely unlikely but forever memorable cast of characters—including the slight, lisping coach Lou Holtz; the star quarterback, Tony Rice; five foot nothing Asian kicker, Reggie Ho; NFL-bound Ricky Watters; and a crazed and ferocious defensive line, among others—Notre Dame whipped millions of fans into a frenzy. This roller coaster season of football includes the infamous Catholics vs. Convicts game (Notre Dame vs. Jimmy Johnson's #1 ranked Miami Hurricanes). The two teams were undefeated when they met at Notre Dame Stadium, with the Irish winning in the final seconds by a final score of 31-30.With original reporting and interviews with everyone from the players to the coaches, detailed research, and access to the Notre Dame archives, Jerry Barca tells a gripping story of an unbelievable season and the players who would become legends. More than a Notre Dame book, Unbeatable is a compelling narrative of one of the most incredible sports stories of the last century—the unlikely tale of an underdog team coming together and making history.

The Ones Who Hit the Hardest: The Steelers, the Cowboys, the '70s, and the Fight for America's Soul


Chad Millman - 2010
     In the 1970s, the city of Pittsburgh was in need of heroes. In that decade the steel industry, long the lifeblood of the city, went into massive decline, putting 150,000 steelworkers out of work. And then the unthinkable happened: The Pittsburgh Steelers, perennial also-rans in the NFL, rose up to become the most feared team in the league, dominating opponents with their famed "Steel Curtain" defense, winning four Super Bowls in six years, and lifting the spirits of a city on the brink. In "The Ones Who Hit the Hardest," Chad Millman and Shawn Coyne trace the rise of the Steelers amidst the backdrop of the fading city they fought for, bringing to life characters such as: Art Rooney, the owner of the team so beloved by Pittsburgh that he was known simply as "The Chief"; Chuck Noll, the headstrong coach who used the ethos of steelworkers to motivate his players; Terry Bradshaw, the strong-armed and underestimated QB; Joe Green, the defensive tackle whose fighting nature lifted the franchise; and Jack Lambert, the linebacker whose snarling, toothless grin embodied the Pittsburgh defense. Every story needs a villain, and in this one it's played by the Dallas Cowboys. As Pittsburgh rusted, the new and glittering metropolis of Dallas, rich from the capital infusion of oil revenue, signaled the future of America. Indeed, the town brimmed with such confidence that the Cowboys felt comfortable nicknaming themselves "America's Team." Throughout the 1970s, the teams jostled for control of the NFL-the Cowboys doing it with finesse and the Steelers doing it with brawn-culminating in Super Bowl XIII in 1979, when the aging Steelers attempted to hold off the Cowboys one last time. Thoroughly researched and grippingly written, "The Ones Who Hit the Hardest" is a stirring tribute to a city, a team, and an era.

Sports Illustrated Football's Greatest


Sports Illustrated - 2012
    Who's the greatest quarterback of all time, Joe Montana or Tom Brady? Brett Favre? Who was the most dominate linebacker, Lawrence Taylor or Dick Butkus? Was Deion Sanders better than Ronnie Lott? Are the Packers of Steelers the greatest franchise ever? Sports Illustrated has polled its pro football experts to determine the Top 10 in more than 20 categories. The rankings appear alongside stirring photography and classic stories from SI's archives. This is the best of the NFL's best, or more simply, FOOTBALL'S GREATEST.

Rising Tide: Bear Bryant, Joe Namath, and Dixie's Last Quarter


Randy W. Roberts - 2013
    During the bloodiest years of the civil rights movement, Bear Bryant and Joe Namath-two of the most iconic and controversial figures in American sports-changed the game of college football forever. Brilliantly and urgently drawn, this is the gripping account of how these two very different men-Bryant a legendary coach in the South who was facing a pair of ethics scandals that threatened his career, and Namath a cocky Northerner from a steel mill town in Pennsylvania-led the Crimson Tide to a national championship. To Bryant and Namath, the game was everything. But no one could ignore the changes sweeping the nation between 1961 and 1965-from the Freedom Rides to the integration of colleges across the South and the assassination of President Kennedy. Against this explosive backdrop, Bryant and Namath changed the meaning of football. Their final contest together, the 1965 Orange Bowl, was the first football game broadcast nationally, in color, during prime time, signaling a new era for the sport and the nation. Award-winning biographer Randy Roberts and sports historian Ed Krzemienski showcase the moment when two thoroughly American traditions-football and Dixie-collided. A compelling story of race and politics, honor and the will to win, Rising Tide captures a singular time in America. More than a history of college football, this is the story of the struggle and triumph of a nation in transition and the legacy of two of the greatest heroes the sport has ever seen.

Hoolifan: 30 Years of Hurt


Martin King - 1999
    He describes the leading characters, famous fights, and planned ambushes, and sets hooliganism in its social context.Hoolifan is the story of one man, Martin King, and his experiences spanning three decades with the country's foremost soccer gang. Chelsea have always been at the cutting edge of football violence, and King himself has been at the heart of the evolving Chelsea mob for most of those 30 years. From his first visit to a football ground in the early-1960s, he charts his development from a rattle-waving child, through to a fully fledged member of the notorious Chelsea Shed in the 1970s, and finally to his exploits as a key player in the most feared football gang of the 1980s and 1990s - the so-called Chelsea Headhunters.King describes the leading characters of the various eras, not just from Chelsea but from across the country. He also records every clash, ambush and act of revenge in vivid detail, as well as the camaraderie and style of this most infamous soccer gang.This is not just another book on the well-trodden subject of football hooliganism as, unlike previous authors, Martin King makes no attempt to distance himself from the violence and leaves the reader to draw his own conclusions.At times provocative, often humorous and always honest, Hoolifon is destined to do more to place the phenomenon of football hooliganism in its true social context than any previous work.

Overtime: Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines at the Crossroads of College Football


John U. Bacon - 2019
    Bacon has received rare access to Jim Harbaugh’s University of Michigan football team: coaches, players, and staffers, in closed-door meetings, locker rooms, meals, and classes. Overtime captures this storied program at the crossroads, as the sport’s winningest team battles to reclaim its former glory. But what if the price of success today comes at the cost of your soul? Do you pay it, or compete without compromising?In the spirit of HBO’s Hardknocks, Overtime delivers a deeply reported human portrait that follows the Wolverine coaches, players, and staffers through the 2018 season, including Harbaugh, offensive stars Shea Patterson and Karan Higdon, NFL-ready defensive standouts Rashan Gary, Devin Bush Jr., and Chase Winovich, second-stringers striving to find their place on the team, and their parents’ reactions to it all. Bacon met with them every week during a season that saw the Wolverines ride a ten-game winning streak to #4 in the nation, then take a beating at the hands of arch-rival Ohio State, led by controversial coach Urban Meyer, Harbaugh’s foil. Overtime also previews the crucial 2019 campaign ahead.Above all, this is a human story. In Overtime we not only discover what these public figures are like behind the scenes, we learn what the experience means to them as they go through it – the trials, the triumphs, and the unexpected answers to a central question: Is it worth it?From the “poet laureate of Michigan football” (according to New York Times’s Joe Drape), and one of the keenest observers of college football, Overtime offers a window into a legendary program and the sport itself that only John U. Bacon could deliver.

Mister: The Men Who Gave The World The Game


Rory Smith - 2016
    From its late-Victorian flowering in the mill towns of the northwest of England, football spread around the world with great speed. It was helped on its way by a series of missionaries who showed the rest of the planet the simple joys of the game. Even now, in many countries, the colloquial word for a football manager is not 'coach' or 'boss' but 'mister', as that is how the early teachers were known, because they had come from the home of the sport to help it develop in new territories.       In Rory Smith's stunning new book Mister, he looks at the stories of these pioneers of the game, men who left this country to take football across the globe. Sometimes, they had been spurned in their own land, as coaching was often frowned upon in England in those days, when players were starved of the ball during the week to make them hungry for it on matchday. So it was that the inspirations behind the 'Mighty Magyars' of the 1950s, the Dutch of the 1970s or top clubs such as Barcelona came from these shores.       England, without realising it, fired the very revolution that would remove its crown, changing football's history, thanks to a handful of men who sowed the seeds of the inversion of football's natural order. This is the story of the men who taught the world to play and shaped its destiny. This is the story of the Misters.

NFL Century: The One-Hundred-Year Rise of America's Greatest Sports League


Joe Horrigan - 2019
    In the hundred years that have passed since that fateful day, the former scrappy upstart league that once struggled to stay afloat has become America's most popular and lucrative professional sport. Along the way it has survived a host of challenges--the Great Depression and WW2, controversies and scandals, battles over labor rights and competition from rival leagues--even as it has produced American icons like Vince Lombardi, Joe Montana and Tom Brady. It is an extraordinary and entertaining history that could only be told by Joe Horrigan, Executive Director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and perhaps the greatest living historian of the NFL. By drawing upon decades of NFL archives, Joe has written the definitive history of the NFL. Compelling, eye-opening and authoritative, NFL Century is a must-read for NFL fans and anyone who loves the game of football.