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Library Journal★ 08/01/2014
The 1984 San Francisco 49ers are something of a neglected team among great teams, despite being the first club to win 15 regular-season games and 18 games overall; there is much more written about the 15–1 Super Bowl champion 1985 Bears, for example. However, the 49ers had a deeper roster that featured superstars Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott and groundbreaking coach Bill Walsh, and decimated a much better opponent in the Super Bowl than that fearsome Bears' team did. Drawn from extensive interviews with more than 40 players, as well as original broadcast tapes and Walsh's recorded comments from player meetings, this book details how the team was constructed and clarifies what the coaches were thinking from the preseason to the postseason. Game by game, Willis (head of research library, NFL Films; Old Leather) examines game plans, observes strategic personnel moves, and depicts the emotional fluctuations of the season with a flowing narrative that is enlivened by piquant quotations from the team's animated personalities. While the author's previous books all dealt with pre-World War II football, he shows an adept familiarity with the modern game in this thoroughly enjoyable retelling of the 1984 49ers. VERDICT The best football book of the year will be enjoyed by all football fans.