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Posted May 21, 2001
Every NFL fan should be lucky enough to have this book. It is clearly a classic and deserves many more than five stars. This book contains over 100 photographs from the NFL, mostly since 1958. They are very well reproduced, and the captions are excellent for putting the images in context. The book is improved by a foreword by Joe Namath in which he discusses his favorite photographs in the book and an introduction by Tom Barnidge, the editor, in which he explains the special opportunities and challenges of photographing the NFL. Almost all of the teams are represented in the book. Some are obviously more represented than others because of their greater past success and longer franchise histories. Part of the book's appeal is seeing some of your favorite players from your team during heroic moments. Packers, Cowboys, Dolphins, Giants, Bears, Rams, Bronco and 49er fans will be the most pleased. At another level, the book is about remembering many of the highlights of the NFL . . . ones that you may have seen on television, or (if you are lucky) in person. The images are concentrated in the last ten years so that younger fans will not feel left out. But fans who are over 50 will think that this volume was made just for them. Fans of all ages will be fascinated by the photographs from the 1930s and 1940s with the old-style helmets, fans huddled under straw bales, and less active play. The variety of photographs is superb. Every aspect of the game is covered, from training camp to accepting congratulations at the end of the Super Bowl. You have offense, defense, special teams, and even referees finding themselves in the middle of the action (during plays and breaking up fights). You also have celebrations in the end zone, complaints to officials, and impending disaster (such as the photograph of half the Cowboy team about to land on one player) If you are like me, the most special part of the book comes in the fine detail that you cannot see as a spectator at the stadium or on television. I was totally arrested by the expressions on the players' faces, as they were sacked, smashed, grabbed by the face mask, and annihilated. Even more remarkable was to see the amazing athletic feats (a jump pass by Jack Kemp, Lynn Swann catching a pass fully stretched out, and Barry Sanders making an incredible cut) at the players' eye level. Some of the famous shots that I remember are in the book, like Namath after winning Super Bowl III, a bloodied Y.A. Title on his knees in defeat in 1964, Bart Starr scoring behind Jerry Kramer, and John Elway in victory after the Super Bowl win. But most of the photographs were new to me. That made reading the book a process of discovery as well as a reminiscence. Many of the color photographs extend over two pages, and were carefully selected so that the key aspects of the action are not lost in the crease. Only three things could have made this book even better -- more photographs, larger pages, and commentaries by the players about the images they appear in. Perhaps if we buy enough books, there will be another edition to add those attractive elements. Until then, this bookWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.