Closing the Gap: Lombardi, the Packers Dynasty, and the Pursuit of Excellence

Overview

Describing how NFL great Willie Davis helped define the hard-nosed, in-your-face defense of the original football dynasty, the 1960s Green Bay Packers, this revealing autobiography also illustrates his persona off the field—humble yet ambitious, with an infectious smile and a reputation of strict discipline that matched his leadership mentality. The book recounts the competitor as one of the game’s strongest, quickest, and most agile defensive linemen in his time, showcasing a team captain who led the Green and ...

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Overview

Describing how NFL great Willie Davis helped define the hard-nosed, in-your-face defense of the original football dynasty, the 1960s Green Bay Packers, this revealing autobiography also illustrates his persona off the field—humble yet ambitious, with an infectious smile and a reputation of strict discipline that matched his leadership mentality. The book recounts the competitor as one of the game’s strongest, quickest, and most agile defensive linemen in his time, showcasing a team captain who led the Green and Gold to five championships and earned a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Distinguished from many other athletes of his generation, Davis's success continued well after he took off his pads. His reputation as one of the most respected businessmen in America is discussed, including his time serving on the board of directors for Fortune 500 companies, taking part in various foundations, and speaking to audiences of all ages about his experiences. From growing up in a poor, segregated small town in the South to the intense pressure he endured as a college athlete contemplating his future, this evocation pays homage to a man who has worked hard to achieve all that he has, always appreciating the fruits of his labors with care, respect, and devout passion.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781600787263
  • Publisher: Triumph Books
  • Publication date: 9/26/2012
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 679,151
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Willie Davis is a businessman and a former NFL football star who played with the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers. He was ranked by the Sporting News as one of the top 100 greatest football players. He lives in Los Angeles. Jim Martyka is a professional freelance writer, a ghostwriter, and an editor. He lives in Los Angeles. Andrea Erickson Davis is a professional freelance writer, editor, artist, and community activist based in Southern California. Bart Starr is a Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback who led the Green Bay Packers to five championships in the 1960s under head coach Vince Lombardi. He lives in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Bart Starr ix

Preface Jerry Kramer xiii

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction xix

Chapter 1 The Pursuit Starts Early 1

Chapter 2 My Mother Can Whip Your Mother 5

Chapter 3 Lessons from the Board of Education 15

Chapter 4 Coach Eddie Robinson and the Black National Championship 25

Chapter 5 Learning the Hard Way in Cleveland 41

Chapter 6 Headed to Siberia of the North 57

Chapter 7 My Mentor, My Colleagues, and Life in Green Bay 63

Chapter 8 Luck Is When Preparation Meets Opportunity 91

Chapter 9 The Most Important Vow of My Life 103

Chapter 10 Redemption 119

Chapter 11 How to Play the Perfect Game 129

Chapter 12 The Rise of Titletown U.S.A. 137

Chapter 13 Back to College-and Beer 161

Chapter 14 Our Last Year in the S-Bowl 179

Chapter 15 Winning Isn't Everything; It's the Only Thing 187

Chapter 16 The Million-Dollar Fumble-and Change 219

Chapter 17 Carrying the NFL in Super Bowl I 235

Chapter 18 The Pressure of Staying on the Path 243

Chapter 19 The Ice Bowl, Super Bowl II, and a Legacy 261

Chapter 20 It's Been More Than a Game; It's Been a Way of Life 275

Chapter 21 The End of an Era 285

Chapter 22 Talkin' Football 289

Chapter 23 Business Is a Lot Like Football: From Worst to First 293

Chapter 24 Never Too Late to Discover a New Passion 307

Chapter 25 Mom, It's a Long Way From Texarkana 321

Chapter 26 Welcome to the Board Room 329

Chapter 27 Letting Go and Moving Forward 335

Chapter 28 Commissioner Davis? 339

Chapter 29 There Will Always Be a Game to Play 345

Chapter 30 Final Lessons 351

Epilogue: Close the Gap 355

Appendix 1 Closing the Gap: A List of Lessons 359

Appendix 2 Pledges for Success 363

Appendix 3 Willie Davis Bio 364

Appendix 4 Professional Football Season Records 365

Appendix 5 Business Service 366

Appendix 6 About Willie Davis 367

Sources 386

Index 387

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