Lombardi's Left Sideby Herb Adderley
Along the way to greatness, Lombardi's
Winning was not the only thing. Something more important than winning football games occurred during the Lombardi Dynasty. Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers ushered the National Football League to the forefront of American sports popularity during a racially explosive time, proving that teamwork transcended the color barrier.
Along the way to greatness, Lombardi's team demonstrated to the NFL, to America, what football looked like in the modern era: blacks and whites working together to win. And win they did. The Green Bay Packers can tell one of the greatest sports stories our nation has ever seen: five World Championships, including three in a row. No team has been able to win three straight World titles since the great Packers squads.
With 40 years of reflection, how Lombardi's Dynasty occurred is much more important than we knew back then. They won championships because of the character of the players. The task was daunting and the results historical. With a collection of competent people, Lombardi pushed, pulled, tugged and led Green Bay and the NFL into the modern era.
Very little has been written about the defensive side of the ball and because of the attrition of the Packer defensive players from the era, there is very little chance much will be published. Lombardi's Left Side is the first and likely the last book about the great Green Bay Packers defenses of the Lombardi Era as told by two of Lombardi's greatest defensive players: Herb Adderley and Dave Robinson.
These two players were critical elements in winning championships and moving our country forward in a racially explosive time. The two men who were athletic, bright, courageous, disciplined, hungry, confident, proud, spiritual, decent and black, blazed a trail. They played on the left side of Green Bay's great defenses of the Lombardi Era.
For the first time, Adderley and Robinson share what it was like to be a professional football player in the 1960s through personal stories of Lombardi and his management of the entire Green Bay Packer organization. Articulate and intelligent, Adderley and Robinson cover it all: on the field and off. These two great athletes shut down the left side of the football field and opened up the right side of our minds.
- Ascend Books
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- 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
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This book is more than football. The book depicts another side of Vince Lombardi that has been rarely reported. Vince was ahead of his time in quietly fighting racism. This view could only come from his players who respected and played for him. All of this happened before the Civil Rights Acts was passed. The book is captivating and difficult to put down. Having grown up and watching these players my admiration for them has greatly increased! I am glad that they came together to share their side of the Vince Lombardi story.
"Lombardi's Left Side" is Royce Boyles' third book about Vince Lombardi and his legendary Green Bay Packers teams. Lombardi coached the Packers from 1959-67, won five NFL championships in his nine seasons, and established a blueprint for success that went far beyond football. Co-author for the first two books, "The Lombardi Legacy" and "The Lombardi Impact," was Hall of Fame linebacker Dave Robinson. For "Lombardi's Left Side," another NFL Hall of Famer, cornerback Herb Adderley, joins Boyles and Robinson. Robinson and Adderley are African Americans, and in the first two books the subject of civil rights--in particular, Lombardi's color-blindness and fairness toward the black players on his teams--is a recurring theme. But it is not presented as the central theme, which is Lombardi's greatness, established through interviews with the people who knew him. In "Lombardi's Left Side," race moves to the forefront. We meet Adderley and Robinson as teenagers in the 1950s and see what life was like for a young black man in the days before civil rights reform. Both players were smart, dedicated, and lucky enough to have mentors who steered them away from the streets and into athletics. They were drafted by the Packers and met Lombardi, who helped them to attain their full potential as players and as men. I found "Lombardi's Left Side" fascinating because I grew up in Green Bay during the 1960s. I followed the Packers closely, attended many of the games, and knew some of the players. I learned what life was like for an African American coming to the small Wisconsin town where most residents had never known a person of color. Boyles' narrative fills in the gaps in my knowledge and gives me the "before" and the "after." Of particular interest are Adderley's struggles after he left the Packers. He was traded to the Dallas Cowboys, where racism was rampant and Coach Tom Landry was reluctant to accept Lombardi-trained players. More recently, Adderley took on the National Football League Players Association by acting as class representative for 2,062 retired players who sued the union in 2007 over royalties from a video game. Boyles firmly establishes Adderley as a hero. The book could have benefited from better editing. There are typos--"Adderley" is frequently rendered as "Adderely." Sometimes Boyles repeats himself, and his narrative voice occasionally wavers between colloquial and Voice of God. But if the writing lacks consistency, it never lacks passion. Despite the minor editing annoyances, I love this book and I'm giving it five stars. "Lombardi's Left Side" is "must" reading for Packer fans, for anyone interested in the civil rights struggles of the mid-twentieth century, and for those who sympathize with the plight of too many retired NFL players today. This is an important book.