Pain Gang: Pro Football's Fifty Toughest Players

Pain Gang: Pro Football's Fifty Toughest Players

by Neil Reynolds
     
 

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No sport demands toughness more than professional football, and no sport celebrates it with as much joy, excitement, and pride. John Madden annually offers his picks of the top tough guys, and sick hits are shown repeatedly on jumbotrons nationwide and ESPN’s Sportscenter. Anyone who’s ever watched an NFL Films production can surely hear “the…  See more details below

Overview


No sport demands toughness more than professional football, and no sport celebrates it with as much joy, excitement, and pride. John Madden annually offers his picks of the top tough guys, and sick hits are shown repeatedly on jumbotrons nationwide and ESPN’s Sportscenter. Anyone who’s ever watched an NFL Films production can surely hear “the voice”—that distinctive narrator—lauding the warriors of the gridiron who lay it all out there. Imagine his voice as you say: “These tough men came to do battle today, and only the fiercest will win.” Into this atmosphere comes Neil Reynolds, public relations manager for the NFL in Europe, and his new book Pain Gang: Pro Football’s Fifty Toughest Players. From early day heroes, such as Bronko Nagurski, Clark Hinkle, and Frank “Bruiser” Kinard, to Hall of Famers like Ronnie Lott, Walter Payton, and Dick Butkus, to such modern-day iron men as Emmitt Smith, Brett Favre, and Rodney Harrison, Reynolds lauds some of the toughest, meanest, most inspirational, and hardest-working men in the roughest sport. He includes interviews with teammates, coaches, opponents, and the players themselves on what it means to be tough, how they characterize toughness, and even who was the toughest of them all. Some players fought through broken bones and tired bodies. Others laid out opponents with the hardest of hits. Still others proved themselves on the battlefields of World War II before joining this secondary field of battle. And some played hard and fast—mostly within the rules—in order to intimidate their opponents through sheer fear. Whatever their means, these guys were tough and knew it—and they made sure everyone else did as well. Meet the Pain Gang, and you’ll know it too.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
SPORTSReynolds, the public relations manager for NFL Europe, defines toughness primarily as being able to endure pain and punishment and, to a lesser extent, being able to dish it out. The 50 NFL players he colorfully portrays here include men from every position and time period, although there is a clear emphasis on players from the 1960s and 1970s. Reynolds has spoken directly with many of them to get their particular angles on being power players. An appendix listing the leading contenders who did not make the final cut would have been interesting. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"A fascinating book that identifies extraordinary tough guys playing a tough game."

“Pain Gang has such a simple premise: Who is the toughest player to have ever played in the NFL? Neil Reynolds gnaws at this premise as he profiles fifty of the toughest to have ever played, from Bronko Nagurski to Brett Favre, and after the first fifty I wanted to read about the next 150. When the fame and the fortunes fade away, the ultimate feeling that a true warrior wants said about him is 'He was a tough guy.' Pain Gang presents the toughest and most courageous athletes of our time.”

“An exhaustive look at some of the NFL's greatest stars.”

“A really revealing look at how much it hurts to be an NFL player. After you read this book, you’ll know what it’s like to take a gigantic fist to the ribs, as Jack Youngblood felt when he took such a shot from one of the most pain-inflicting players in NFL history, Bob Brown. And you’ll be amazed that human beings can last longer than a year or two in the NFL.”

"Neil Reynolds takes the reader to the very heart of the NFL action. . . . Pain Gang details an array of fascinating and awe-inspiring stories. . . . [It] is an enlightening, entertaining, and inspiring journey through professional football history and a must-have for all football fans. Read this book and you'll never look at the NFL in the same way again."

"Celebrates the characteristic football that fans hold dear."

Brian Baldinger

Pain Gang has such a simple premise: Who is the toughest player to have ever played in the NFL? Neil Reynolds gnaws at this premise as he profiles fifty of the toughest to have ever played, from Bronko Nagurski to Brett Favre, and after the first fifty I wanted to read about the next 150. When the fame and the fortunes fade away, the ultimate feeling that a true warrior wants said about him is 'He was a tough guy.' Pain Gang presents the toughest and most courageous athletes of our time.”—Brian Baldinger, NFL analyst, FOX Sports
Sports Illustrated - Paul Zimmerman

“An exhaustive look at some of the NFL's greatest stars.”—Paul Zimmerman, "Dr. Z," Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated - Peter King

“A really revealing look at how much it hurts to be an NFL player. After you read this book, you’ll know what it’s like to take a gigantic fist to the ribs, as Jack Youngblood felt when he took such a shot from one of the most pain-inflicting players in NFL history, Bob Brown. And you’ll be amazed that human beings can last longer than a year or two in the NFL.”—Peter King, senior writer, Sports Illustrated
Vic Carucci

"A fascinating book that identifies extraordinary tough guys playing a tough game."—Vic Carucci, national editor, NFL.com
NFLUK.com

"Neil Reynolds takes the reader to the very heart of the NFL action. . . . Pain Gang details an array of fascinating and awe-inspiring stories. . . . [It] is an enlightening, entertaining, and inspiring journey through professional football history and a must-have for all football fans. Read this book and you'll never look at the NFL in the same way again."—NFLUK.com
Green Bay Press-Gazette

"Celebrates the characteristic football that fans hold dear."—Green Bay Press-Gazette

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781597970136
Publisher:
Potomac Books
Publication date:
10/31/2006
Pages:
334
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Formerly the public relations manager for the NFL in Europe, NEIL REYNOLDS has covered the NFL since 1991. A keen pro football historian, he has worked for NFL Europe since 2000 and has contributed to NFL.com, countless NFL team websites, and European American-football publications First Down and Gridiron. He lives outside London, England.

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