Pain Gang: Pro Football's Fifty Toughest Players

Overview

No sport demands toughness more than professional football, and no sport celebrates it with as much joy, excitement, and pride. Neil Reynolds, former public relations manager for the NFL in Europe, 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. Whatever their means, ...
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Pain Gang: Pro Football's Fifty Toughest Players

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Overview

No sport demands toughness more than professional football, and no sport celebrates it with as much joy, excitement, and pride. Neil Reynolds, former public relations manager for the NFL in Europe, 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. 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."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597970136
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.
  • 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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Table of Contents


List of Photographs     xi
Foreword     xiii
Acknowledgments     xv
Introduction     1
Quarterbacks
Y. A. Tittle: Leaving It All on the Field     8
Johnny Unitas: The Quarterback Nobody Wanted     13
John Brodie: If It Keeps Breaking, Don't Fix It     20
Archie Manning: Taking a Beating in the Big Easy     25
Joe Montana: King of Cool     31
Brett Favre: Playing for Free     38
Steve McNair: There's Doubtful, Questionable...and McNair     45
Donovan McNabb: Leading by Example     50
Running Backs
Bronko Nagurski: The Original Tough Guy     58
Clarke Hinkle: Battling with The Bronk     65
Marion Motley: Breaking Down Barriers     70
Jim Brown: Superman in Cleats     75
Jim Taylor: Running with Power     79
Larry Csonka: Country Toughness     85
Rocky Bleier: A Comeback for the Ages     91
Walter Payton: Sweetness Had Toughness     98
Earl Campbell: Tough to Bring Down     104
Emmitt Smith: Shouldering the Load     109
Receivers and Tight Ends
Tommy McDonald: The Little Man with the Big Heart     116
Mike Ditka: Born to Be Tough     121
Mark Bavaro: Don't Call Me Rambo     127
Offensive Linemen
George Trafton: The Brute     134
Mel Hein: The Sixty-Minute Man     139
Frank Kinard: The Bruiser     143
Jim Otto: Mr. Consistency     146
Bob Brown: A Booming Presence     150
Defensive Linemen
Len Ford: Overcoming the Odds     156
Ernie Stautner: A Pile-Driving Force     161
Gino Marchetti: The Survival Instinct     167
Deacon Jones: The Sack Master     173
Joe Greene: They Called Him "Mean"     180
Jack Youngblood: Playing with Pain     184
Randy White: Shark Eyes     190
Dan Hampton: The Windy City Warrior     195
Linebackers
Chuck Bednarik: Last of the Two-Way Terrors     202
Sam Huff: In the Spotlight     207
Jack Pardee: From Junction to the NFL     213
Ray Nitschke: If Looks Could Kill     218
Dave Wilcox: The Intimidator     224
Dick Butkus: One Tough Hombre     229
Willie Lanier: The Thinking Man's Linebacker     234
Jack Lambert: Man of Steel     239
Mike Singletary: The Eyes Have It     245
Lawrence Taylor: NFL Wild Man     251
Tedy Bruschi: Back in the Game     256
Defensive Backs
Dick "Night Train" Lane: The Unlikeliest Hall of Famer     264
Larry Wilson: Every Quarterback's Nightmare     269
Mel Blount: In Your Face     274
Ronnie Lott: NFL Kamikaze     279
Rodney Harrison: Demanding Respect     286
The Toughest Ever?     292
Bibliography     297
Index     301
About the Author     315
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