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That First Season: How Vince Lombardi Took the Worst Team in the NFL and Set It on the Path to Glory

( 17 )

Overview

John Eisenberg's That First Season is the seldom-studied prequel to a phenomenal football career for Vince Lombardi and the Packers, drawing on exhaustive new research and interviews to tell an incredible ensemble tale of a team, a town, and their leader.

The once-vaunted Green Bay Packers were a laughing stock by the late 1950s. They hadn't fielded a winning team in more than a decade and were close to losing their franchise to another city. They were in desperate need of a ...

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That First Season: How Vince Lombardi Took the Worst Team in the NFL and Set It on the Path to Glory

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Overview

John Eisenberg's That First Season is the seldom-studied prequel to a phenomenal football career for Vince Lombardi and the Packers, drawing on exhaustive new research and interviews to tell an incredible ensemble tale of a team, a town, and their leader.

The once-vaunted Green Bay Packers were a laughing stock by the late 1950s. They hadn't fielded a winning team in more than a decade and were close to losing their franchise to another city. They were in desperate need of a savior, and he arrived in a wood-paneled station wagon in the dead of winter from New York City. In a single year, Vince Lombardi—the grizzled coach who took no bull—transformed a team of underachievers into winners and resurrected a city known for its passion for sport.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547395692
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/21/2010
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 283,174
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

JOHN EISENBERG was an award-winning sports columnist for the Baltimore Sun for two decades and is the author of seven books, most recently My Guy Barbaro , cowritten with jockey Edgar Prado, and The Great Match Race . He has written for Smithsonian , Sports Illustrated , and Details , among other publications.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

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(9)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2012

    Packer Fan

    Is this book a good one, I bet so. Because Vince rocks.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 3, 2011

    Great book about Lombardi's first year, a real true Packer fan book.

    Was very impressed with information about the first year of Lombardi.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2013

    Ima a...

    SEAHAWK FAN WHOO GO HAWKS WE ONLY LOST ONCE BECAUSE THEY GOT LUCKY AT THE END WITH 10 SECONDS ON THE CLOCK STUPID FEILD GOAL!!!FYI WE GOING IN THE SUPER BOWL GO SHERMAN WHOO.didnt read the book

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2013

    Not the best book about Vince. Still the idea is to focus o

    Not the best book about Vince. Still the idea is to focus on the begining. Almost everyone reading this is going to know what he became. Most have no idea what it took to get there. The first year wasn't magical. That's what's depicted here.
    There is a lot about that first season of games. That's what the book is about so there maybe too much focus on each game, but how did the Packers become what they were?
    You get a pretty good idea of what it takes to lay a foundation of greatness. The other thing you get is no one, not in today's corp. football, is ever going to get to do it this way again. Its worth reading just for the history of the growing pains of football - let alone the Packers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    Too much play-by-play

    A potentially fascinating story of the rags-to-riches 1959 Packers is bogged down by Eisenberg's penchant for describing every regular-season game in entirely too much detail. This leaves little room for any true insight and makes the book read like a transcript more than anything else. A wasted oppotunity.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 21, 2010

    Unfortunately, a weak attempt

    The book started out well giving the history of the Packers pre-Lombardi and the decision making process leading up to his hiring, and had some good tidbits of Lombardi's motivational speeches. Unfortunately, the 2nd half of the book is literally the play calling of each game of the season, with one or two more interesting tidbits at the end. I wish I had tried a different book on the subject.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2010

    That First Season

    02-09-10


    I read That First Season written by John Eisenberg. This is a sports oriented novel that depicts the jagged road traveled by coaches of any sport who take on a mediocre team. He writes athletic books containing struggles with foul or fair outcomes. The main protagonist in this novel is Vince Lombardi, who took on the Green Bay Packers with a large job of over-hauling the team and staff. This is a great book to read if you are looking for a triumphant story about a second-rate team and I would recommend That First Season with a standing ovation.

    In my chosen novel, the Green Bay Packers encompass a coach by the name of Ray "Shooter" McLean. McLean was a laid back coach that could care less about the teams' success as depicted when the Packers played the Colts and McLean said to a reporter, "There just isn't anything I can say" (Eisenberg 14). This was after the team lost 56-0. The staff that surrounded the Packers decided a re-vamp was needed and Vince Lombardi took over in 1959 as he changed the entire staff along with the team. He threw out the old play book and installed a new one. Vince had never been a head coach of a pro football team before, but his experience at the college level and assistant to pro football head coaches gave him the knowledge he needed to make the terrible Packers into Super Bowl champions.

    That First Season reminds me of the 2009 race team under Don Schumacher who, along with Alan Johnson, owned the Schumacher Top Fuel Race Team. Johnson decided to take all the employees, except the driver, to a different team which left Don without a team prior to the 2009 race season. Don and the driver, who happened to be his son, worked to build a team now. By the end of the race season, it was this new team who had won the championship for the top fuel in drag racing. Like Lombardi, Schumacher re-hauled the team and found victory.

    Of the seven novels that John Eisenberg has written, including this one, the commonality between all of his works is that they encompass sports related themes. The theme of never quitting is also apparent in all of his books. He keeps the reader interested by narrating, but also seeming to be a character himself by having so much knowledge of the subject. He uses such detail to make the games in this book seem as real as a picture in front of me like when John wrote, "The crowd screeched as McGee raced for the end zone, his ling legs churning" (Eisenberg 157). Due to the detail observed in That First Season I was able to be entertained the entire way through and I really enjoyed experiencing the rocky process that Vince went through to make the Packers a winning franchise. All individuals who have experienced a rough time but powered through it would enjoy this novel. I sure did.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2010

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    Posted June 19, 2011

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    Posted May 27, 2011

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    Posted February 6, 2010

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    Posted November 7, 2010

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    Posted December 11, 2010

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    Posted January 21, 2010

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    Posted January 16, 2010

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    Posted September 17, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2010

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