The National Forgotten League: Entertaining Stories and Observations from Pro Football's First Fifty Years

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Overview


The first fifty years of America’s most popular spectator sport have been strangely neglected by historians claiming to tell the “complete story” of pro football. Well, here are the early stories that “complete story” has left out. What about the awful secret carried around by Sid Luckman, the Bears’ Hall of Fame quarterback whose father was a mobster and a murderer? Or Steve Hamas, who briefly played in the NFL then turned to boxing and beat Max Schmeling, conqueror of Joe Louis? Or the two one-armed players ...
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The National Forgotten League: Entertaining Stories and Observations from Pro Football's First Fifty Years

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Overview


The first fifty years of America’s most popular spectator sport have been strangely neglected by historians claiming to tell the “complete story” of pro football. Well, here are the early stories that “complete story” has left out. What about the awful secret carried around by Sid Luckman, the Bears’ Hall of Fame quarterback whose father was a mobster and a murderer? Or Steve Hamas, who briefly played in the NFL then turned to boxing and beat Max Schmeling, conqueror of Joe Louis? Or the two one-armed players who suited up for NFL teams in 1945? Or Steelers owner Art Rooney postponing a game in 1938 because of injuries? These are just a few of the little-known facts Dan Daly unearths in recounting the untold history of pro football in its first half century.
 
These decades were also full of ideas and experimentation, such as the invention of the modern T formation that revolutionized offense, unlimited player substitution, and soccer-style kicking, as well as the emergence of televised pro football as prime-time entertainment. Relying on obscure sources, original interviews, old game films and statistical databases, Daly’s extensive research and engaging stories bring the NFL’s formative years—and pro football’s folk roots—to life.
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Editorial Reviews

McCormick Messenger - Bob Edmonds

"Relying on obscure sources, original interviews, old game films and statistical databases, Daly's extensive research and engaging stories bring the NFL's formative years—and pro football's folk roots—to life."—Bob Edmonds, McCormick Messenger
AETHLON - Richard C. Crepeau

"If you are looking for little known facts, fascinating stories and information . . . then this is a good place to begin."—Richard C. Crepeau, AETHLON
Book Pleasures

"Daly's book is a painless primer on the good ol' days, when you didn’t get a concussion but rather you had your "bell rung," and scoreboards didn't shoot fireworks into the night sky."—James Broderick, Book Pleasures

— James Broderick

Gridiron Greats

"From Bull Doehring to Marion Motley to Barney Poole and many in between, Daly captures the essence of the lore of these and many more players who graced the rugged gridirons of yesterday."—Bob Swick, Gridiron Greats

— Bob Swick

Only a Game - Bill Littlefield

"Daly collected stories like that in part because, as far as he could tell, nobody else had done it. But apparently he was also driven by the conviction that the game the pros play today is not nearly as interesting as the one their predecessors played. Readers will have to decide for themselves whether he’s right, and football fans will have a fine time doing so."—Bill Littlefield, Only a Game
Gridiron Greats - Bob Swick

"From Bull Doehring to Marion Motley to Barney Poole and many in between, Daly captures the essence of the lore of these and many more players who graced the rugged gridirons of yesterday."—Bob Swick, Gridiron Greats
Dave Kindred
“Before it got glitzy, the NFL was blood in the dirt. Dan Daly’s book puts us in that untamed frontier. . . . This is pro football’s book of Genesis.”—Dave Kindred, author of Morning Miracle: Inside the “Washington Post”
Tim Layden
"With the zeal of an archaeologist and the soul of a poet, Dan Daly peels back the layers of a football past that is far more fascinating than the corporatized modern game."—Tim Layden, senior writer for Sports Illustrated and author of Blood, Sweat and Chalk
Library Journal
This is the most entertaining football history since the author's own Pro Football Chronicle, authored with Bob O'Donnell (1990). While this new book takes a decade-by-decade approach similar to the earlier volume, there is no repetition in content. Daly (sports columnist, Washington Times) relies on personal interviews as well as deep and wide newspaper research to uncover some of the oddest and most engaging long-forgotten stories from pro football's first 50 years. These true tales illuminate how the game was once played and how it has evolved over time. The lively and often humorous sagas from these pages include several pieces on overlooked records and unusual statistics, a compilation of quirky plays in which the goal posts played a part, the development of both soccer-style kickers and the kicking game, and the dark secrets of gridiron legends Sid Luckman, Tommy Thompson, and Otto Graham. VERDICT The best football book of the year. It should be read by every football fan.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803243439
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2012
  • Pages: 424
  • Sales rank: 1,374,149
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


A sports columnist for the Washington Times, Dan Daly has been writing about pro football for more than thirty years and is the winner of numerous awards. His book (with Bob O’Donnell) The Pro Football Chronicle was judged one of the “truly fine books about the sport” by ESPN.com’s Rob Neyer.
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Table of Contents

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xv

1 The 1920s 1

2 The 1930s 63

3 The 1940s 157

4 The 1950s 247

5 The 1960s 315

Afterword 377

Appendix 385

A Note about Sources 395

Bibliography 397

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2012

    Highly enjoyable! This was one of the most interesting books abo

    Highly enjoyable! This was one of the most interesting books about sports, not just football, that I have ever read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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