Brown's Town: 20 Famous Browns Talk Amongst Themselves by Alan Natali
"A figure of icy resolve," he was called. Dictatorial and remote, he once scolded a player for yawning during halftime and cut rookies for the sin of slovenly attire. He was compared to both Thomas Jefferson and an undertaker. Paul Brown, the son of an Ohio railroad dispatcher, entered professional football in 1946 by way of Ohio State (where he won a national title) and Massillon High (where he developed the best prep team in America) and immediately set about applying modern corporate practices to what was a loose, almost intramural game. In his time, he singlehandedly revolutionized it-its management, its expression, and its technology.
He invented the facemask, the messenger guard, detailed playbooks, and broke the major sport color line a year before Jackie Robinson entered major league baseball. "I take colored boys because I think they can win for me," he said, after signing Bill Willis. His original Browns in the All-American Conference are considered the greatest talent roundup in the history of pro sports. Through the minds, hearts, and voices of some of the best loved Browns, Alan Natali follows his best-selling Woody's Boys with a sprawling testament to the man, team, and era that made pro football into America's sport. In his second "voice biography" of iconic American coaches, Natali gives us a carefully constructed portrait of one of the most complex and significant figures in the history of American sport. Through his own eloquent prose and the detailed voices of nearly two dozen players, Gary Collins, Dante Lavelli, Dick Schafrath, Otto Graham and more, Natali has also given us a fascinating mosaic of team personalities, the saga of the Cleveland Browns, theevolution of professional football-and American society at mid-century. Illustrated by artist Greg Storer. Indexed.