Football: Great Writing about the National Sport

Football: Great Writing about the National Sport

by John Schulian (Editor)


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Now in paperback, the definitive anthology about the sport that dominates our culture.

Since football’s meteoric rise in the mid-twentieth century, the standout writers on the sport—an All-Pro line-up that includes Red Smith, Frank Deford, Jimmy Breslin, George Plimpton, Richard Price, Charles Pierce, Michael Lewis, and Roy Blount Jr—have gone behind and beyond the spectacle to reveal the complexity, the contradictions, and the deeper humanity at the heart of the game.

In this landmark collection, which the San Francisco Chronicle called “the finest football volume of all time” and Men’s Journal “the ultimate football reading list,” The Library of America and editor John Schulian bring together the very best of their work: gems of deadline reportage, incisive long-form profiles of football’s storied figures, and autobiographical accounts by players and others close to the game. Celebrating the sport without shying away from its sometimes devastating personal and social costs, the forty-four pieces gathered here testify to football’s boundless capacity to generate outsized characters and memorable tales. With a new preface by John Schulian.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781598534177
Publisher: Library of America
Publication date: 05/12/2015
Pages: 490
Sales rank: 230,006
Product dimensions: 9.20(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

JOHN SCHULIAN  was a sports columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and Philadelphia Daily News before moving to Hollywood, where he was, among other things, the co-creator of Xena: Warrior Princess. With George Kimball, he co-edited the Library of America anthology At the Fights. He is the author most recently of Sometimes They Even Shook Your Hand: Portraits of Champions Who Walked Among Us.

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The Ghost of the Gridiron: Red Grange Could Carry the Ball by W. C. HEINZ

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Copyright © 2015 John Schulian.
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Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Edition ix

Introduction John Schulian xi

Grantland Rice from The Tumult and the Shouting 1

The Ghost of the Gridiron W. C. Heinz 4

from The Game That Was: Johnny Blood Myron Cope 17

The Redskins' Longest Day Shirley Povich 25

The Most Important Thing Red Smith 28

The Lost Cause 30

from A Fan's Notes Frederick Exley 34

from Iron Men: Pat Summerall Stuart Leuthner 38

Moment of Truth Gary Smith 47

The Best There Ever Was Frank Deford 65

Concrete Charlie John Schulian 71

from When Pride Still Mattered David Maraniss 85

Greatness Jimmy Cannon 91

…The One Last Good One That Wasn't to Be Jimmy Breslin 94

from Paper Lion George Plimpton 102

An Upside-Down Game Dan Jenkins 112

A Whistle-Stop School with Big-Time Talent Jerry Izenberg 119

from Instant Replay Jerry Kramer Dick Schaap 135

from Fifth Quarter Jennifer Allen 144

Gale Sayers: The Hard Road Back Al Silverman 155

Don't Look Now… but the Funny Little League is No. 1 Jim Murray 167

from … And Every Day You Take Another Bite Larry Merchant 170

Butkus Arthur Kretchmer 179

Yesterday's Hero Paul Hemphill 203

Tom Landry: Melting the Plastic Man Gary Cart Wright 213

Smith Hates for It to End Like This Tom Archdeacon 224

Bear Bryant's Miracles Richard Price 229

A Matter of Life, and Sudden Death Rick Reilly 246

A Miracle in Miami Leigh Montville 259

from Friday Night Lights H. G. Bissinger 263

No Pain, No Game Mark Kram 272

Legends of the Fall Charles P. Pierce 285

The Minority Quarterback Ira Berkow 294

Flesh and Blood Peter Richmond 314

The Best Years of His Life John Ed Bradley 328

Pulled Pork & Pigskin: A Love Letter to Southern Football Wright Thompson 341

Atkins a Study in Pride and Pain Rick Telander 351

Broncos Earn Respect With Improbable Victory Pat Forde 355

The Kick Is Up and It's… a Career Killer Michael Lewis 360

G-L-O-R-Y! Jeanne Marie Laskas 377

from Slow Getting Up Nate Jackson 395

The Ferocious Life and Tragic Death of a Super Bowl Star Paul Solotaroff 401

Friday Night Tykes Bryan Curtis 413

Immaculate Memory Roy Blount Jr. 435

Sources and Acknowledgments 447

Index 451

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