The winter of 1958-59 was the most pivotal period in the history of professional football.
It started with the Baltimore Colts defeating the New York Giants for the National Football League Championship, 23-17, in the first ever overtime game in the history of football.
Over the next three months, several events transpired that resulted in pro football being changed forever and for the good.
None of those moments seemed to be all that important in the history of the game as they unfolded.
The ramification of the first of these, the title game between Baltimore and New York, would not be realized for years to come. That contest was viewed by a national audience, sending ratings sky-rocketing and waking up officials in the NFL and in the board rooms of the three television networks at the time. They all saw the big dollar signs dancing before their eyes. The networks saw big bucks in advertising revenue, while football magnates saw a steady flow of income that put all of their franchises on solid financial footing forever.
A couple of outsiders with foresight saw the same economic potential of pro football. Lamar Hunt and Bud Adams, two millionaires from Texas, wanted to join the NFL as owners of expansion teams to be located in Dallas and Houston. When they were snubbed by the existing league, they came together and decided to form their own league and call it the American Football League.
The interaction by the big shots completely over shadowed one minor event that happened right under their noses.
This book, the fifth in the series, The History of the Green Bay Packers, reveals how important that juncture in time was, not only in the history of a small-town football team, but in the overall history of professional football. Two men met in secret. One was Dominic Olejniczak, the president of the faltering Green Bay Packers. The other was Vincent Thomas Lombardi, the offensive coach of the New York Giants.
Green Bay needed a King Arthur to lead their football knights. Olejniczak saw Lombardi as that man.
No one at this time in the history of pro football knew how Vince Lombardi would perform as a head coach. Not even Lombardi. He only wanted a chance to prove himself in the big time. Olejniczak offered him that chance.
Both men were taking huge risks. If Lombardi failed to resurrect the Packers after more than a decade of futility, Oleniczak would lose his job of directing the business end of the Packers. As for Lombardi, failure meant he might never get a second chance at being a head coach on any level. To both men, failure was not an option.
Looking back over Lombardi's past, Fate seemed to be directing him to this job in little Green Bay. To those who knew him well, taking the job in Wisconsin was Lombardi's Destiny.
About the Author
"The day I met John Torinus, Sr., was the day I began focusing on the fascinating history of the Green Bay Packers." John's first hand stories about the Packers sparked Names into digging deep into researching the history of the most unique sports franchise in the world. He has made it his mission to separate fact from fiction and tell the real story of the history of the Green Bay Packers.
Larry Names has had 44 titles published to date, 28 novels, and the remainder non-fiction all dealing with sports teams or sports figures. He is a recognized authority on the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox.
He resides in central Wisconsin with his wife Peg on a family farm that has been in his wife’s family since 1854. They have a son, Torry and a daughter, Tegan, a klepto-cat - Cleo, an escape-artist palomino named Lucky Moondancer, an Arabian mare named Amerrah, a Tennesee Walker named Windy and an award-winning Arabian stud colt named Micah.
Larry has four children from his first marriage: daughter Sigrid, an author in her own rite; son Paul; daughter Kristin, an award-winning screenwriter; and daughter Sonje. He also has 17 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
The author was born in Mishawaka, Indiana and has lived in nine different states during his life and went to eleven schools growing up and three colleges after serving his country in the Navy. He is an avid researcher, genealogist, and traveler.
For more information about Larry Names and his books, go to www.larrynames.com
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