America's Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured a Nation

America's Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured a Nation

Paperback Vintage

By (author) Michael MacCambridge

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  • Publisher: Anchor Books
  • Format: Paperback | 558 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 198mm x 36mm | 567g
  • Publication date: 18 October 2005
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 0375725067
  • ISBN 13: 9780375725067
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: 16 PP B&W
  • Sales rank: 283,688

Product description

It's difficult to imagine today--when the Super Bowl has virtually become a national holiday and the National Football League is the country's dominant sports entity--but pro football was once a ramshackle afterthought on the margins of the American sports landscape. In the span of a single generation in postwar America, the game charted an extraordinary rise in popularity, becoming a smartly managed, keenly marketed sports entertainment colossus whose action is ideally suited to television and whose sensibilities perfectly fit the modern age.America's Game traces pro football's grand transformation, from the World War II years, when the NFL was fighting for its very existence, to the turbulent 1980s and 1990s, when labor disputes and off-field scandals shook the game to its core, and up to the sport's present-day preeminence. A thoroughly entertaining account of the entire universe of professional football, from locker room to boardroom, from playing field to press box, this is an essential book for any fan of America's favorite sport.

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Author information

Michael MacCambridge is the author of "The Franchise: A History of Sports Illustrated Magazine," and the editor of the bestselling "ESPN SportsCentury." He worked for eight years as a columnist and critic at the "Austin American-Statesman," writing about movies, music, and popular culture. He lives with his wife, Danica Frost, and their children, Miles and Ella, in University City, Missouri. "From the Hardcover edition."

Review quote

"A gem . . . Amazing. . . . MacCambridge is a master storyteller." -"Sports Illustrated""MacCambridge paints a moving account of the game's rise in popularity as well as American society at large. For anyone who cares about a good story well told, MacCambridge's "America's Game" hits all the right notes." -"Fort Worth Star-Telegram""An expansive and detailed history of the N.F.L....MacCambridge deftly integrates well-chosen accounts of games with profiles of league visionaries and tales of television negotiations and internal meetings...MacCambridge combines prodigious interviewing and research with a savvy use of anecdotes."--"New York Times""Book Review""A thorough, admirably researched and exceptionally interesting account of football's rise to its present eminence."--"Washington Post""Book World""MacCambridge's sweeping history of pro football starts just before WWII, when the National Football League was still largely a regional organization, and ends with Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction at Super Bowl XXXVIII. Though there are plenty of vivid descriptions of remarkable games, what sets this chronicle apart from a slew of other recent football books is the depth and breadth of its stories about players, coaches and owners...This magisterial history is a fitting acknowledgment of the sport's legacy."--"Publishers Weekly""America's Game tells the beguiling story of pro football-from Johnny Unitas's high-topped shoes to Janet Jackson's exposed breast. It is both rollicking and scholarly, definitive and distinctive. You will never find more concise or pleasurable portraits of some of the names that are already storied, including Vince Lombardi, Pete Rozelle, Jim Brown, and Joe Namath, and some giants of the game whose luster is harder to recall, including Bert Bell, Kenny Washington, Ed Sabol, and George Allen. It is indispensable to understanding pro football, and a wonderful enhancement to enjoying it."-SCOTT SIMON, host, NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday"The au

Flap copy

It's difficult to imagine today-when the Super Bowl has virtually become a national holiday and the National Football League is the country's dominant sports entity-but pro football was once a ramshackle afterthought on the margins of the American sports landscape. Yet in the span of a single generation in postwar America, the game charted an extraordinary rise in popularity, becoming a smartly managed, keenly marketed sports entertainment colossus whose action is ideally suited to television and whose sensibilities perfectly fit the modern age. Pro football's ascent is an epic American story, and "America's Game does it full justice. Beginning with the World War II years, when the NFL was fighting for its very existence, Michael MacCambridge traces the game's grand transformation, with particular attention paid to six key franchises-the Rams, Browns, Colts, Cowboys, Chiefs, and Raiders-and how their fortunes reflected the larger growth of the game itself. Along the way we meet the sport's legendary architects, men such as Pete Rozelle, George "Papa Bear" Halas, Bert Bell, Tex Schramm, and Lamar Hunt, as well as a wide range of its memorable characters-including Johnny Unitas, Paul Brown, Vince Lombardi, Jim Brown, Al Davis, Joe Namath, Bill Walsh, and Deion Sanders. In the process we witness the rivalries, the games themselves, and the passion that have made professional football the nation's signature sport. MacCambridge continues the story through the turbulent 1980s and 1990s, when labor disputes and off-field scandals shook the game to its core, and up to the sport's present-day preeminence under Paul Tagliabue. The unique portrait of the modern game's inner workings andrelentless competitiveness sheds light on contemporary stars such as Ray Lewis and Peyton Manning, as well as on the men whose leadership skills are scrutinized and second-guessed by much of the country, celebrated coaches such as Bill Parcells, Dick Vermeil, Tony Dungy, and Brian Billick. Magisterial and sweeping, definitive and unprecedented in scope, "America's Game is cultural history at its finest. A thoroughly entertaining account of the entire universe of professional football, from locker room to boardroom, from playing field to press box, it is a unique lens through which to view the past sixty years of American history. "From the Hardcover edition.