So concluded the National Football League in a December 2005 scientific paper on concussions in America’s most popular sport. That judgment, implausible even to a casual fan, also contradicted the opinion of a growing cadre of neuroscientists who worked in vain to convince the NFL that it was facing a deadly new scourge: A chronic brain disease that was driving an alarming number of players -- including some of the all-time greats -- to madness.
League of Denial reveals how the NFL, over a period of nearly two decades, sought to cover up and deny mounting evidence of the connection between football and brain damage.
Comprehensively, and for the first time, award-winning ESPN investigative reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru tell the story of a public health crisis that emerged from the playing fields of our 21st century pastime. Everyone knew that football is violent and dangerous. But what the players who built the NFL into a $10 billion industry didn’t know – and what the league sought to shield from them – is that no amount of padding could protect the human brain from the force generated by modern football; that the very essence of the game could be exposing these players to brain damage.
In a fast-paced narrative that moves between the NFL trenches, America’s research labs and the boardrooms where the NFL went to war against science, League of Denial examines how the league used its power and resources to attack independent scientists and elevate its own flawed research -- a campaign with echoes of Big Tobacco’s fight to deny the connection between smoking and lung cancer. It chronicles the tragic fates of players like Hall of Fame Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster, who was so disturbed at the time of his death he fantasized about shooting NFL executives; and former Chargers great Junior Seau, whose diseased brain became the target of an unseemly scientific battle between researchers and the NFL. Based on exclusive interviews, previously undisclosed documents and private emails, this is the story of what the NFL knew and when it knew it – questions at the heart of crisis that threatens football, from the highest levels all the way down to Pop Warner.
NCAA football is big business. Every Saturday millions of people file into massive stadiums or tune in on television as "athlete-students" give everything they've got to make their team a success. Billions of dollars now flow into the game. But what is the true cost? The players have no share in the oceans of money. And once the lights go down, the glitter doesn't shine so brightly. Filled with mind-blowing details of major NCAA football scandals, with stops at Ohio State, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Missouri, BYU, LSU, Texas A&M and many more, The System explores and exposes the complex, and perhaps broken, machine that churns behind the glamour of college football.
With a New Afterword
The once-vaunted Green Bay Packers were a laughingstock by the late 1950s. They hadn’t fielded a winning team in more than a decade, and were close to losing their franchise to another city. They were in desperate need of a savior—and he arrived in a wood-paneled station wagon in the dead of winter from New York City.
In a single year, Vince Lombardi—the grizzled coach who took no bull—transformed a team of underachievers into winners and resurrected a Wisconsin city known for its passion for sport. He would lead them to championship to championship, and bring out the best in players including Bart Starr, Jim Taylor, Willie Davis, Forrest Gregg, and many more. From an award-winning sportswriter, That First Season is “a compelling read about perhaps the most compelling coach ever to stride an NFL sideline” (Washington Times).
“Richly detailed in seamless prose, this is historical sportswriting at its finest.”—Lars Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of The Mannings: The Fall and Rise of a Football Family
Bernard Corbett give us the scenes of one of the NFL's most successful
and popular franchises. Interviews with Giants legends who participated
in these historic moments put us behind closed doors in the
commissioner's office during a fixed game in 1946, in the backfield wit
Frank Gifford as the Giants advance to the championship in 1958, and in
the huddle with Eli Manning as he diagrams the play that would result in
the deciding touchdown in the 2008 Super Bowl.
With an eye for
memorable details and historical significance, Baker and Corbett let the
players themselves tell the war stories that all Giants fans love to
relive, and in so doing, construct an engrossing and exciting history of
the team and the sport.
The book will also feature revealing
statistical sidebars and fresh analysis of the games that throw new
light on the history of the team.
“The beauty of Growing Up Gronk is that you never really have to grow up at all. A fascinating look inside a larger-than-life football family.” —Dan Shaughnessy, bestselling author of Francona: The Red Sox Years
It is so statistically unlikely as to be almost unbelievable. Somehow, the Gronkowski family has produced three sons who play in the NFL (Rob, Chris, and Dan), one who was drafted into Major League Baseball (Gordie Jr.), and another who is the starting fullback for Kansas State (Goose). Their father, Gordy, even played college football for Syracuse.
How did it happen? From an early age, Gordy realized the potential his sons had and worked with them to make the most of it. Beyond their monstrous size, physicality, and raw talent, he instilled in them a commitment to fitness, health, drive, and determination that would give his boys a leg up in ways other families simply couldn’t match. And the boys’ motivation certainly wasn’t something solely triggered by a driven father. They were like a pack of adolescent wolves readying themselves for the recruiting hunt. Still, all were honor roll students; the three oldest earned college degrees. Each was motivated and inspired by his brothers. Competition and bragging rights were—and continue to be—a big part of what makes the Gronkowskis tick. Growing Up Gronk reveals the secrets to the Gronkowskis’ astonishing collective success while opening the door to a lively, entertaining, one-of-a-kind household.
Gridiron football is the king of sports – it's the biggest game in the strongest and richest country in the world. Of the twenty most-watched television broadcasts ever, both in the United States and internationally, all twenty were Super Bowls. In The King of Sports, Easterbrook tells the full story of how football became so deeply ingrained in American culture. Both good and bad, he examines its impact on American society at all levels of the game.
The King of Sports explores these and many other topics:
* The real harm done by concussions (it's not to NFL players).
* The real way in which college football players are exploited (it's not by not being paid).
* The way football helps American colleges (it's not bowl revenue) and American cities (it's not Super Bowl wins).
* What happens to players who are used up and thrown away (it's not pretty).
* The hidden scandal of the NFL (it's worse than you think).
Using his year-long exclusive insider access to the Virginia Tech football program, where Frank Beamer has compiled the most victories of any active NFL or major-college head coach while also graduating players, Easterbrook shows how one big university "does football right." Then he reports on what's wrong with football at the youth, high school, college and professional levels. Easterbrook holds up examples of coaches and programs who put the athletes first and still win; he presents solutions to these issues and many more, showing a clear path forward for the sport as a whole. Rich with reporting details from interviews with current and former college and pro football players and coaches, The King of Sports promises to be the most provocative and best-read sports book of the year.
Wisconsin native Phil Hanrahan moved from Los Angeles to Green Bay for the 2008 season. He watched games at Lambeau Field and followed new starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers as he attempted to follow in the footsteps of Favre, a Green Bay immortal. Immersing himself in the worlds of team and town, Hanrahan is reborn a full-blown Cheesehead; living in a hotel that decades earlier had served as the Packers offices, observing training camp practices, interviewing players, attending the Packers’ annual shareholders meeting, tailgating in arctic cold, shoveling snow at Lambeau for $8 an hour, celebrating Packer great Fuzzy Thurston’s 75th birthday at Thurston’s bar, and, at every turn, befriending the scores of die-hard Packers fans he encounters along the way.
Hanrahan also journeys far from Lambeau in his pursuit of adventures in Packer Land. He attends road games in Minneapolis and New Orleans and catches others on TV in small-town Wisconsin taverns. He watches one game in a bar and grill owned by rookie receiver Jordy Nelson’s parents in rural Kansas, another at Mabel Murphy’s, a year-round Packers bar located in Scottsdale, Arizona. He also visits Kiln, Mississippi, Favre’s hometown.
With energy, insight, humor, and vivid color, Life After Favre tells the story of a singular team and town. Hanrahan reveals the incredible scope and breadth of Packer Nation, and in doing so demonstrates how, when you bleed Packer green, even a 6-10 season can be something special.
Question: What is the only team in the four major pro sports that has existed since the early 1960s and never had a coach leave with a winning career record for the team?
Question: What is the only team in sports that plays its home games in a stadium named for another team?
If you bleed green and white, you know the answer to these questions as well as you know the color of Joe Willie Namath's shoes. The New York Jets have a record for futility and self-sabotage that is unmatched in the history of professional sports. And nonetheless, they have been rewarded with a loyal following that has made Jets tickets as hard to come by as Jets winning seasons.
For Jets fans, the bright beacon of promise has always turned into an onrushing train. They reveled in the joy of the Jets' epic victory in Super Bowl III, when their team beat the 18 1/2-point odds to defeat the Baltimore Colts, just as their cocky young quarterback had guaranteed; they then watched as contract squabbles broke up the core of the team, which would reach just one playoff game in the next twelve years. They cheered as their sleek, explosive team roared into the AFC Championship Game in January 1983; the team was held scoreless after overnight rains pelted the uncovered Orange Bowl field, turning the gridiron into a quagmire that favored the defense-oriented Dolphins. They dared to hope when the Jets went on an unprecedented spending spree in 1996, signing a Super Bowl quarterback and adding a host of fleet receivers and experienced linemen; they saw that team go 1-15, as Rich Kotite's Jets career coaching record sank to a jaw-dropping 4-28.
In Gang Green, New York Times sportswriter Gerald Eskenazi details the bizarre history of this remarkable team. From the poor decisions (drafting Ken O'Brien instead of Dan Marino) and bad luck (Joe Namath's knees, Dennis Byrd's near-tragic neck injury) to the horrendous leadership (see Kotite, above) and outright strangeness (team practices held in an open area alongside the Belt Parkway, leRoy Neiman's presence as team artist-in-residence, the Richard Todd/Matt Robinson quarterback duel that wasn't) that have typified the Jets' mystifying approach to football, Gang Green captures the history of this most unusual franchise in a funny, rollicking, nostalgic tale. If you can name the Jet who is the only man in NFL history to run more than 90 yards on a play from scrimmage without scoring; if you remember the glory days of the New York Sack Exchange, when practice was often disrupted by the distracting presence of Mark Gastineau's inamorata, Brigitte Nielsen; if you can still hum the fight song coach Lou Holtz made the team sing after victories -- not that there were enough for them to memorize the lyrics; or if you know which Jets coach told which Jets punter that his flatulence traveled farther than the punter's kicks -- then Gang Green is the book for you.
Since then he has taken on a new role: whistle-blowing, truth-telling reformer. And in telling his own story, Luchs pulls back the curtain on the real economy of college football: how agents win players legally and otherwise, the staggering sums colleges make from an unpaid workforce, the shortfalls of supposed full-ride scholarships, and the myth of a college education given to scholarship jocks. Including new information about major players and scandalized programs such as USC, Auburn, and Ohio State, this book pulls no punches. It's a stunning and necessary read for anyone who loves the game, and the first step toward fixing a broken system.
Praise for Josh Luchs' Sports Illustrated story:
"There are no innocents in all this-including Luchs. The difference now is Luchs isn't claiming to be innocent." -John Feinstein, Washington Post
"[Luchs pulls] the inner workings of an oily business out of the shadows."-Pat Forde, ESPN
"A must-read."-New York Times
A combination of Stephen Hawking and Mike Ditka, physicist and football fan Timothy Gay breaks down the fundamental laws of physics that govern America's most exciting spectator sport. To illustrate the science behind the game, he highlights some of football's recent memorable moments, along with legendary feats from the likes of Franco Harris and Joe Montana.
Did you Know?
Newton's Second Law of Physics proves that Dick Butkushit running backs with the force of a small killer whale.The average force with which a football must be kickedduring kickoff is 450 lbs. But for an instant, the force maybe as much as a ton.Shaun Rogers, firing off the line of scrimmage, can developas much as four horsepower by himself.
For six straight years the SEC has walked off with the big crystal prize and will not give it back. The talk of “big boy football” grinds on the Buckeyes, Sooners, Longhorns, and Ducks. All they can come back with is “Wait until next year.” Then next year comes and the SEC tribe is chanting in the closing minutes of the National Championship Game, “SEC, SEC, SEC!”
The national championship trophy has been in the South for so long it has sunburn. That is why college football is thick with the acrimony: SEC vs. Everyone Else. The dominance of the SEC has a lot more to do with the South’s culture than just the rock-’em, sock-’em of football played one day a week. The South lost the Civil War, and sociologists will tell you that there is still a regional angst, an “us against them” mentality, a spirit of “those damn Yankees.” It is not just about championships. The SEC is about culture and competitiveness. . . . It is about players.
How the SEC Became Goliath provides an inside look at college football’s most dominant conference. Four different schools in the SEC have won the last six championship titles:
Florida vs. Ohio State in 2006
January 8, 2007 • The Zook-Meyer Gators embarrass the Big Ten.
Florida 41 Ohio State 14
LSU vs. Ohio State in 2007
January 7, 2008 • Unbeaten in regulation, the Tigers are good . . . and lucky.
LSU 38 Ohio State 24
Florida vs. Oklahoma in 2008
January 8, 2009 • One of the best teams in history, these Gators are all Meyer’s.
Florida 24 Oklahoma 14
Alabama vs. Texas in 2009
January 7, 2010 • The Tide make it four in a row for the SEC.
Alabama 37 Texas 21
Auburn vs. Oregon in 2010
January 10, 2011 • Cam Newton and Auburn cap a perfect season.
Auburn 22 Oregon 19
Alabama vs. LSU in 2011
January 9, 2012 • Saban wins his third title and the SEC makes it six in a row.
Alabama 21 LSU 0
Navy’s team was ranked number two, Army’s number one and on the verge of becoming national champions. Everywhere, the war stopped as soldiers listened to the broadcast. Randy Roberts has interviewed the surviving players and coaches, bringing their stories to life. For three years, military upperclassmen graduated and joined the fight. For three hours, their alma mater gave them back one unforgettable performance.
“The story of Army’s celebrated 1944 national championship team is a fascinating one, and its victory over Navy that year is remembered as one of college football’s greatest games. But Randy Roberts’s A Team for America tells an even greater story. It is a story of our country. Of a time when college football — and this remarkable Army team — helped rekindle hope and confidence throughout the land.” — Brigadier General Peter M. Dawkins, U.S. Army (Ret.), 1958 Heisman Trophy winner, West Point
"Roberts brings a historian’s thoroughness to the subject . . . A fascinating time in American collegiate sports history." — Kirkus Reviews
According to investigative journalist Dan E. Moldea, for decades the National Football League has had a strong and unspoken understanding with a dangerous institution: organized crime. In his classic exposé, Interference, Moldea bares the dark, sordid underbelly of America’s favorite professional team sport, revealing a nest of corruption that the league has largely ignored since its inception.
Based on intensive research and in-depth interviews with coaches, players, mobsters, bookies, gamblers, referees, and league officials—including some of the sport’s all-time greats—the author’s shocking allegations suggest that the betting line is firmly in the hands of the mob, who occasionally manipulate the on-field action for maximum profit. Interference chronicles a long-standing history of gambling, drugs, and extortion, of point-shaving and game-fixing, and reveals the eye-opening truth about numerous gridiron contests where the final results were determined even before the kickoff. Moldea exposes the mob connections of many of the team owners and their startling complicity in illegal gambling operations, while showing how NFL internal security has managed to quash nearly every investigation into illegality and corruption within the professional football world before it could get off the ground. Provocative, disturbing, and controversial, Interference is a must-read for football fans and detractors alike, offering indisputable proof that what’s really happening on the field, in the locker room, and behind the scenes is a whole different ball game.
After the tourists and jetsetters leave, the cold weather descends, and the local shop owners, carpenters, and fishermen ready themselves for the main event: high school football. For over fifty years, the local teams been locked in a fierce rivalry. They play for pride, a trophy, and very often, a shot at the league championship. Despite their tiny populations, both islands are dangerous on the football field.
In this far-reaching book, James Sullivan tells the story not only of the Whaler-Vineyarder rivalry, but of two places without a country. Filled with empty houses nine months of the year, Nantucket and the Vineyard have long, unique histories that include such oddities as an attempt to secede from the U.S., and the invention of a proprietary sign language. Delving into the rich history of both places, Sullivan paints a picture of a bygone New England, a place that has never stopped fighting for its life--and for the rights to coveted Island Cup.
NEW YORK TIMES reporter Gerald Eskenazi brings us back to 1954, when the New York Giants began a decade of success as an iconic American sports team, winning six division titles between 1954 and 1963. Emerging from years of slumber, going from the Polo Grounds to Yankee Stadium, they produced a crop of hall of fame players whose names still resonate, including Tittle, Gifford, Greer, and Robustelli, making a then $7 New York Giants ticket the toughest to buy in the world of sports.
Filled with personal anecdotes from players and coaches that reconstruct the drama and excitement of the plays and games during that eventful era, Giants fans will be reunited with the players (Robustelli, Huff, Grier, Modzelewski, and Svare on defense; Gifford, Rote, Brown, Shofner, Webster, and Tittle on offense), their rivals (Jim Brown, John Unitas, and others), meet Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry when they were assistant coaches, and relive the 1958 title game against the Baltimore Colts—the first overtime game in National Football League history—which remains in lore as the “greatest game ever played."
Originally published in 1976 and now in eBook for the first time with a new introduction by the author on the Giants of the past 25 years, and their Superbowl championship under Tom Coughlin, THERE WERE GIANTS IN THOSE DAYS is a look back at the decade that defined the New York Giants.