A Nearly Perfect Season: The Inside Story of the 1984 San Francisco 49ers

Rowman & Littlefield
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The San Francisco 49ers entered the 1984 season determined to erase the memory of their three point loss to the Washington Redskins in the NFC Championship Game the year before. Nineteen games later, they had not only won the Super Bowl, they had redefined NFL history by becoming the first team to win 18 games in a single season. Led by Hall of Fame head coach Bill Walsh and future Hall of Fame players Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, and Fred Dean, the 1984 San Francisco 49ers finished the season with just one defeat.

A Nearly Perfect Season: The Inside Story of the 1984San Francisco 49ers chronicles the story of one of the greatest teams in NFL history. Through in-depth research and extensive interviews, Chris Willis details every aspect of this memorable season, from the preseason training camp through Super Bowl XIX. Inside stories from the 49ers are brought to life in colorful detail, including Joe Montana’s penchant for stealing teammates’ bikes during camp, the players’ pre-game superstitions, and what went on in the 49ers’ locker room before Super Bowl XIX. In addition, Chris Willis had complete access to Bill Walsh’s game plans and meeting tapes, revealing the intense preparation the coach and his staff went through to give their team the greatest chance for success on the field.

Featuring original interviews with more than 30 players from the team—including Dwaine Board, Roger Craig, Fred Dean, Keith Fahnhorst, Riki Ellison, Guy McIntyre, and Keena Turner—and interviews with the coaches and the general manager, this book provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes account of a season to remember.
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About the author

Chris Willis has worked at NFL Films as the head of the research library since 1996. He has written multiple books on early pro football, including Old Leather: An Oral History of Early Pro Football in Ohio, 1920–1935 (2005), The Columbus Panhandles: A Complete History of Pro Football’s Toughest Team, 1900–1922 (2007), The Man Who Built the National Football League: Joe F. Carr (2010), and Dutch Clark: The Life of an NFL Legend and the Birth of the Detroit Lions (2012), all published by Scarecrow Press.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Rowman & Littlefield
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Published on
Jul 16, 2014
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9781442236424
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Language
English
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Genres
Sports & Recreation / Football
Sports & Recreation / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Founded in 1920, the National Football League chose famed athlete Jim Thorpe as its first president, a position he held briefly until a successor was elected. From 1921 to 1939, Joe F. Carr guided the sport of professional football with intelligence, hard work, and a passion that built the foundation of what the NFL has become: the number one sports organization in the world. During his eighteen-year tenure as NFL President, Carr created the organization's first Constitution & By-Laws; implemented the standard player's contract; wrote the NFL's first-ever Record and Fact Book; helped split the NFL into two divisions and establish the NFL's World Championship Game; started keeping league statistics; and developed the NFL Draft. But Carr's greatest achievement was creating a vision for the NFL as a big-city sport. By skillfully recruiting financially capable owners to operate NFL franchises in big market cities, he created the solid foundation for the league's successful future.

While the sport has grown to unheard of heights, Carr's name and accomplishments have been lost and forgotten. The Man Who Built the National Football League: Joe F. Carr captures the life and career of this pivotal figure in professional sports, chronicling the many achievements of a man whose vision helped shaped what the NFL is today. With unlimited access and complete cooperation from the Carr family—including family interviews, personal letters, and family photos—as well as NFL League Minutes, Willis recounts the fascinating life and career of a man dedicated to the game.
In 1901 workers at the Panhandle shops of the Pennsylvania Railroad in Columbus, Ohio formed a professional football team called the Columbus Panhandles. The railroad workers, mainly European immigrants, learned the game of football not on college gridirons, but on the sandlots of railroad yards during their lunch breaks. With the leadership of an innovative team manager and its tough physical play, the Panhandles went on to play for more than twenty years as one of the most successful teams in the rag-tag days of professional football.

Incorporating original interviews and actual newspaper accounts, Chris Willis recreates the largely forgotten story of this unique squad of men. In The Columbus Panhandles: A Complete History of Pro Football's Toughest Team, 1900-1922, Willis shows how team manager, future NFL commissioner Joseph Carr, used the perks of free railroad travel for employees and the gate attraction of the famous Nesser brothers to build pro football's most successful traveling team. Season by season, Willis provides a fascinating account of the team's spectacular triumphs and crushing losses.

Full of wonderful newspaper quotes, entertaining anecdotes, and many original photos, The Columbus Panhandles also profiles a number of principle figures in the team's history, most notably manager Joe Carr and the six Nesser brothers who comprised the heart of the squad for many years. Written to honor the legacy of the Columbus Panhandles, this book will be of interest to historians, sportswriters and general football fans eager to learn about the early days of professional football.
From the moment these two players took the court on opposing sides, they engaged in a fierce physical and psychological battle. Their uncommonly competitive relationship came to symbolize the most compelling rivalry in the NBA. These were the basketball epics of the 1980s — Celtics vs Lakers, East vs West, physical vs finesse, Old School vs Showtime, even white vs black. Each pushed the other to greatness — together Bird and Johnson collected eight NBA Championships, six MVP awards and helped save the floundering NBA at its most critical time. When it started they were bitter rivals, but along the way they became lifelong friends.  

With intimate, fly-on-the-wall detail, When the Game Was Ours transports readers to this electric era of basketball and reveals for the first time the inner workings of two players dead set on besting one another. From the heady days of trading championships to the darker days of injury and illness, we come to understand Larry’s obsessive devotion to winning and how his demons drove him on the court. We hear him talk with candor about playing through chronic pain and its truly exacting toll. In Magic we see a young, invincible star struggle with the sting of defeat, not just as a player but as a team leader.  We are there the moment he learns he’s contracted HIV and hear in his own words how that devastating news impacted his relationships in basketball and beyond. But always, in both cases, we see them prevail.

A compelling, up-close-and-personal portrait of basketball’s most inimitable duo, When the Game Was Ours is a reevaluation of three decades in counterpoint. It is also a rollicking ride through professional basketball’s best times.

In 1901 workers at the Panhandle shops of the Pennsylvania Railroad in Columbus, Ohio formed a professional football team called the Columbus Panhandles. The railroad workers, mainly European immigrants, learned the game of football not on college gridirons, but on the sandlots of railroad yards during their lunch breaks. With the leadership of an innovative team manager and its tough physical play, the Panhandles went on to play for more than twenty years as one of the most successful teams in the rag-tag days of professional football.

Incorporating original interviews and actual newspaper accounts, Chris Willis recreates the largely forgotten story of this unique squad of men. In The Columbus Panhandles: A Complete History of Pro Football's Toughest Team, 1900-1922, Willis shows how team manager, future NFL commissioner Joseph Carr, used the perks of free railroad travel for employees and the gate attraction of the famous Nesser brothers to build pro football's most successful traveling team. Season by season, Willis provides a fascinating account of the team's spectacular triumphs and crushing losses.

Full of wonderful newspaper quotes, entertaining anecdotes, and many original photos, The Columbus Panhandles also profiles a number of principle figures in the team's history, most notably manager Joe Carr and the six Nesser brothers who comprised the heart of the squad for many years. Written to honor the legacy of the Columbus Panhandles, this book will be of interest to historians, sportswriters and general football fans eager to learn about the early days of professional football.
Founded in 1920, the National Football League chose famed athlete Jim Thorpe as its first president, a position he held briefly until a successor was elected. From 1921 to 1939, Joe F. Carr guided the sport of professional football with intelligence, hard work, and a passion that built the foundation of what the NFL has become: the number one sports organization in the world. During his eighteen-year tenure as NFL President, Carr created the organization's first Constitution & By-Laws; implemented the standard player's contract; wrote the NFL's first-ever Record and Fact Book; helped split the NFL into two divisions and establish the NFL's World Championship Game; started keeping league statistics; and developed the NFL Draft. But Carr's greatest achievement was creating a vision for the NFL as a big-city sport. By skillfully recruiting financially capable owners to operate NFL franchises in big market cities, he created the solid foundation for the league's successful future.

While the sport has grown to unheard of heights, Carr's name and accomplishments have been lost and forgotten. The Man Who Built the National Football League: Joe F. Carr captures the life and career of this pivotal figure in professional sports, chronicling the many achievements of a man whose vision helped shaped what the NFL is today. With unlimited access and complete cooperation from the Carr family—including family interviews, personal letters, and family photos—as well as NFL League Minutes, Willis recounts the fascinating life and career of a man dedicated to the game.
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