Montana: The Biography of Football's Joe Cool

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As long as football is played, Joe Montana will be synonymous with the heart-pounding rally. Seemingly impervious to the pressure of a scoreboard deficit, the quarterback known as Joe Cool brought a steadying calm to every huddle, especially when the situation seemed especially dire. His reputation for miracles began to take root at the University of Notre Dame. In the 1979 Cotton Bowl, he overcame the flu, hypothermia and a 22-point deficit to lead the Fighting Irish to a stunning victory over Houston. This narrative continued in the NFL, as he engineered 31 fourth-quarter comebacks, including victories known in professional football lore as The Catch and The Drive, forever casting his career in a heroic glow.

In MONTANA, acclaimed author Keith Dunnavant sketches the definitive portrait of a man who repeatedly defied the odds, on and off the field.

While leading the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowl championships over a nine-year period, establishing a new standard for passing efficiency, and twice earning the league's Most Valuable Player award, Montana became the signature quarterback of the 1980s and one of the greatest ever to play the game. Overcoming his own limitations, which caused him to be underrated coming out of Notre Dame, he quickly mastered Bill Walsh's West Coast Offense, and thereby, helped reinvent offensive football.

But it was rarely easy. Like the rallies he so often produced, his life was filled with the sort of tension that made his journey seem routinely dramatic: The father who pushed him. The high school coach who challenged his commitment. The college coach who very nearly squandered him. The back surgery that almost ended his career. The younger athlete who tried to take his job.

Rich an anecdotal detail, insight and context, MONTANA is a powerful story about a man who was defined by his intense competitiveness, and how this intangibly helped him become one of the ionic figures in football history.

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About the author

Keith Dunnavant is the author of several books, including The Missing Ring and definitive biographies of football icons Paul "Bear" Bryant and Bart Starr. The founder of four magazines and the director of the documentary film Three Days at Foster, Dunnavant was an award-winning writer and editor for The National, Adweek, Sport, and Atlanta. His expertise on football history has been featured on ESPN, CBS, HBO and Showtime. Dunnavant lives near Atlanta.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Macmillan
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Published on
Oct 27, 2015
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781250017864
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Sports
Sports & Recreation / Football
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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"Keith Dunnavant's triumph is that he takes us into the heart of Alabama, into the darkness and the light, and there we see Joe Namath, Kenny Stabler, Ray Perkins, and their band of brothers play football for Bear Bryant the way life should be lived, at full throttle, indomitably."
---Dave Kindred, author of Sound and Fury: Two Powerful Lives, One Fateful Friendship

The Missing Ring is more than a football book. It is both a story of a changing era and of an extraordinary team on a championship quest.

Very few institutions in American sports can match the enduring excellence of the University of Alabama football program. Across a wide swath of the last century, the tradition-rich Crimson Tide has claimed twelve national championships, captured twenty-five conference titles, finished thirty-four times among the country's top ten, and played in fifty-three bowl games.

Especially dominant during the era of the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant, the larger-than-life figure who towered over the landscape like no man before or since, Alabama entered the 1966 season with the chance to become the first college football team to win three consecutive national championships. Every aspect of Bryant's grueling system was geared around competing for the big prize each and every year, and in 1966 the idea of the threepeat tantalized the players, pushing them toward greatness. Driven by Bryant's enthusiasm, dedication, and perseverance, players were made to believe in their team and themselves. Led by the electrifying force of quarterback Kenny "Snake" Stabler and one of the most punishing defenses in the storied annals of the Southeastern Conference, the Crimson Tide cruised to a magical season, finishing as the nation's only undefeated, untied team. But something happened on the way to the history books.

The Missing Ring is the story of the one that got away, the one that haunts Alabama fans still, and native Alabamian Keith Dunnavant takes readers deep inside the Crimson Tide program during a more innocent time, before widespread telecasting, before scholarship limitations, before end-zone dances. Meticulously revealing the strategies, tactics, and personal dramas that bring the overachieving boys of 1966 to life, Dunnavant's insightful, anecdotally rich narrative shows how Bryant molded a diverse group of young men into a powerful force that overcame various obstacles to achieve perfection in an imperfect world.

Set against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, the still-escalating Vietnam War, and a world and a sport teetering on the brink of change in a variety of ways, The Missing Ring tells an important story about the collision between football and culture. Ultimately, it is this clash that produces the Crimson Tide's most implacable foe, enabling the greatest injustice in college football history.

The definitive portrait of Paul “Bear” Bryant, the most successful college football coach in history.

Just five weeks after coaching his final football game for the University of Alabama, Paul “Bear” Bryant passed away. The impact he had on the state of Alabama and the entire college football world cannot be overstated.

For twenty-five years as the head coach of the Crimson Tide, and thirteen years before that at Maryland, Kentucky, and Texas A&M, Bear Bryant’s outsized personality and deep charisma made him the dominant figure in the world of college football, turning boys with ordinary talent but extraordinary heart into winners—both on the gridiron and off.

At Alabama, Bear Bryant would go on to become the winningest coach of all time, achieving the best record in the country in both the 60s and 70s. He is the only coach to win national championships with both segregated teams and integrated ones. His secret lay not in any strategic brilliance he brought to the game, but in his gift for molding individual talents into a cohesive unit that could achieve far more than the sum of its parts would suggest.

That ability made him a great coach, but to many, Bryant represented more than just a coach: He was everything a southern gentleman was supposed to be—tough, principled, charismatic, modest in victory yet quick to assume blame in defeat, and as mindful of where he’d come from as where he was going.

Coach is not only about the man and his tremendous ability to succeed, it’s also a tribute to the South and the legacy Coach Bryant left behind. In a divisive era, Bryant gave Alabamians something to be proud of. And, he was simply the greatest football coach of all times.
A powerful biography of one of the greatest football players of all time, in the spirit of Namath and Johnny U

No quarterback in the history of the NFL can match Bart Starr's record of achievement. In an unprecedented seven-season run from 1961–67, Starr led the Green Bay Packers to five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowl titles, while revolutionizing the position and laying the foundation for the quarterbacks of today. Yet until now this quiet man's remarkable career has often been obscured by the Lombardi mystique.

Acclaimed author Keith Dunnavant brings Starr's dramatic journey to life in vivid detail, sketching the definitive portrait of an iconic figure who defined the quarterback position during the 1960s, when professional football stormed out of the shadows to capture the nation's imagination. A remarkable blend of personal memory and historical narrative, Bart Starr is a compelling biography of an American hero and the perfect companion to the classic When Pride Still Mattered.

"A definitive biography of the best man ever to take a snap from center." --Allen Barra, Dallas Morning News

"One of the best sports history books you will read." —NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell



"An ode to stoicism, modesty and discipline—the virtues that made the Packers' dynasty." —Mark Kriegel, New York Times bestselling author of Namath

"Allowing no room for debate, Dunnavant shows that Starr was the indispensable man in the creation of the Green Bay Packers dynasty." -- Dave Kindred, author of Morning Madness

"An absolute masterpiece .... Hands down, the best sports book of the year." --Paul Finebaum, Radio Talk Show Host

"Keith Dunnavant's triumph is that he takes us into the heart of Alabama, into the darkness and the light, and there we see Joe Namath, Kenny Stabler, Ray Perkins, and their band of brothers play football for Bear Bryant the way life should be lived, at full throttle, indomitably."
---Dave Kindred, author of Sound and Fury: Two Powerful Lives, One Fateful Friendship

The Missing Ring is more than a football book. It is both a story of a changing era and of an extraordinary team on a championship quest.

Very few institutions in American sports can match the enduring excellence of the University of Alabama football program. Across a wide swath of the last century, the tradition-rich Crimson Tide has claimed twelve national championships, captured twenty-five conference titles, finished thirty-four times among the country's top ten, and played in fifty-three bowl games.

Especially dominant during the era of the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant, the larger-than-life figure who towered over the landscape like no man before or since, Alabama entered the 1966 season with the chance to become the first college football team to win three consecutive national championships. Every aspect of Bryant's grueling system was geared around competing for the big prize each and every year, and in 1966 the idea of the threepeat tantalized the players, pushing them toward greatness. Driven by Bryant's enthusiasm, dedication, and perseverance, players were made to believe in their team and themselves. Led by the electrifying force of quarterback Kenny "Snake" Stabler and one of the most punishing defenses in the storied annals of the Southeastern Conference, the Crimson Tide cruised to a magical season, finishing as the nation's only undefeated, untied team. But something happened on the way to the history books.

The Missing Ring is the story of the one that got away, the one that haunts Alabama fans still, and native Alabamian Keith Dunnavant takes readers deep inside the Crimson Tide program during a more innocent time, before widespread telecasting, before scholarship limitations, before end-zone dances. Meticulously revealing the strategies, tactics, and personal dramas that bring the overachieving boys of 1966 to life, Dunnavant's insightful, anecdotally rich narrative shows how Bryant molded a diverse group of young men into a powerful force that overcame various obstacles to achieve perfection in an imperfect world.

Set against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, the still-escalating Vietnam War, and a world and a sport teetering on the brink of change in a variety of ways, The Missing Ring tells an important story about the collision between football and culture. Ultimately, it is this clash that produces the Crimson Tide's most implacable foe, enabling the greatest injustice in college football history.

The definitive portrait of Paul “Bear” Bryant, the most successful college football coach in history.

Just five weeks after coaching his final football game for the University of Alabama, Paul “Bear” Bryant passed away. The impact he had on the state of Alabama and the entire college football world cannot be overstated.

For twenty-five years as the head coach of the Crimson Tide, and thirteen years before that at Maryland, Kentucky, and Texas A&M, Bear Bryant’s outsized personality and deep charisma made him the dominant figure in the world of college football, turning boys with ordinary talent but extraordinary heart into winners—both on the gridiron and off.

At Alabama, Bear Bryant would go on to become the winningest coach of all time, achieving the best record in the country in both the 60s and 70s. He is the only coach to win national championships with both segregated teams and integrated ones. His secret lay not in any strategic brilliance he brought to the game, but in his gift for molding individual talents into a cohesive unit that could achieve far more than the sum of its parts would suggest.

That ability made him a great coach, but to many, Bryant represented more than just a coach: He was everything a southern gentleman was supposed to be—tough, principled, charismatic, modest in victory yet quick to assume blame in defeat, and as mindful of where he’d come from as where he was going.

Coach is not only about the man and his tremendous ability to succeed, it’s also a tribute to the South and the legacy Coach Bryant left behind. In a divisive era, Bryant gave Alabamians something to be proud of. And, he was simply the greatest football coach of all times.
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