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Pigskin: the Early Years of Pro Football

by Peterson, Robert W.

  • ISBN: 9780195076073
  • ISBN10: 0195076079

Pigskin: the Early Years of Pro Football

by Peterson, Robert W.

  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publish date: 12/05/1996
  • ISBN: 9780195076073
  • ISBN10: 0195076079
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Description: In Pigskin, Robert W. Peterson presents a lively and informative overview of the early years of pro football - from the late 1880s to the television era. Peterson describes the colorful beginnings of the pro game and its outstanding teams (the Green Bay Packers, the New York Giants, the Chicago Bears, the Baltimore Colts), and the great games they played. Profiles of the most famous players of the era - including Pudge Heffelfinger (the first certifiable professional), Jim Thorpe, Red Grange, Bronko Nagurski, and Fritz Pollard (the NFL's first black star) - bring the history of the game to life. Peterson also takes us back to the roots of the pro game, showing how professionalism began when some stars for Yale, Harvard, and Princeton took money - under the table, of course - for their services to alma mater. After the NFL formed in 1920, pro football's popularity grew gradually but steadily. It burst into national prominence with the Bears-Redskins championship game of 1940. As one sportswriter put it: "The weather was perfect. So were the Bears". The final score was 73-0. Peterson shows how, after World War II, the newly-created All America Football Conference challenged the NFL. Though dominated by a gritty Cleveland team, the AAFC was never viewed by NFL teams as much of a threat. That is, not until 1950 when the two leagues merged, bringing about the Cleveland Browns-Philadelphia Eagles game in which the Browns buried the Eagles 35-10. An elegy to a time when, for many players, the game was at least as important as the money it brought them (which wasn't much), Pigskin takes readers up to the 1958 championship game when the Baltimore Colts beat the New York Giants in overtime. Bythat time, the great popularity of the game had moved from newspapers and radio to television, and pro football had finally arrived as a major sport.
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