cover image NFL Heroes: The 100 Greatest Players of All Time

NFL Heroes: The 100 Greatest Players of All Time

George Johnson and Allan Maki. Firefly, $35 (256p) ISBN 978-0-22810-280-9

Journalists Johnson and Maki celebrate the NFL’s 100th anniversary in this impressive ranking of what the authors consider to be the best athletes ever to play professional football. After a preliminary alphabetical ranking of the top 10, (among them Jerry Rice, Deacon Jones, and Tom Brady), Johnson and Maki dive into a century’s worth of star players, and pay ample attention to the less-glamorous positions of centers and safeties. Their focus remains predominantly on stars of the past half century, with Ezekiel Elliott (though allegations of domestic violence against him receive only a scant paragraph) and DeShaun Watson making appearances. Johnson and Maki provide anecdotes about players’ lives, giving opportunities to evaluate the character of each individual beyond his impressive statistics (“37-year-old [Larry] Fitzgerald is a self-proclaimed ‘ student of life ’”). Complete with quality photographs and a thoughtful introduction that marks how the NFL has adapted to cultural changes over the years, Johnson and Maki’s book would be a welcome debate-starter for any NFL fan. (Oct.)