The League: How Five Rivals Created the NFL and Launched a Sports Empire

John Eisenberg. Basic, $30 (400p) ISBN 978-0-465-04870-0
Sportswriter Eisenberg’s enlightening history chronicles the first three decades of the National Football League. As he describes it, today’s multibillion-dollar National Football League bears little resemblance to the underdog association launched in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association in the showroom of an automobile dealership in Canton, Ohio. By 1932, the league consisted of 14 teams, none of them west of Chicago, and professional football was overshadowed by baseball and college football. Thanks to the tenacity of George Halas, the league’s founding father and legendary Chicago Bears owner, and four other team owners—Bert Bell (Philadelphia Eagles), Tim Mara (New York Giants), George Preston Marshall (Washington Redskins), and Art Rooney (Pittsburgh Steelers)—the NFL survived, despite competition with other leagues, public backlash against racially integrated teams (the first African-American player was drafted in 1939), and a lack of players during WWII. The original generation of team owners introduced many elements to the game that still exist today, including the draft and intricate rules relating to ball placement after fumbles and penalties. Drawing on extensive research and personal interviews with descendants of the principle figures, Eisenberg (That First Season) puts a nearly century-old story into contemporary context. Football fans of all teams will appreciate this fascinating history. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/30/2018
Release date: 10/09/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-1-5416-1737-7
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-5491-2285-9
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-1-5416-1864-0
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