cover image The Man Who Built the National Football League: Joe F. Carr

The Man Who Built the National Football League: Joe F. Carr

Chris Willis, Scarecrow, $39.95 (496p) ISBN 978-0-8108-7669-9

Willis, the veteran head of NFL Films' Research Library, turns the clock back to the genesis of the National Football League and Joe F. Carr, the remarkable man who laid the solid foundation of modern professional football from 1922 to 1937. Described by Willis as "the Henry Ford of the NFL," Carr, a tireless visionary, rose from his modest Irish upbringing to create one of the first traveling football teams, the Columbus Panhandles, in the early part of the last century and guided the new professional football league, the American Professional Football Association, in 1921. With complete access to Carr's family and associates, the author performs a workmanlike recounting of Carr as the diligent, straight-shooting president of the NFL, overseeing many of the achievements we take for granted today: standard player's contracts, rules for college recruitment, professional football regulations, players' statistics, creation of two NFL divisions, the NFL draft, and the championship game. Informed, somewhat academic, yet engaging, this gridiron biography of Carr explains completely why football fever takes hold of America each and every fall. (Aug.)