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Old Leather

Author: Chris Willis
Publisher: Scarecrow Press
ISBN: 0810856603
Size: 34.48 MB
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In this collection of original and archival interviews, former players, owners, fans, family members and league officials provide a rare glimpse into the origins of professional football. Chris Willis, head of the Research Library at NFL Films, conveys what the era of professional football was like in the age of leather helmets, no television, dirt fields, small salaries and playing for the love of the game was its own reward.

The Columbus Panhandles

Author: Chris Willis
Publisher: Scarecrow Press
ISBN: 1461706521
Size: 46.92 MB
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In 1901 workers at the Panhandle shops of the Pennsylvania Railroad in Columbus, Ohio formed a professional football team called the Columbus Panhandles. The railroad workers, mainly European immigrants, learned the game of football not on college gridirons, but on the sandlots of railroad yards during their lunch breaks. With the leadership of an innovative team manager and its tough physical play, the Panhandles went on to play for more than twenty years as one of the most successful teams in the rag-tag days of professional football. Incorporating original interviews and actual newspaper accounts, Chris Willis recreates the largely forgotten story of this unique squad of men. In The Columbus Panhandles: A Complete History of Pro Football's Toughest Team, 1900-1922, Willis shows how team manager, future NFL commissioner Joseph Carr, used the perks of free railroad travel for employees and the gate attraction of the famous Nesser brothers to build pro football's most successful traveling team. Season by season, Willis provides a fascinating account of the team's spectacular triumphs and crushing losses. Full of wonderful newspaper quotes, entertaining anecdotes, and many original photos, The Columbus Panhandles also profiles a number of principle figures in the team's history, most notably manager Joe Carr and the six Nesser brothers who comprised the heart of the squad for many years. Written to honor the legacy of the Columbus Panhandles, this book will be of interest to historians, sportswriters and general football fans eager to learn about the early days of professional football.

A Nearly Perfect Season

Author: Chris Willis
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 1442236426
Size: 23.49 MB
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The San Francisco 49ers entered the 1984 season determined to erase the memory of their three point loss to the Washington Redskins in the NFC Championship Game the year before. Nineteen games later, they had not only won the Super Bowl, they had redefined NFL history by becoming the first team to win 18 games in a single season. Led by Hall of Fame head coach Bill Walsh and future Hall of Fame players Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, and Fred Dean, the 1984 San Francisco 49ers finished the season with just one defeat. A Nearly Perfect Season: The Inside Story of the 1984San Francisco 49ers will chronicle for the first time ever the story of one of the NFL’s greatest teams who came within one game of perfection. Including original interviews with over 30 players from the team, coaches, the GM, and the owner, this book provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes account of a season to remember.

Dutch Clark

Author: Chris Willis
Publisher: Scarecrow Press
ISBN: 0810885204
Size: 18.75 MB
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In Dutch Clark: The Life of an NFL Legend and the Birth of the Detroit Lions, Chris Willis tells the remarkable story of an athlete from a small town in Colorado who would become one of the NFL s greatest players. Throughout his seven-year NFL career (1931-1932, 1934-1938), quarterback Dutch Clark was selected first team NFL All-Pro six times, led the league in scoring three times, was team captain of the Detroit Lions, and helped the Lions win the 1935 NFL Championship in just their second season in Detroit. Supplemented with archival interviews, never-before-seen photos, newspaper quotes, and anecdotes, Dutch Clark tells the rags-to-riches story of one of the NFL s first stars."

The Man Who Built The National Football League

Author: Chris Willis
Publisher: Scarecrow Press
ISBN: 9780810876705
Size: 13.79 MB
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Founded in 1920, the National Football League chose famed athlete Jim Thorpe as its first president, a position he held briefly until a successor was elected. From 1921 to 1939, Joe F. Carr guided the sport of professional football with intelligence, hard work, and a passion that built the foundation of what the NFL has become: the number one sports organization in the world. During his eighteen-year tenure as NFL President, Carr created the organization's first Constitution & By-Laws; implemented the standard player's contract; wrote the NFL's first-ever Record and Fact Book; helped split the NFL into two divisions and establish the NFL's World Championship Game; started keeping league statistics; and developed the NFL Draft. But Carr's greatest achievement was creating a vision for the NFL as a big-city sport. By skillfully recruiting financially capable owners to operate NFL franchises in big market cities, he created the solid foundation for the league's successful future. While the sport has grown to unheard of heights, Carr's name and accomplishments have been lost and forgotten. The Man Who Built the National Football League: Joe F. Carr captures the life and career of this pivotal figure in professional sports, chronicling the many achievements of a man whose vision helped shaped what the NFL is today. With unlimited access and complete cooperation from the Carr family—including family interviews, personal letters, and family photos—as well as NFL League Minutes, Willis recounts the fascinating life and career of a man dedicated to the game.

Great Athletes

Author: Salem Press
Publisher: Salem PressInc
ISBN: 9781587654749
Size: 10.21 MB
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Covers the greatest players in college and pro football, including the inspirational stories of Pat Tillman and Tedy Bruschi.

Walter Lingo Jim Thorpe And The Oorang Indians

Author: Chris Willis
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 1442277661
Size: 59.82 MB
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At the beginning of the Roaring Twenties the NFL was just a footnote within the landscape of American sports. The early pro game was played on dirt fields by vagabond athletes who would beat up or punch out their opponent for fifty dollars a game. But one team was different than the rest: the Oorang Indians. Comprised entirely of Native Americans and led by star athlete Jim Thorpe, the Oorang Indians were an instant hit in almost every city they visited. In Walter Lingo, Jim Thorpe, and the Oorang Indians: How a Dog Kennel Owner Created the NFL's Most Famous Traveling Team, NFL historian Chris Willis tells the story of this unique and fascinating part of professional football history. In 1922 Walter Lingo, a dog kennel owner from tiny La Rue, Ohio, joined forces with Jim Thorpe, the country’s greatest athlete, to create the Oorang Indians. Willis recounts how Lingo used the football team, the star attraction of player-coach Thorpe, and the all Native-American squad to help advertise his kennel and sell dogs, putting the small town of La Rue on the map. With the complete cooperation of the Lingo family and unlimited access to family photos and archives, Walter Lingo, Jim Thorpe, and the Oorang Indians provides an up-close and behind-the-scenes view into the making of this little-known team. It is a remarkable story that will be enjoyed by football fans and historians alike.