Franklin

The League : how five rivals created the NFL and launched a sports empire / John Eisenberg.

Author/Creator:
Eisenberg, John, 1956- author.
Edition:
First edition.
Publication:
New York : Basic Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc., [2018]
Format/Description:
Book
viii, 397 pages : illustrations ; 25cm
Subjects:
National Football League -- History.
National Football League.
Football -- United States -- History.
Football.
United States.
Form/Genre:
History.
Nonfiction.
Summary:
"The National Football League is a towering, distinctly American colossus taking in $14 billion in annual revenue and provoking intense national debate over issues from player safety to political protest. Yet its current dominance obscures a surprising origin story. As it turns out, in the beginning most people found the very idea of professional football absurd. In The League, acclaimed author John Eisenberg reveals how the five men who built the NFL took an immense risk by investing in the sport in the 1920s and 1930s. Art Rooney, George Halas, Tim Mara, George Preston Marshall, and Bert Bell first achieved renown as gamblers, bookies, and prodigal sons. What they shared, other than street smarts and a competitive streak, was an unusual passion for professional football at a time when the nation was obsessed with college football, baseball, boxing, and horseracing. As Eisenberg shows in this absorbing chronicle of the NFL's first decades, the League nearly failed numerous times. It was frequently short on funds or fans, and often both. New teams appeared and quickly folded. The Depression and the Second World War only magnified the challenges the owners faced. The five rivals succeeded because each sacrificed the short-term success of his team for the longer-term good of the League. Together they instituted a draft and revised the rules to transform a plodding, run-based game into a dazzling aerial show. Together they ushered the NFL into the TV era of the 1950s -- when the league we know today first came into view. A remarkable story of sportsmanship and business ingenuity, The League is an essential read for any fan of our true national pastime." -- From publisher's description.
In the 1920s and 1930s Art Rooney, George Halas, Tim Mara, George Preston Marshall, and Bert Bell achieved renown as gamblers, bookies, and prodigal sons. What they shared, other than street smarts and a competitive streak, was an unusual passion for professional football at a time when the nation was obsessed with college football, baseball, boxing, and horseracing. In its first years the League nearly failed numerous times: frequently short on funds or fans, and often both. The five rivals succeeded because each sacrificed the short-term success of his team for the longer-term good of the League, and by the 1950s the NFL we know today first came into view. -- adapted from publisher info
Contents:
Prologue
Part One. Chapter 1: Halas: The founder
Chapter 2: Mara: The promoter
Chapter 3: Marshall: The showman
Chapter 4: Bell: The profligate son
Chapter 5: Rooney: The gambler
Part Two. Chapter 6: Almost broke
Chapter 7: New ideas
Chapter 8: Benny and the Giants
Chapter 9: Instituting a draft
Chapter 10: Betting bonanza
Chapter 11: Move to DC
Part Three. Chapter 12: Brotherhood of rivals
Chapter 13: A step forward
Chapter 14: The greatest rout
Chapter 15: Same, old Pirates
Chapter 16: Political winds
Chapter 17: Dog meat
Chapter 18: Two wars
Chapter 19: The right guy in charge
Part Four. Chapter 20: Back across the color line
Chapter 21: Scandal
Chapter 22: Everyone loses
Chapter 23: The little black box
Chapter 24: All-white Redskins
Chapter 25: Forty million viewers
Epilogue.
Notes:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Other format:
Online version: Eisenberg, John, 1956- League.
ISBN:
9780465048700
0465048706
9781541617377
OCLC:
1023488375
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