NFL 1965

The Most Exciting Season

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About the Book

In the mid-1960s, when pro football eclipsed baseball as America’s leading spectator sport, the NFL had the most exciting season in its history. The Eastern Conference Cleveland Browns were the champions in 1965 yet most of the action was in the Western Conference, where the reigning Baltimore Colts contended with the formidable Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. All three teams played two games apiece against the Detroit Lions, a power earlier in the decade, and the Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Rams, who were becoming dominant in the league. In those days the NFL played a wide-open game—long touchdown passes, fumbles and interceptions kept fans on the edges of their seats through seven games each weekend. The league’s deep bench included such players as Jim Brown, Johnny Unitas, Tom Matte, Bart Starr, Paul Hornung and Dave Robinson, rookies Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus, and key coaches Don Shula, Vince Lombardi and George Halas. A fantastic final weekend led to a one-game playoff for the right to face the Browns for the championship. Drawing on interviews with surviving players and executives, this book recounts the thrilling drama of the ’65 season and places it in the broader context of NFL history.

About the Author(s)

David Kaiser taught history for decades at Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, the Naval War College and Williams College. He has written nine other books and has given talks at Society for American Baseball Research conventions. He lives in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Bibliographic Details

David Kaiser
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 167
Bibliographic Info: notes, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8645-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4436-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
1. Preseason 5
2. The First Month 34
3. Sheep and Goats 50
4. The Baltimore Boom 66
5. The Climax 101
6. The Playoff (December 26, 1965) 123
7. The Championship 132
Epilogue 143
Chapter Notes 151
Bibliography 153
Index 155