The NFL’s Pivotal Years

Remaking Pro Football, 1957–1962


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About the Book

Recent years have been among the most challenging in NFL history, culminating in the 2020-21 coronavirus and social justice issues. Yet a complete understanding of where the NFL is today begins with a five-year period that was the most transformative for the league. From 1957 to 1962, the NFL saw: the advent of unionization, with a landmark Supreme Court decision; the legendary 1958 title game, the first to go into sudden death overtime; a challenge from the American Football League that would have important consequences for decades; the introduction of computerization and statistical analysis; the first steps towards globalization; and the hiring of legends Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry, who both contributed to the league’s growing mythology.

This book describes in detail the key events that helped shape the modern NFL, and why this period was so momentous to the league and its fans.

About the Author(s)

Brad Schultz is the pastor of Zion Evangelical Church in Shelbyville, Indiana. He previously spent 30 years in sports media as a television anchor and reporter, documentary producer and professor of journalism. He has written 14 books on sports media and history.

Bibliographic Details

Brad Schultz
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 245
Bibliographic Info: 10 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8439-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4296-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 5
One. Innocence Lost 17
Two. Growing Up, Growing Old 33
Three. The Greatest Game Ever Televised 47
Four. The Ruthian Moment 63
Five. The Power of Myth 79
Six. Alphabet Soup 94
Seven. Oh, Canada!—And Beyond 113
Eight. Man with a Vision 129
Nine. By the Numbers 145
Ten. The Door Opens Wider 161
Eleven. Heir Coryell 173
Twelve. Time and Place 186
Chapter Notes 203
Bibliography 229
Index 235