Sports Illustrated's 'Football's Greatest' Tells the Story of the NFL
Sports Illustrated is well known not only for the magazine but also for the other publications they produce from time to time and their latest book 'Football's Greatest' continues an outstanding tradition.
A must read for any fan of the NFL, this book does more than simply list the top ten players, coaches, franchises and games in NFL history.
It tells the story of the NFL from before the AFL/NFL merger to today using brilliant visuals from both past and present.
The lists themselves will spark vigorous debate for sure from fans and sports personalities from all generations but I urge anyone reading this book to look beyond the lists provided and enjoy reading about the history of the NFL's rise from afterthought to the top of American sports.
Older generations will enjoy a look back to the early days of professional football with images from the 1958 Title Game between the Baltimore Colts and New York Football Giants as well as players who helped build the league like Cleveland Browns quarterback Otto Graham.
Younger generations who may not even know the Colts used to play in Baltimore or why the early Giants were called the 'Football Giants,' will also enjoy seeing both players and games they remember like Super Bowl XLII when Eli Manning and the Giants took down the undefeated Patriots.
My personal favorite section is the top ten plays in NFL history which range from the Immaculate Reception in the 1972 playoffs to the Santonio Holmes game winning catch in Super Bowl XLIII.
The Hail Mary pass from Roger Staubach to Drew Pearson in the 1975 divisional playoff game checks in at number 10 on that list which should tell you all you need to know about the depth of all the lists in this book.
Best single season team was the 1985 Bears and included two of those Packers teams in the 60's, two of the 49ers juggernaut in the 80's and the first of Dallas' three Super Bowl winning teams in the 90's.
No coincidence the Packers, Cowboys and 49ers all made the top ten franchises list when you consider they make up half of the greatest single seasons list.
Like I mentioned, the detail Sports Illustrated put into this book is astounding from the players to even the best stadiums in NFL history giving fans a look back at not only the players involved, but also where some of the greatest games were played.
Lambeau Field naturally checks in at number one but some stadiums that no longer exist also made the list like Municipal Stadium in Cleveland and RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. so those fans who really want to take a stroll down memory lane can simply flip through these pages and perhaps see the place their father took them to watch this new sport called professional football.
As I mentioned earlier, the list themselves will certainly be debated but one thing simply can never be debated while reading this book, the NFL has a remarkable history filled with larger than life personalities who built a sport from a sideshow to one that would eventually unseat Major League Baseball as America's pastime.
I didn't think it was possible to love the NFL more than I already do but reading this book did just that and more because it brings back so many memories from my childood and also tells the story of the game from long before I watched my first game.
I encourage anyone that is a fan of the NFL to get a copy of 'Football's Greatest' by Sports Illustrated and enjoy your own little trip down memory lane.
I'm sure it will have the same effect on you as it had on me.