In their own words, the pioneers and legends of professional football tell of the early glory years of the National Football League. From the 1920s through the 1940s, pro football players were paid only hundreds of dollars per game and rarely had substitutes. The conditions and times of this era are vividly recalled by such players as Red Grange, Johnny Blood, Clarke Hinkle, Ace Parker, Shipwreck Kelly, Mel Hein, Sammy Baugh, Don Hutson, and Sid Luckman. The players also reveal personal glimpses of how they got started in football, the conditions on the field, their life away from it, and their memories of outstanding games and competing against such giants as Jim Thorpe.
Full of wry and wonderful anecdotes, What A Game They Played invites sports fans to experience the fresh and inventive early years of pro football, a game played in an America quite different from what it is today.
Richard Whittingham is the author of Rites of Autumn: The Story of College Football as well as a number of sport histories, including chronicles of the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, and Washington Redskins. Keith McClellan is the author of The Sunday Game: At the Dawn of Professional Football.
"Each first-person narrative reveals the paltry salaries, poor playing conditions, and general instability of the fledgling league. Each also reveals the competitiveness, camaraderie, and pioneering spirit of players and owners alike. . . . Football buffs will revel in the no-holds-barred accounts of great games and famous names, but even marginal fans will appreciate the vitality with which these unique individuals retell the stories of their lives."—Booklist