The Game before the Money


The Game before the Money

Voices of the Men Who Built the NFL

Jackson Michael

384 pages
12 photographs, 1 table


September 2014


$29.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

September 2014


$29.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

September 2014


$29.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

The Game before the Money recounts the National Football League’s story and the evolution of America’s most popular sport in the vivid words of men who built the NFL. This unprecedented look at football history from the players’ perspective combines the stories of icons such as Frank Gifford and Bart Starr with those of journeymen who shared the huddle with Johnny Unitas and rallied to halftime speeches from legendary coaches Vince Lombardi and George Halas. Featuring players from the 1930s through the 1970s, these personal accounts trace professional football in its journey from post-barnstorming days through the first two decades of the Super Bowl.


The Game before the Money offers backstories to classic games and the men who made history in them before multi-million dollar contracts. Insights into life in the NFL come from those most capable of providing it, NFL legends themselves. Forty former players open windows onto their own lives, their triumphs and tragedies, and the hardship and the glory that make them the people they are both on and off the field.

Author Bio

Jackson Michael is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the Maxwell Football Club. He is a freelance writer and journalist. Twitter @JacksonMichael



"The Game before the Money is both an interesting read for football fans and a valuable source for sports historians." —Zachary J. Garceau, Journal of Sport History

"Fans who remember these players will thoroughly enjoy reliving the good times with the heroes of their youth, and younger fans will get a valuable sense of how today's game came to be."—Wes Lukowsky, Booklist

"I recommend this book for any football library. Its significance is in the preservation of the early game of football through the players who actually played the game in their own words."—Bob Swick, Gridiron Greats

“Original and far more interesting than fiction, these stories need no garnishment. Jackson Michael humbly asks, listens, and writes. His stated goal of delivering NFL history directly from the mouths of the men who made it is achieved with all the flair of a simple dive play that busts open for a forty-yard touchdown.”—Doug English, NFL All-Pro Defensive Tackle

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface: Opening Kickoff
First Quarter: Players whose careers began before 1950
    Chuck Cherundolo
    Joseph "Buddy" Lex/Clarence "Ace" Parker
    Al “Ox” Wistert
    Nolan Luhn
    Charley Trippi
    Johnny Lujack
    George Taliaferro
Second Quarter: Players whose careers began in the 1950s
    Yale Lary
    Frank Gifford 
    Johnny Lattner
    Cotton Davidson
    Bob Skoronski
    Bart Starr
    Paul Hornung
    Sonny Jurgensen
    Jim Taylor
    Don Maynard
Third Quarter: Players whose careers began in the 1960s
    Carroll Dale
    Austin “Goose” Gonsoulin
    Dick Frey
    Irv Cross
    Garland Boyette  
    Mick Tingelhoff
    Lee Roy Jordan
    Tony Lorick
    Carl Eller
    Dan Reeves
    Walt Garrison
    Ken Houston
    Elvin Bethea
    Bob Griese
    Rocky Bleier
Fourth Quarter: Players whose careers began in the 1970s
    Jack Youngblood
    Otis Sistrunk
    Conrad Dobler
    Joe DeLamielleure
    Billy “White Shoes” Johnson
    Doug English
    Louie Kelcher
    Chris Bahr

Afterword: Overtime
Appendix: Monetary Figures in 2013 US Dollars
Author’s Note Concerning Sources
Further Reading: Extra Points

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