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GRIDIRON:
Stories from 100 Years of the NFL
 With award-winning illustrator James E. Ransome
 
 

From Shelf Awareness, Starred Review: 
 

Seasoned sportswriter Fred Bowen (Speed Demon) celebrates the National Football League's (NFL) centennial anniversary with a rousing look at the organization from its rag-tag start in Canton, Ohio, to its current status as "the most popular sports league in the United States."

 

Through the ups and downs, wins and losses, Bowen deftly chronicles the evolution of an institution that changed the face of U.S. sports.
Bowen breaks the book down into quarters, to mirror a football game. The first quarter kicks off with the NFL's rocky beginnings: no statistics kept, no championship game and no standout star until Red Grange, the Galloping Ghost, joined the Chicago Bears. "People came to see Red Grange but ended up falling in love with this new game--professional football."

 

The following quarters include the birth of the Super Bowl and sudden-death overtime, the first African American MVP and the arrival of the draft. Bowen couples each topic with wonderful nuggets of trivia, like the fact that "a game official had his whistle freeze to his lips" in 1967 during the Green Bay Packers-Dallas Cowboys NFL championship game in Wisconsin, dubbed "The Ice Bowl."


Accenting Bowen's spirited prose are rich, life-like watercolor illustrations by Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner and three-time honoree James E. Ransome (The Creation; The Bell Rang; Before She Was Harriet). He expertly captures action and emotion in his brushstrokes, adding to Bowen's report the way a sports photographer would a newspaper story. This symbiotic pairing pays an enthusiastic, respectful homage to U.S. football's professional league. Sports enthusiasts of any age are sure to find it a winner. --Jen Forbus, freelancer


 

 

From the Publisher: Simon and Schuster

This accessible, informative, and beautifully illustrated book celebrates the 100th anniversary of the NFL and is the perfect keepsake for football fans of all ages.

 

The National Football League is the most popular sports league in the United States. Its championship game, the Super Bowl, is watched by millions of people every year. But it wasn't always like this. In the last one hundred years, football has changed from a poorly organized, often overlooked sport to America's favorite pastime. Here are the stories of that remarkable transformation. The stories of the greatest players, the most successful coaches, the most memorable games—and the amazing plays that made us gasp as we watched them in stadiums and on televisions all over America.

 

Discover the league's scrappy beginnings in an automobile showroom, and early players like Red Grange, the Galloping Ghost. Relive the very first championship game, played indoors after a circus had visited, and famous games like the Ice Bowl. See the NFL at war, and meet some of the remarkable athletes who helped desegregate the league. Learn how the draft came into existence, and about the teams that strove for that almost impossible goal—a perfect season.

 

Veteran sportswriter Fred Bowen brings his in-depth knowledge and lively prose to these fascinating stories, and award-winning artist James E. Ransome has created stunning full-page illustrations that bring the sport of football to life like never before.