Great Teams, Great Years Book Series

Great Teams, Great Years Book Series

Postby Andy Piascik » Fri Apr 03, 2020 6:51 pm

Many of us have read some or all of the series of team histories published by the NFL in the early 1970s. I still have the copy of the Browns book by the PFRA's very own Jack Clary my father bought 47 years ago or whatever it was. He liked it a lot because it was the first history of the Browns he knew about. Bill Levy had actually published a Browns history in 1965, Return to Glory, but there's no way my father knew about it otherwise he definitely would have purchased a copy when it came out, though he did get a used copy some years later.

I could be wrong but I think nine Great Teams, Great Years books were published: Browns, Chiefs, Cowboys, Forty-Niners, Giants, Lions, Rams, Redskins and Steelers. Interesting that they didn't do one about the Bears or Packers given they were obvious choices. The Colts also, as they had a series of outstanding teams from 1957 right up til the time the books were coming out. Interesting they did the Steelers before any of those teams, given they had mostly been bottom-feeders for 40 years at the time their book came out.

Presumably there were plans to do more, maybe even one for every team, but the last one of the nine was published in 1974 I believe and then the series was dropped. Either they didn't sell well enough to justify more or the league office lost interest.

Anybody have all nine?
Andy Piascik
 
Posts: 103
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:32 pm

Re: Great Teams, Great Years Book Series

Postby JeffreyMiller » Fri Apr 03, 2020 7:10 pm

It's funny you mention this series, Andy, because I was just thinking I only need one (Steelers) to complete it and was going to put out the word on the Pro Football Books Facebook page.

I would have suspected the Dolphins would have been in the queue as well, as they were in three straight SBs around the time this series was being produced …
"Gentlemen, it is better to have died a small boy than to fumble this football."
User avatar
JeffreyMiller
 
Posts: 691
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:28 am
Location: Birthplace of Pop Warner

Re: Great Teams, Great Years Book Series

Postby SixtiesFan » Fri Apr 03, 2020 9:42 pm

I had three of the Series: Browns, Lions, and Rams. I lost them several years ago when my house was destroyed by a tornado.
SixtiesFan
 
Posts: 662
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2014 8:04 pm

Re: Great Teams, Great Years Book Series

Postby JohnH19 » Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:50 pm

I have all of them. I bought them all at once several years ago on eBay from the legendary Big League Co. in Hinckley, MN.
JohnH19
 
Posts: 816
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2014 6:18 pm

Re: Great Teams, Great Years Book Series

Postby Jay Z » Sat Apr 04, 2020 12:50 am

The best part of the books is the interviews. Some of the now old or deceased players were comparatively young at the time. I prefer interviews as close to the source date as possible, before the legend takes hold.

There were some curious decisions at times. The Rams book, for instance. Not a lot of books about the Rams, period (though this group will add one to that number.) Can't be helped that the book stops in the early 1970s and misses the whole Knox/Malavasi era.

But in the "Great Games" section the Rams Packers 1967 game in LA is featured. That game has several interesting aspects, but its historical significance even at the time was overstated. Then the entire George Allen era is confined to the "Other Years" section.
Jay Z
 
Posts: 608
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 7:42 pm
Location: Madison WI

Re: Great Teams, Great Years Book Series

Postby Andy Piascik » Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:18 am

Agree that that Rams-Packers game wasn't as big as it's made out to be. The Rams had to win to stay alive and they pulled it out in dramatic fashion but it's not like they went on to win the Super Bowl. On the other hand, they did get kind of jobbed by that stupid rotation system that required them to go to Wisconsin in late December even though they were 11-1-2 compared to the 9-4-1 Packers, with a regular season head-to-head win to boot. I've been surprised for years that there was so little hue and cry I remember about that considering how often it occurred.

Still, 1951 was their only championship year in LA and most of their biggest games were losses. Maybe they should have included the 1967 finale against the Colts in the book. It was a rout with no exciting finish like the week before but it was a division-clincher over a team that came in with no losses.

Remind us, which are the games included in the Rams book besides that one in 1967? I'm sure they have the 1951 title game. Do they have the 1950 playoff game versus the Bears or the 1950 title game?
Andy Piascik
 
Posts: 103
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:32 pm

Re: Great Teams, Great Years Book Series

Postby JohnTurney » Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:09 am

Andy Piascik wrote:Anybody have all nine?


yes. Merv Corning did the cover art for them, too.
JohnTurney
 
Posts: 1611
Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2014 1:28 pm

Re: Great Teams, Great Years Book Series

Postby Retro Rider » Sat Apr 04, 2020 8:20 am

JohnH19 wrote:I have all of them. I bought them all at once several years ago on eBay from the legendary Big League Co. in Hinckley, MN.


Big League Co. was around a long time. I got my KC Chiefs volume from them. I remember getting their catalogs back in the mid-late 1980's and ordering AFL related books like The $400,000 Quarterback, The Other League, We Came of Age, Winning it All and The Long Pass. They were all modestly priced and in great condition.

There was another series of NFL Team related books that came out around the same time as Great Teams, Great Years, though not as well done. I don't believe that all 26 NFL teams were featured. They were published by Prentice-Hall. The ones I have are in softcover. Off the top of my head I can confirm these:

Oakland Raiders: Fireworks and Fury
New England Patriots: Minutemen of the Gridiron
New York Jets: The Namath - Ewbank Era
Denver Broncos
Miami Dolphins
Buffalo Bills
Dallas Cowboys
Washington Redskins
Atlanta Falcons

There are probably more in the series. I seem to remember the Packers, Bengals, Steelers, Browns and Vikings having volumes as well. Some editions like the N.Y. Jets were also available in hardcover.
User avatar
Retro Rider
 
Posts: 181
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2014 4:03 am
Location: Washington State

Re: Great Teams, Great Years Book Series

Postby Bryan » Sat Apr 04, 2020 10:42 am

Andy Piascik wrote:Remind us, which are the games included in the Rams book besides that one in 1967? I'm sure they have the 1951 title game. Do they have the 1950 playoff game versus the Bears or the 1950 title game?


50 & 51 title games, 52 Rams-Packers (Waterfield comeback/farewell game), 57 Rams-Bears (Arnett) & 67 Rams-Packers.

The Rams book is my favorite one of the series. The 1950's Rams were such an interesting franchise. I liked the Steelers book because it is so well-written. A few of the books weren't as compelling (Giants, Lions, Redskins) to me because of the writing style, but all of the books are overflowing with information. They are great resources.
User avatar
Bryan
 
Posts: 1713
Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:37 am

Re: Great Teams, Great Years Book Series

Postby JohnH19 » Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:22 pm

Retro Rider wrote:
JohnH19 wrote:I have all of them. I bought them all at once several years ago on eBay from the legendary Big League Co. in Hinckley, MN.


Big League Co. was around a long time. I got my KC Chiefs volume from them. I remember getting their catalogs back in the mid-late 1980's and ordering AFL related books like The $400,000 Quarterback, The Other League, We Came of Age, Winning it All and The Long Pass. They were all modestly priced and in great condition.


Big League is still around with an active eBay store. It’s a one man operation now as only Keith Hendrickson is still living. They still have tons of inventory datong back to the 1950s so if there’s anything you regret not buying back in the day... :)
JohnH19
 
Posts: 816
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2014 6:18 pm

Next

Return to Football Talk

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 27 guests