Pioneer Coaches of the NFL: Shaping the Game in the Days of Leather Helmets and 60-Minute Men

Rowman & Littlefield. Aug. 2019. 312p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9781538112236. $35; ISBN 9781538112243. SPORTS
As the NFL prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary season in the fall, Maxymuk (longtime LJ reviewer; The Quarterback Abstract, among others) offers a well-researched overview of the league’s formative decades: the 1920s through the 1940s. His profiles of 13 head coaches from that era—some well known, others fallen into obscurity—show how these men formed the foundation of professional football as we know it today. Training techniques and game strategies pioneered by these coaches are described, many still in use. Maxymuk also includes an outline of African American football coaches of the past century and a biographical sketch of Paul Brown, who ushered in the modern era of coaching. Football fans will find this a treasure trove of historical anecdotes, play diagrams, and an informative approach to the game’s early years. Through their stories, Maxymuk illustrates how these men influenced the growth of the sport and redefined the role of coaches.
VERDICT An important study of coaches who helped to change professional football into the thriving game that would eventually surpass all other American sports in popularity. Recommended for sports fans, historians, scholars, and all library collections.
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