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The Football Game I'll Never Forget: 100 NFL Stars' Stories

* Book Type:

Publisher: Firefly Books

Author Statement: selected by Chris McDonell
Audience: Trade
Specs: 110 color and archival photographs, statistics, index
Pages: 216
Trim Size: 8 1/2" x 11" x 3/4"
Language code 1: eng
Publication Date: 20040807
Copyright Year: 2004
Price: Select Below


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The Football Game I'll Never Forget: 100 NFL Stars' Stories

Selected from columns in Football Digest, 100 personal accounts by NFL players from the 1950s through to the 90s. All positions, including coaches, are represented giving fans the best player stories of their generation.

There are few times when a man can look back and say truthfully:
"I won that game. Without me we would have lost."

- Herb Adderley, Defensive Back, Green Bay Packers

The Football Game I'll Never Forget is a collection of fascinating, firsthand accounts from the 1950s through to the 1990s.

Selected from columns in Football Digest, these stories are told by stars from every position on the field and by coaches along the sidelines. Many of the entries are by current (or future) Hall of Fame players from John Elway to Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch, representing the best players of their generation.

The Football Game I'll Never Forget features one hundred personal accounts by such NFL legends as:

  • Quarterbacks: John Unitas, Y.A. Tittle, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Doug Williams, Joe Theismann, Phil Simms
  • Running backs: Marcus Allen, Earl Campbell, Franco Harris, Gale Sayers, Tony Dorsett
  • Receivers: Lynn Swann, John Taylor, John Stallworth, Drew Pearson
  • Linebackers: Dick Butkus, Ray Nitschke
  • Defensive linemen: Merlin Olsen, Ed "Too Tall" Jones
  • Defensive backs: Ronnie Lott, Paul Krause, Ken Houston, Mel Blount
  • Offensive linemen: Mark Bortz, Brad Benson
  • Kickers and special team players: Jan Stenerud, Jim Turner, Pat Leahy
  • Coaches: Mike Ditka, Don Shula, Bill Parcells.

The Football Game I'll Never Forget is an ideal book for football fans of all ages.


Chris McDonell is the author of many books about sports and hockey including For the Love of Hockey, Hockey All-Stars, Hockey's Greatest Stars and The Game I'll Never Forget.



We hold our breath as the defensive back and wide receiver vault into the air with outstretched arms. Time freezes when the quarterback ducks beneath the arms of an onrushing lineman. Will it be a sack or a successful scramble?

The kicker, with a mighty sweep of his foot, sends the ball toward the uprights as the clock runs out. The running back makes a sharp cut toward the end zone, as the linebacker reaches out to make the tackle. A precious few seconds or inches can make all the difference between winning and losing.

But no matter the outcome, the emotional highs and lows are what draw us to watch, to care. These stories bring out those same feelings. Reading them, we're pulled out of the stands, or off the couch, and onto the field. The accounts in The Football Game I'll Never Forget come directly from the players and coaches themselves, and in their own words.

Professional football has evolved into a tightly structured, highly specialized game. The two-way player is dead, as old-fashioned a concept as the leather helmet. The 300-pound lineman is now the norm, as is the 15-member coaching staff. Yet in most ways, football remains today as it was 70 years ago, when the National Football League began to tweak old college rules for a more entertaining match. The rise of the specialist player hasn't diminished the purpose of football. He still needs to move the ball over the goal line, and prevent his opponent from doing likewise.

So when the editors of Football Digest gather stories for their monthly feature, "The Game I'll Never Forget," it doesn't matter whether they get a narrative from a veteran Hall of Famer like "Crazylegs" Hirsch or a current star's recounting of last season's Super Bowl. The players all speak the same language: football. And in this book, a pleasing mix of players from across the generations offers much to appeal to fans of every age.

Game stories are told from the perspective of every position on the field, as well as from the sideline vantage point, thanks to handful of successful coaches, such as Don Shula. Quarterbacks -- such as John Elway, Joe Namath and Roger Staubach -- dominate on these pages, as they do on the playing field; but not at the expense of others. Wide receivers, such as Steve Largent and Charle Joiner; running backs, such as Earl Campbell and Tony Dorsett; and kickers, such as Mark Mosely and Nick Lowery, also find the spotlight here.

There are plenty of voices from the defense as well. Safeties, among them Ken Houston; tackles like Merlin Olsen; and defensive ends, such as Jack Youngblood, share their most memorable stories. Also included are guards like Mike Munchak, linebackers like Dave Wilcox, tight ends, defensive backs, halfbacks and fullbacks... and the roster is complete.

What kind of game stands out in a player's outstanding career? Not surprisingly, championship games and Super Bowls are chosen by many. Reaching the top is a sweet reward that makes all the years of sweat, pain and endless practice feel meaningful and worthwhile. Likewise, defeat at the pinnacle of success can sting with a lasting venom. As unsavory as it can be to rehash profound disappointment, some of the men in these pages choose to discuss a momentous loss -- revealing particular honesty and strength of character.

Lighter moments also abound. "Hacksaw" Reynolds and John Matuszak were almost as notorious for their antics off the field as on. Don Meredith recalls a game when his Dallas Cowboys played the Detroit Lions; how and why Meredith does not get on the field for the whole game is as humble -- and hilarious -- a tale as you're likely to hear from anyone involved in pro sports.

Sometimes it can be a seminal moment that stands out. Gale Sayers, the legendary Chicago Bears running back, reflects on the importance of a great personal effort during a seesaw battle against Minnesota in his rookie season. Jan Stenerud, the first pure placekicker to enter the Hall of Fame, vividly recalls his first professional game, an exhibition-season blowout for Kansas City.

Stenerud is not alone in defining as a personal highlight a game that has faded -- for the rest of us -- into the darker recesses of memory. Alongside the dozens of famous games recalled in this book are others that are delightfully obscure.

This collection of stories will refresh old memories and create new ones, quicken the pulse, and remind us why we've always loved the game. Enjoy.

--Chris McDonell



Herb Adderley
Marcus Allen
Lyle Alzedo
Ottis Anderson
Doug Atkin
Lem Barney
Brad Benson
Raymond Berry
Fred Biletnikoff
G. Blanda
Mel Blount
Mark Bortz
Terry Bradshaw
Nick Buoniconti
Dick Butkus
Earl Campbell
Anthony Carter
Robin Cole
Roger Craig
Len Dawson
Mike Ditka
Tony Dorsett
Carl Eller
John Elway
Vince Ferragamo
Dan Fouts
Roman Gabriel
Frank Gifford
Bob Griese
Steve Grogan
Franco Harris
Drew Hill
Elry "Crazylegs" Hirsch
Ken Houston
Tunch Ilkin
Ron Jaworski
Charlie Joiner
Ed "Too Tall" Jones
Sonny Jurgensen
Jim Kelly
Mike Kenn
Billy Kilmer
Paul Krause
Steve Largent
Dante Lavelli
Pat Leahy
Marv Levy
Greg Lloyd
Ronnie Lott
Nick Lowery
Tom Mack
Archie Manning
Leonard Marshall
John Matuszak
Tommy McDonald
Max McGee
Jim McMahon
Freeman McNeil
Don Meredith
Art Monk
Joe Montana
Earl Morrall
Mark Moseley
Mike Munchak
Chuck Muncie
Joe Namath
Ray Nitschke
John Offerdahl
Christian Okoye
Merlin Olsen
Bill Parcells
Drew Pearson
Jim Plunkett
Jack "Hacksaw" Reynolds
Mark Rypien
Gale Sayers
Lee Roy Selmon
Art Shell
Don Shula
Phil Simms
Brian Sipe
Ken Stabler
John Stallworth
Bart Starr
Roger Staubach
Jan Stenerud
Lynn Swann
John Taylor
Joe Theismann
Andre Tippett
Y.A. Tittle
Jim Turner
Johnny Unitas
Everson Walls
Danny White
Dave Wilcox
Doug Williams
Reggie Williams
Jack Youngblood

Photo Credits

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