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The Best Game Ever: Giants vs. Colts, 1958, and the Birth of the Modern NFL

de Mark Bowden

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The bestselling author "Black Hawk Down" writes the remarkable story of the 1958 NFL Championship game between the Colts and the Giants--considered by many to be the greatest football game ever played.
  1. 00
    Tailgating, Sacks, and Salary Caps: How the NFL Became the Most Successful Sports League in History de Mark Yost (shanerichmond)
    shanerichmond: Yost's book is a little more business-focused than Bowden's but both are excellent for anyone who is curious about how the NFL has become so successful.
  2. 00
    The Games That Changed the Game: The Evolution of the NFL in Seven Sundays de Ron Jaworski (shanerichmond)
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The Best Game Ever is a fairly good account of what is probably the most famous game in NFL history - the 1958 NFL Championship game where the Baltimore Colts defeated the New York Giants 23-17 in the NFL's first sudden death overtime game. The game pitted some of the greatest players of all time against one another such as Johnny Unitas and Raymond Berry of the Colts, and Frank Gifford and Sam Huff of the Giants. The game also sported three legendary coaches, Vince Lombardi on offense for the Giants, Tom Landry on defense for the Giants, and Weeb Ewbank, head coach of Baltimore who went on to win another seminal NFL Championship when his New York Jets upset his former team, the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.

As most who follow football closely know, this game is considered the launching point of the modern NFL because it occurred in the early years of television and at least the last part of the game was seen by an estimated 30 million people. After this game the popularity of professional football took off, particularly because the action is well suited for television viewing.

This book tells the story of the game mostly from the players' perspective, focusing somewhat more on the Baltimore Colts, particularly Johnny Unitas and Raymond Berry, who both had phenomenal performances in this game. But it also tells the story of other key players on both sides of the ball to greater or lesser degrees. It does a less stellar job of building the drama of the game, maybe because we already know the outcome. But overall it completely documents the game and the key turning points that lead to the eventual outcome, including Frank Gifford not making a first down on third and short that would have allowed the Giants to run out the clock to win the game, and the Unitas to Barry connection on an improvised play for a first down on the final drive in regulation to tie the game.

For a football fan this is certainly an enjoyable book and provides some insight into the game and the players, particularly Raymond Berry who gets the most coverage. While I wouldn't classify this as The Best Football Book Ever, it is well done and worth reading. ( )
  DougBaker | Jul 24, 2019 |
This is the story of a football game, but not just any football game. It's the nail biting, down-to-the-wire play by play of the December 28th, 1958 NFL World Championship Game (now known as the Superbowl) between the New York Giants and the Baltimore Colts. Bowden takes the reader through the late 1950s and football's growing popularity. He builds each team with mini biographies of team owners, coaches and star acquisition athletes like Frank Gifford and John Unitas. He sets the scene for their historic match-up, all the while outlining how the game has changed over the years. It isn't until chapter six (out of eight, not including the epilogue) that Bowden gets to the night before the big game. 75 pages out of 239 are dedicated to the Best Game Ever. But, if you are a football fan of any kind, you will appreciate those 75 pages! Bowden has the ability to capture the excitement. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Sep 30, 2016 |
Very fun book about the 1958 NFL Championship Game. The interviews with players from both teams and the snippets from the live broadcast of the game really bring it to life. I especially liked the idea of placing pictures at the beginning of each chapter, rather than all together in the middle. Altogether very enjoyable. ( )
  5hrdrive | Jan 7, 2009 |
A very nice, enjoyable, quick read about the personalities and the game that many consider pivotal in pro football becoming what it has become. ( )
  willyt | May 26, 2008 |
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The bestselling author "Black Hawk Down" writes the remarkable story of the 1958 NFL Championship game between the Colts and the Giants--considered by many to be the greatest football game ever played.

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