The Last Headbangers: NFL Football in the Rowdy, Reckless '70s: the Era that Created Modern Sports (Paperback)

The Last Headbangers: NFL Football in the Rowdy, Reckless '70s: the Era that Created Modern Sports Cover Image

The Last Headbangers: NFL Football in the Rowdy, Reckless '70s: the Era that Created Modern Sports (Paperback)

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The inside story of the most colorful decade in NFL history—pro football’s raging, hormonal, hairy, druggy, immortal adolescence.


Between the Immaculate Reception in 1972 and The Catch in 1982, pro football grew up. In 1972, Steelers star Franco Harris hitchhiked to practice. NFL teams roomed in skanky motels. They played on guts, painkillers, legal steroids, fury, and camaraderie. A decade later, Joe Montana’s gleamingly efficient 49ers ushered in a new era: the corporate, scripted, multibillion-dollar NFL we watch today. Kevin Cook’s rollicking chronicle of this pivotal decade draws on interviews with legendary players—Harris, Montana, Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, Ken “Snake” Stabler—to re-create their heroics and off-field carousing. He shows coaches John Madden and Bill Walsh outsmarting rivals as Monday Night Football redefined sports’ place in American life. Celebrating the game while lamenting the physical toll it took on football’s greatest generation, Cook diagrams the NFL’s transformation from second-tier sport into national obsession.
A former senior editor at Sports Illustrated, Kevin Cook is the author of Titanic Thompson, Tommy's Honor, Kitty Genovese and The Dad Report. He lives in New York City.
Product Details ISBN: 9780393345872
ISBN-10: 0393345874
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: August 26th, 2013
Pages: 304
Language: English
A head-slap of a book. Whap, yeah, that’s how it was.
— Roy Blount, Jr., author of About Three Bricks Shy of a Load and Alphabet Juice

Wired, crazy, hard-hitting, a pure winner.
— Jeff Pearlman, author of Boys Will Be Boys and Sweetness

About as subtle as a kick in the head.
— Scott Simon, NPR

Featuring arguably the greatest collection of weirdos, maniacs, misfits, heroes and villains ever gathered under any dome other than the U.S. Capitol.
— Greg Schneider - Washington Post

Kevin Cook celebrates the rough-edged heroes of the 1970s NFL, vividly re-creating some of the game’s unforgettable moments.
— Jonathan Mahler, author of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning