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When he was traded from the Chicago Cardinals to the New York Giants in 1958, Pat Summerall thought seriously about retiring from the NFL. After six years on one of the league's most dismal teams, he had no illusions about professional football: the pay was lousy, working conditions were miserable, and most Americans paid little attention to the sport. College football generated far more fan enthusiasm than the pros. Though he didn't know it, all that was about to change, and his two new mentors would be instrumental in transforming the sport from a sparsely attended fall pastime to America's Game.
In Giants, Pat Summerall, the man many fans think of as the voice of the NFL, takes you back to the days when most professional football games were played in baseball stadiums to meet Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry before their names were synonymous with winningin fact, before most fans had ever even heard of them.
Playing the dual role of tight end and placekicker, Summerall had the unique experience of working with both Lombardi, the assistant coach for offense, and his defensive counterpart, Landry. While it's difficult to imagine two personalities more different than the highly emotional Lombardi and the inscrutable Landry, Summerall was in the ideal position to discover their similarities. Beyond their intense desire to win, the coaches shared similar unorthodox ideas about what it takes to triumph. Central to this then revolutionary approach was the idea that players needed to play with not just their brawn, but their brains as well. They needed to understand the team's strategies, prepare carefully for every game, and be able to adapt instantly to events on the field. They needed to bring the same competitive spirit to every workout, drill, and team meeting that they brought to the game itself. As Summerall puts it, these two future icons "unlocked a whole new level of the game for me, and for all of us on the Giants."
The lessons Summerall learned stayed with him far beyond his playing career and became the guiding principles that have sustained him to this day: training doesn't end with training camp; don't dwell on your success; treat everyone the same; and believe in your heart that you'll win. He brings these lessons to life with vivid inspirational stories about his coaches and such luminary teammates as Frank Gifford and Sam Huff, both on and off the field.
Complete with clear illustrations of how Lombardi practiced his personal code (Speak Confidently and Prepare) and how Landry epitomized his own (Faith, Family, and Football), Giants is a powerful and inspiring sports memoir.
The lessons that two legendary coaches taught the one player who learned from both
One of them would coach the Green Bay Packers to a still-unmatched three consecutive NFL championships, including the first two Super Bowls, and now lends his name to the Super Bowl trophy. The other would lead the Dallas Cowboys to five Super Bowls and twenty winning seasons. When Pat Summerall played for them on the 1958 New York Giants, they were unknown assistant coaches, but Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry already displayed signs of their future greatness. In Giants, Summerall tells the powerful and inspiring story of how two now legendary coaches changed everything he thought he knew about football and life during one of football's most celebrated championship seasons.
The wide range of lessons covers rules for everything from personal behavior ("React like a football player," "Training doesn't end with training camp," and "Don't dwell on your success") to work relationships ("The boss keeps time" and "They can get somebody in here who wants to play") to winning ("Believe in your heart that you'll win," "Try to win every game," but "Focus on one game at a time"). The book also lays out the Lombardi Code (Speak Confidently and Prepare) and the Landry Code (Faith, Family, and Football).
Through vivid and inspirational stories about the game on and off the field, Summerall brings the lessons of two great men to life.