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NFL Head Coaches: A Biographical Dictionary,…

NFL Head Coaches: A Biographical Dictionary, 1920-2011

by John Maxymuk

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
It took a long time for me to receive this book, and when I did, it took me a while to read it--it is not exactly a cuddle up by the fire page-turner--but it was well worth the wait and the time spent perusing it. The author has done a fantastic job of assimilating lots of information and presenting it in a way that turns what is ostensibly a reference book [Very handy for settling those late-night debates that start with someone slurring, "Curly Lambeau was twice the coach George Halas ever thought about being!"--a quick check of the entry on Curly Lambeau reveals that his head-to-head record against George Halas was 17-30-2 in the regular season and 0-1 in the payoffs!] into a collection of scintillating narratives about the game that so many people like me love and the men (Yes, unfortunately this sport has remained a male-centric one throughout its history, even though where I come from--North Texas--the women are every bit, if not more, passionate about this game than are the menfolk!) who made it what it is. The fact that the author is a consummate researcher makes the knowledge density of this text impressive, but the way he lays out the information and the consistency in the way he presents it from coach to coach and era to era renders it quite palatable. I must admit that I was skeptical when I saw John Maxymuk's credential, and my confidence in his gridiron acumen wasn't bolstered any by the botched sentence in the introduction stating that "...on the Bears' touchdown pass from Bronko Naguski to Red Grange Nagurski was not thrown from five yards behind the line of scrimmage as the rules then required." I was pleased, though, that I did not run into any other trouble spots that made me have to stop and scratch my head like that one did. I enjoyed the book very much and it will have a cozy home on my bookshelf, ready to be pulled down the next time my wife--as any self-respecting North Texas woman should--wishes to again prove that she knows more about this game I love than I! ( )
  KingLeer | Mar 19, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
this was a very interesting book. personally there were some details that i find fascinating i'm surprised weren't in there but i'm a bit of a fanatic. fascinating with the season as it is this year too.
  dekan | Jan 27, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I will agree with most of the previous reviewers and say that this is a wealth of knowledge for anyone who is a fan of the game of football or the NFL in general. The book is well organized and very well researched. My favorite item is the listing as to whether or not each has/had played collegiality or professionally and where.
The voice used is that of a reference librarian or historian (I happen to be the former as well) and I know how difficult it can be to maintain a neutral voice- the author here does an excellent job of not allowing personal bias to interfere with the facts. For that I say well done.
This is a great book for nay sports "geeks" you may know (or for yourself) and a wonderful reference to have handy.
The reason for not giving this work more "starts" is that several important (to me at least) appendices are missing (strangely), not the least of which would be a chronological listing of all of the coaches by team. I gave this book to the biggest NFL nut I know and he said.. "AWESOME!...ooh there was the coach of the Browns.. in the early 70's .. what was his name.. I think it started with a "n"..I want to look Him up.." I said- there should be an appendix that lists the names so you can look it up that way- I was wrong. This seems like a no-brainer- and you have the information. To use the as a reference, you have to know WHO you are looking for or you are forced to read the entire book looking- or find a secondary source.
Would also be nice to see a complete listing of win/loss records (the ranking information with the author's algorithm is very interesting), a listing of number of total years coaching in the NFL. Basically some added information that would give non-geek readers a reason to pick up the book. Who is the coach that has coached the MOST years in the league, what coach of team XXX did what.
All in all the information contained is excellent and I recommend this book fully- but there is so much more that could have been included to make it more useful as a "reference".
Enjoy! ( )
1 vote abinanaaa | Jan 24, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Very informative, interesting read for anybody who loves football and the history of the game. This is not the kind of book you can just sit down and read cover to cover, but the kind of book that is great to pick up and read a few excerpts about different coaches, or open up when you want to learn about a coach who is unfamiliar. There have been times where I am watching an NFL game and one of the announcers mentions some old timer coach I have never heard of, and I will immediately go to my book and learn a little bit about him. Awesome reference to have laying around.
  wscott2 | Jan 18, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A fabulously interesting title that will thrill football lovers. I read the intro and the bios of my team's coaches as a baseline. What I found fascinating was the beginning of each entry with "Apprenticeship", "Roots" , "Branches" "Hall of Fame players" and "Record" among other data. This was a quick way to see at a glance the influence of each man. The Roots and Branches gave me other names to read as I began flipping back and forth through the book, reading about people I knew and new names to me.
What also made this book of value was adding coaches that are pre-modern era (1933 when professional NFL teams began with the Steelers and Bears) who also were influential in the development of the game. These men, who played and coached around WW I, were on teams that quickly went out of business but nonetheless were inflluential in the development of the NFL.
I do agree with reviewer abinanaaa on the lack of indexing that would have enhanced the book and in a library setting this would be crucial. As I delve into it in the future I am sure I will wish to have those indexes, but until then Highly recommended ( )
  book58lover | Jan 14, 2013 |
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"This book essentially answers three questions about every professional head coach since 1920: Who was he? What were his coaching approach and style, in terms of both leadership and gridiron tactics? How successful was he? Every entry begins with background information, followed by each coach's yearly regular season and postseason coaching record, and then statistical tendencies. "--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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