Bear Bryant’s Miracles

By Richard Price Playboy October 1979 Because I grew up in a multiethnic environment in New York City, the South has always conjured up some bad news reactions on word-association tests for me: Klan, lynch, redneck, moonshine, speed-trap towns and death … lots...

Yesterday’s Hero

By Paul Hemphill Sport January 1972 “A week never passes that the Alumni Office fails to receive news highlighting the good works of former football players. So many of them reflect credit on our University.” —University of Tennessee Football Guide, 1970   What...

Jim Brown’s Last Chance

By Paul Solotaroff The National Sports Daily April 1991 In the candlelit quiet of Jim Brown’s living room, the unkillable Tee Rogers stands up and tells the hardboys that he is tired of all the death. Tee Rogers, the granddaddy of L.A. gangsters, whose resume reads,...

If This Is Wednesday, It Must Be Toozday

By Pete Dexter Inside Sports October 1981 At three in the morning, coming east across the Bay Bridge in a limousine the size of a cattle truck, a quiet falls over the back seat. It is the last day before John Matuszak goes to Santa Rosa for training camp. More to the...

The Writer as Football Hero

By George Plimpton From Paper Lion 1966 Jack Benny used to say that when he stood on the stage in white tie and tails for his violin concerts and raised his bow to begin his routine—scraping through “Love in Bloom”—he felt like a great violinist. He reasoned that, if...

Flesh and Blood

By Peter Richmond GQ May 2001 One by one, day by day, they’d glide to the witness stand, this procession of improbable women, a spangled harem of them, drifting into the courtroom and out again, leaving the scent of their perfume and the shadow of their glitter and...

The Stacks Chat: Mark Kram Jr.

By Alex Belth Bronx Banter April 24, 2012 Mark Kram Jr. is one of the finest practitioners we have of long-form newspaper journalism, better known as the bonus or takeout piece. He has been with the Philadelphia Daily News since 1987 and his work has appeared in The...

Always Be Humble

By John Ed Bradley From It Never Rains in Tiger Stadium 2007 You should’ve seen my father’s arms. He didn’t lift weights or do push-ups or exercise them in any way, and yet they were packed tight with muscle. When I was a boy and he lifted his highball in the evening...

The Tools of his Trade

By David Maraniss From Run to Daylight! Foreword to the 2014 edition For two summers while I was researching the biography When Pride Still Mattered, I lived in New York. Day after day I would venture out to Sheepshead Bay, where Vince Lombardi was born and reared; or...

Once There was Elation

By Vince Lombardi with W.C. Heinz From Run to Daylight! 1964 3:15 A.M. I have been asleep for three hours and, suddenly, I am awake. I am wide awake, and that’s the trouble with this game. Just twelve hours ago I walked off that field, and we had beaten the Bears...

L.T. and the Home Team

By John Ed Bradley Esquire December 1985 Out one night last summer in Williamsburg, Virginia—a night that started warm and breezy but quickly turned as hot and rank as old meat—D’Fellas quit talking about local trim for a minute and somebody started on God. Eric...

How Hollywood Ruined Our Best Football Novel

By John Schulian The Chicago Daily News 1977 Long before he established himself as the Ring Lardner of the Pepsi generation, Dan Jenkins wrote about sports for the blighted Fort Worth Press. He had to rise at 4 every morning to put out the paper’s first edition, and...