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That first season : how Vince Lombardi took the worst team in the NFL and set it
John Eisenberg
Adult Nonfiction GV939.L6 E37 2009

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From Publishers' Weekly:

When Vince Lombardi took over as head coach for the moribund Green Bay Packers in 1959, both parties had much to prove, as Eisenberg, a former Baltimore Sun sports columnist, makes clear in this bio. Lombardi, a longtime assistant in college and pro football, hadn't been a head coach in more than a decade, and that was for a New Jersey high school. The Packers were perennial losers, with players who had become accustomed to lazy coaching and good times. Lombardi's arrival was pivotal, as his attitude and discipline inspired the Packers, who became a football powerhouse during the 1960s, while allowing for the emergence of future Hall of Famers like offensive juggernaut Paul Hornung and quarterback Bart Starr. Eisenberg is at his best detailing the players' response to Lombardi's unforgiving approach, especially in training camp, which some veterans treated as vacation. Unfortunately, the author's account gradually loses steam, as too much space is reserved for detailed game recaps that detract from Lombardi's work in constructing a champion team. Still, the book is a brisk, sometimes revealing look at Lombardi's early days in Green Bay and is a nice complement to the existing works on the legendary coach. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Lombardi arrived in Green Bay in 1959 to take over a desperate franchise. He led the Packers to their first winning season in 12 years with mostly the same personnel that was on hand when he arrived. Eisenberg aims to get at the root of that seemingly miraculous transformation by focusing on the changes wrought in that first season. From the ample written record and roughly three dozen new interviews, he presents a detailed retelling of the very beginning of Lombardi's iconic Packers career, from the misery of training camp to the unfolding of the regular season, game by game. He provides some new insights, but he is mostly treading on familiar territory. And the frequent use of imagined dialog among players and coaches is distracting. A good plan for a book here gets fumbled in the execution. For Packers fans.-J.M. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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