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The League

The League

How Five Rivals Created the NFL and Launched a Sports Empire

The epic tale of the five owners who shepherded the NFL through its tumultuous early decades and built the most popular sport in America

The National Football League is a towering, distinctly American colossus spewing out $13 billion in annual revenue. Yet its current dominance has obscured how professional football got its start.

In The League, John Eisenberg reveals that Art Rooney, George Halas, Tim Mara, George Preston Marshall, and Bert Bell took an immense risk by investing in the professional game. At that time the sport barely registered on the national scene, where college football, baseball, boxing, and horseracing dominated. The five owners succeeded only because at critical junctures in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s each sacrificed the short-term success of his team for the longer-term good of the League. At once a history of a sport and a remarkable story of business ingenuity, The League is an essential read for any fan of our true national pastime.

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Genre: Nonfiction / Sports & Recreation / History

On Sale: October 1st 2019

Price: $17.99 / $23.49 (CAD)

Page Count: 416

ISBN-13: 9781541618640

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews


"John Eisenberg tells the fascinating account of how five owners, including the Bears's George Halas, cut through their disputes and differences to work together to form the foundations of the league."—Chicago Tribune
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"The pluck-and-luck tale of the creation and stabilization of the league is a small but exemplary chapter in American capitalism and popular culture."—Wall Street Journal
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"[A] deeply researched, surprise-on-every-page, and altogether marvelous new book"—Weekly Standard
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"Drawing on extensive research and personal interviews with descendants of the principle figures, Eisenberg (That First Season) puts a nearly century-old story into contemporary context. Football fans of all teams will appreciate this fascinating history."—Publishers Weekly
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"A readable and fresh look at the early history of the NFL"—Library Journal
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"Fans who only know the league as it exists today will be shocked and fascinated by its early years."—Booklist
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"A rich history of the rise of the National Football League from its virtual obscurity at its genesis in the 1920s to its position as an economic and cultural powerhouse today... Thoroughly researched and gracefully told... An engaging and informative cultural history, on and off the gridiron."—Kirkus (Starred)
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