The Most Memorable Games in Patriots History

the-most-memorable-games-in-patriots-history-the-oral-history-of-a-legendary-team

If you remember 15 years of losing to the Dolphins in the Orange Bowl, you will love this book. If you enjoy reading about the history of the National Football League, you will enjoy this book. If you think the Patriots begin and end with Tom Brady, you may be disappointed. If you hate the Patriots, you will want to burn this book.

Jim Baker, a regular contributor to ESPN.com’s “Page 2” and Bernard M. Corbett, author of The Only Game That Matters: The Harvard/Yale Rivalry compile the history of the New England Patriots franchise by using 10 key games as the tentpoles. Besides the game descriptions, the book is full of player recollections, trivia, and stats.

The Patriots started off as one of the top teams in the American Football League. Then the team’s success ebbed and flowed with an ownership that usually lacked the capital to compete. After a few years of turmoil in the front office, Robert Kraft positioned the team for its current run of success.

The authors interviewed dozens of players, including Raymond Berry, Troy Brown, Steve Grogan, John Hannah, Steve Nelson, Dante Scarnecchia, Patrick Sullivan, and the late Mosi Tatupu. Those interviews are added to add great color to the stories about the franchise and the individual games.

The team’s current success can be attributed to a strong owner, a great coach and a great quarterback. You will not find any meaningful quotes from those three in the book. Besides Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and Robert Kraft, Drew Bledsoe is also missing from the list of interviewees.

What are the ten games? Of course the three Super Bowl wins are in there. There is the win over the Giants in 2007 to go 18-0 in the regular season. You should buy the book and discover the six others.

The publisher was kind enough to send me a copy of this book for review.

44 Presidents versus 44 Super Bowls

In 2010, an historic collision of timelines happened in Southern Florida. Super Bowl XLIV was taking place in Joe Robbie Stadium Pro Player Park Pro Player Stadium Dolphin Stadium Land Shark Stadium Sun Life Stadium while the 44th president was sitting in the White House watching the game. The line of presidents started in 1789 with George Washington. The line of Super Bowls started in 1967 with a battle between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Don Steinberg saw this collision coming and decided to have these two American institutions battle each in America Bowl. He mashed together the relative quality of each president with the relative quality of each Super Bowl. The result is odd mix of American history, sports history, presidential trivia and football trivia, as odd as the original inspiration.

As a kid, Steinberg had little plastic statues of the presidents. Since he was a boy, he of course pitted them in battles against one another, turning them into fighting action figures. He was destined to be a political science major in college. From there he found his true passion as a sports writer.

Steinberg finally found a way to combine his passions. “It’s the most fun you can have learning about America’s presidents and Super Bowls without having to read two separate books.”

I won’t give away the ending, but you can guess the one-sided start. It took a few years for the Super Bowl contests to become great games. Super Bowl III was a tremendous battle just before the merger of AFL and the NFL, pitting the Colts against the brash Jets. Unfortunately for the that football contest, it is lined up against Thomas Jefferson. The top of the presidential order is unstoppable: Washington, Adams and Jefferson.

I think the book is targeted to younger readers, filled with snazzy quips and graphics. Each contest is squeezed concisely into two pages. I was hoping to have more details on the games and the presidents.  (But I’m not a young reader.) I had fun with it.