Lombardi Rules

Fifty years ago, Vince Lombardi took over the Green Bay Packers and revolutionized the game of football

At the height of Operation Desert Storm in February 1991, former All-American football star Ron Kramer was watching the news on television. Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, chief of U.S. ground forces in the Persian Gulf, was detailing an assault by his forces into Iraq, using arrows and diagrams to illustrate the maneuvers. Kramer, who had played tight end for Green Bay from 1957 to 1964, squinted at his television screen. He had seen those arrows before. Read more »

The Greatest Athlete In The World

That’s what everyone agreed. Jim Thorpe was at the 1912 Olympics, but legend had to make him even more—and draconian rules had to take it all away

Jim Thorpe at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden

Jim Thorpe throws the discus at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden, where he was awarded the gold medal in the decathlon.

Americans have always demanded that their heroes be more than human. George Washington had to have thrown the dollar across the Potomac, Davy Crockett had to have wrestled a grizzly, Babe Ruth had to have come through for a dying boy with a promised home run. We all know that these stories are Sunday truths, but somehow the men wouldn’t be the same without them.

Inventing Modern Football

SMU isn’t playing this season; men on the team were accepting money from alumni. That’s bad, of course; but today’s game grew out of even greater scandal.

During October of 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt, who had recently intervened in a national coal strike and the Russo-Japanese War, turned his formidable attention to another kind of struggle. The President, a gridiron enthusiast who avidly followed the fortunes of his alma mater, Harvard, summoned representatives of the Eastern football establishment—Harvard, Yale, and Princeton—to the White House. He wanted to discuss brutality and the lack of sportsmanship in college play. Read more »

Remington And The Eli Eleven

A Vivid Look at Early Football

Each fall for more than a century now, the thoughts of countless young men have turned to the controlled mayhem called football. It may not be the national game, but it has been around nearly as long as baseball, and for many there has been no contest between the two: football wins, knees down. Read more »

The Way I See It

Like most authentic folk creations, baseball is deeply and obscurely rooted in the past and its moment of origin is cloaked in legend. There are innumerable threads that go back to the beginning of things, but nobody can follow them all the way. This is partly because they lead to a thousand cow pastures and smalltown parks where no records were kept, and partly because anyone who tries to follow them must sooner or later run into the shadowy figure of General Abner Doubledav. Read more »