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» » That First Season: How Vince Lombardi Took the Worst Team in the NFL and Set It on the Path to Glory
That First Season: How Vince Lombardi Took the Worst Team in the NFL and Set It on the Path to Glory

That First Season: How Vince Lombardi Took the Worst Team in the NFL and Set It on the Path to Glory

John Eisenberg
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1701 kb
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4.8 of 5
Mariner Books; 1st Printing edition (September 21, 2010)

John Eisenberg's That First Season is the seldom-studied prequel to a phenomenal football career for Vince Lombardi and the Packers, drawing on exhaustive research and interviews to tell an incredible ensemble tale of a team, a town, and their leader.

The once-vaunted Green Bay Packers were a laughing stock by the late 1950s. They hadn't fielded a winning team in more than a decade and were close to losing their franchise to another city. They were in desperate need of a savior, and he arrived in a wood-paneled station wagon in the dead of winter from New York City. In a single year, Vince Lombardi—the grizzled coach who took no bull—transformed a team of underachievers into winners and resurrected a city known for its passion for sport.

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7 Reviews
  • Over the years I have read just about every book I could find on Coach Lombardi, from his time with the Giants through Run to Daylight and Instant Replay and on to the Redskins. This is as good as any of them, an in-depth look at Vince and the building blocks he had to work with (or add) upon arriving at Green Bay. Rather than make it sound like the Packers were destined for success (the smug Sports Illustrated orientation), this piece takes you step by step through the process and allows you to see where mistakes or mishaps could have or did happen. While not necessarily the point of the book, it is quietly instructive on one way to make a dynasty. This must have taken tons of time to research and put together, with minute details from nearly 60 years ago. It is effectively paced and written, I really have only positive things to say about it. If you'd like to know more about Vince, the Packers, or just putting a winning football team together, this book is right up your alley.

  • Imagine Vince Lombardi showing up as a coach of an NFL team and not being a popular selection. This happened after the 1958 season, when the Green Bay Packers had one win, ten losses, and one tie. Green Bay had not enjoyed a winning team in more than a decade. That First Season, which is a historical overview of the first season when the Green Bay Packers were led by a first-time head coach, Vince Lombardi. In order to tell the story with the full impact it deserves, the experienced sports writer and author of That First Season, John Eisenberg, provides a historical perspective on the small city of Green Bay, the failing football team, and then describes how Vince Lombardi led the unpopular team of underdogs to greatness.
    The ownership structure of the Packers was unique and there were many challenges facing the NFL team. The team is owned by the people of Green Bay, who feared the Green Bay Packers would be moved to a different city since the franchise was in jeopardy. Vince Lombardi was so strict, that he told a player he needed to lose twenty pounds or be gone. The player lost ten pounds, and although he was one of the better players, he was let go. There was no doubt who was in charge of the Green Bay Packers. The previous coach was undisciplined, didn't care about working hard, and tolerated a losing attitude.
    This reviewer has really enjoyed the book and recommends That First Season to anyone who likes football and is interested in the history of the game. The book is unique because the author includes the perspectives of many people who were involved during that first season such as the players, other coaches, members of the media, and Vince Lombardi's son. It is a fascinating read to be given a view of how a very strict, extremely disciplined, organized, focused, repetitive, striving for perfection coaching style took players who were marginal at best and turned them into Hall of Famers

  • Vince Lombardi is one of these rare individuals whose achievements are immortal. It is fascinating therefore to try and understand the human being put on such a pedestal. This book is a good starter for that purpose, aptly named in that regard. It’s not a biography in any respect nor an in-depth study. But it’s the right first book for those interested. To be honest, it is far too much a football play by play game after game. But it’s a quick read and does make you want to learn more about a remarkable leader who we all could use to be all we can be.

  • As a lifelong Packer fan, I loved how this book built up to and continued through Lombardi’s hiring and first year. I’m old enough to remember those first years and the team members. I’ve toured the Packer stadium (have gone back for games and hold a couple shares of stock); this book adds an introduction to an amazing era. I’m probably prejudiced and am giving this 5* rating due to my love of the team, but it should also be of interest to anyone who grew up loving pro football.

  • I was 14 when Lombardi showed up. It was the greatest time. I remember watching the games at my Grand Parents house each Sunday after church. My grandfather would always cheer for the other team just to tease me. The next week all of my friends would the go out and recreate the last game. Each of use would be one of the Packet players. Great Read!

  • I'm a sports fan that wasn't sure this would be a book that would keep my attention (being that I'm not a Packers fan). With the easy to read format, it took no time at all for me to be hooked and get through the entire book in a day or two. Well worth the read.