Red Grange and the Rise of Modern Football (Sport and Society)

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9780252071669: Red Grange and the Rise of Modern Football (Sport and Society)
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Before the Super Bowl, before "Monday Night Football," even before the NFL, there was Red Grange. Catapulted into the public eye in 1924 by scoring four touchdowns in twelve minutes for the University of Illinois, the "Galloping Ghost" went on to a trailblazing career as a professional player, Hollywood football idol, and broadcaster. He ranked with Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey in the 1920s as the most heralded figures in America's "golden age of sport," and when Sports Illustrated did a special issue in 1991 on the greatest moments in sports, Grange was selected for the cover.
 
Grange's star rose in tandem with that of the sport itself. His spectacular performance as a college player coincided with football's evolution into a rallying point of university life, undergirded by post-World War I money, cars, roads, stadiums, and mass media. With a natural talent and down-home image that helped legitimize professional football, Grange became one of the first athlete-heroes and the first major sports figure to serve as a play-by-play broadcast commentator.
 
John Carroll depicts the career of this softspoken pioneer who helped lift pro football above its reputation as "a dirty little business run by rogues and bargain-basement entrepreneurs." A reluctant celebrity and folk hero, Red Grange stood throughout his life as a symbol of older, rural American values: an unpretentious self-made individual making a mark in a society increasingly controlled by machines, vast corporations, and stifling bureaucracies. His story is an essential element in understanding football's central place in American culture.
 

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Red Grange was one of the certified heroes of an era that produced the anchors to any sporting hall of fame--Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey, Bill Tilden, Bobby Jones--but Red Grange and the Rise of Modern Football is no simple exercise in hero-worship. A professor of history at Lamar University, John M. Carroll works to put Grange in perspective against the backdrop of an amazing era--the '20s--and tackle the Galloping Ghost's myth. Still, in Grange's case, the myth remains awfully impressive.

A true superstar, Grange was a reluctant idol, letting his actions speak for him. In an era before big athletic scholarships, Grange paid for his education by delivering ice in the summer, a job that made him stronger than most of the defense men he'd regularly bowl over. As a junior at Illinois, Grange secured his legend with an inconceivable performance against Michigan, running for four touchdowns in the first 12 minutes. Before the final gun sounded--Carroll recounts this, and other games in glorious detail--Grange had added a fifth score on the ground, passed for a sixth, racked up a ridiculous 402 rushing yards on the day, and cemented his reputation. Post college, his all-American drawing power and singular brilliance on the field virtually saved the struggling young NFL; Carroll is quite thorough in his examination of the fledgling league and its odor of "a dirty little business run by rogues." Yet, despite all the fame and celebrity, a flirtation with Hollywood, and a respected post-playing career in the radio booth and various businesses, Grange never escaped his heartland unpretentiousness; he always seemed to know who he was and how he got that way. "I could run," he once said, "and that was the basis of any success I ever had." Because he ran so well, of course, that success evolved into a full-blown legend worthy of Carroll's scrupulous and absorbing examination. --Jeff Silverman

About the Author:

John M. Carroll is Regents’ Professor of History at Lamar University and the author of Fritz Pollard: Pioneer in Racial Advancement.
 

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Book Description University of Illinois Press, United States, 2004. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Before the Super Bowl, before "Monday Night Football," even before the NFL, there was Red Grange. Catapulted into the public eye in 1924 by scoring four touchdowns in twelve minutes for the University of Illinois, the "Galloping Ghost" went on to a trailblazing career as a professional player, Hollywood football idol, and broadcaster. He ranked with Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey in the 1920s as the most heralded figures in America's "golden age of sport," and when Sports Illustrated did a special issue in 1991 on the greatest moments in sports, Grange was selected for the cover. Grange's star rose in tandem with that of the sport itself. His spectacular performance as a college player coincided with football's evolution into a rallying point of university life, undergirded by post-World War I money, cars, roads, stadiums, and mass media. With a natural talent and down-home image that helped legitimize professional football, Grange became one of the first athlete-heroes and the first major sports figure to serve as a play-by-play broadcast commentator. John Carroll depicts the career of this softspoken pioneer who helped lift pro football above its reputation as "a dirty little business run by rogues and bargain-basement entrepreneurs." A reluctant celebrity and folk hero, Red Grange stood throughout his life as a symbol of older, rural American values: an unpretentious self-made individual making a mark in a society increasingly controlled by machines, vast corporations, and stifling bureaucracies. His story is an essential element in understanding football's central place in American culture. Seller Inventory # BTE9780252071669

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