Football books: from the Seattle Seahawks to Nick Saban

The first wave of football books of 2014 are a mix of memoir, history, and gridiron venting. The subject matter ranges from the Seahawks Super Bowl championship to a Pennsylvania high school team that lifted a small town’s spirits during a long-running 1959 labor dispute. Here are some of the best works with notable excerpts from each.

1. 'Football: Great Writing About the National Sport,' edited by John Schulian

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The book is an anthology with entries by some of the most famous names in sportswriting, including Grantland Rice, Red Smith, Frank Deford, Dan Jenkins, and Rick Reilly.

From a Los Angeles Times sport column by Jim Murray on Jan. 13, 1969, about the New York Jets’ shocking upset of the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III:

“I would say the Colts were terrible, but that would be an overstatement. They weren’t that good. It’s hard to believe this team went through 30 NFL games and only lost two in the past two years.

“The Colts started the game as if the other guys didn’t show up yet. The first three plays gained 36 yards. It looked as if the only thing that might happen to them is that they might get bored to death, or have trouble staying awake. Then, they gradually lost their poise, their tempers, and, finally, the game. [Jets quarterback Joe] Namath picked them apart as though they were a safe he had memorized the combination to. The right side of the Baltimore line was as wide open as a Yukon saloon on a Saturday night. Jet halfbacks were fighting to get to run through it or by it.”

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