By Michael Oriard

Expert soccer this day is a $6 billion activities leisure undefined. during this astute field-level view of the nationwide soccer League due to the fact 1960, Michael Oriard appears to be like heavily on the improvement of the game and on the photo of the NFL and its designated position in American existence. on the center of this tale is a question without easy resolution: has the extreme commercializing and ''branding'' of NFL soccer because the past due Nineteen Eighties paradoxically weakened the cultural strength of a activity whose allure for greater than a century was once essentially noncommercial?

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Again he turned a loser into a winner (the team went 7-5-2), though whether he would have repeated the rest of his Green Bay magic can never be known. He died the following September. ∂π The Lombardi known to football fans—like the public image of Namath—was the one created in the media. The sporting press responded immediately to Lombardi’s success in Green Bay, and in his second season, when he won his first conference championship, the news weeklies and general-interest magazines also began paying serious attention.

Kansas City stayed close to Green Bay for the first half of the first contest, in January 1967, before being swamped 35–10. Oakland never threatened the Packers in 1968, falling 33–14. ≤∑ But there were 31,000 empty seats in the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1967, and neither game was anything more than football’s version of a pro championship. The victories of Joe Namath and the New York Jets over the Baltimore Colts in the 1969 championship (the first to be o≈cially named the Super Bowl, becoming Super Bowl III in the retrospective counting) and of Kansas City over Minnesota in 1970 were more momentous because they established parity between the two leagues as they became one.

Boys don’t strike. Vince Lombardi ultimately was a paradox as a man and an anomaly among coaches. He went to daily Mass. His sentimentalism was as real as his brutality. He failed his family, knew it, and regretted it. He struggled with his temper. He believed in fair play but not in good losing. ∏≤ But he won championships. He had to win, of course. ’’∏≥ Lombardi won with carefully selected and self-selecting players. He won with men who were willing to be his boys. The ones whom Lombardi ran o√ mostly left no record of their feelings.

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