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A Biography

Jerry Izenberg

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: University of Nebraska Press
Published: 10/2014
Pages: 312
Subject: Biography and Autobiography
eBook ISBN: 9780803266971


Rozelle chronicles the life and times of the architect of the modern National Football League, Pete Rozelle, who transformed football into arguably the most successful sports league in the world. While he was never considered a serious candidate for the job of NFL commissioner early on, the position ultimately catapulted Rozelle into the role through which he transformed the NFL and became a trailblazer for all sports in the second half of the twentieth century. When he became commissioner in 1960, the league had twelve teams playing to half-empty stadiums and was mired in an outdated business model. Rozelle introduced revenue and television profit sharing to guarantee the success of small-market teams and brought every NFL game to national television.    Rozelle’s monumental achievements include the introduction of the Super Bowl in the ’60s followed by the NFL’s most rapid expansion and the establishment of Monday Night Football. The ’80s saw Rozelle presiding over drug scandals, labor struggles, and the league’s legal battles with team owners such as Oakland’s Al Davis, who famously won a lawsuit to move his Raiders to Los Angeles.   Jerry Izenberg chronicles the iconic life of Rozelle, who revolutionized the culture of sports in America and is responsible for turning the NFL into the preeminent sports league in the world.    


Jerry Izenberg is a sports columnist emeritus for the Newark Star-Ledger and is the author of several books, including Through My Eyes: A Sports Writer’s 58-Year Journey. He won the Red Smith Award from the Associated Press Sports Editors and was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame in 2000.   David Stern is former commissioner of the National Basketball Association.


"Read Rozelle: A Biography, and you'll know not only why the NFL got gargantuan, but why Rozelle is the single biggest reason why it got so big."—Peter King, senior writer for Sports Illustrated

"Jerry Izenberg was an astute observer of the NFL's extraordinary growth during the Pete Rozelle era. His coverage was down to earth, his sources were in the know, and he often challenged conventional wisdom. Now, with the benefit of research and reflection, Izenberg's assessment of Rozelle and key League personalities is as hard-hitting as one might expect. . . . [Izenberg's views are] briskly rendered, sometimes humorous, and never ambiguous."—Paul Tagliabue, former NFL Commissioner

"All professional football fans will enjoy this well-reported biography of a seminal figure in NFL history."—John Maxymuk, Library Journal