Of Mikes and Men

Forget glamour, white lights, and coast-to-coast coverage. The pre-World War II National Football League was, as they say, strictly from Peoria. The NFL has traveled far since those backwater years. Of Mikes and Men (Diamond Communications, 1998, 307 pages) tells the NFL’s odyssey through the words of its broadcast play-by-play and color Voices.

Radio helped professional football lure an early following. This book evokes those roots—and how television sustained them. In this anthology, Curt Smith assembles stories by football’s wizards of the microphone about owners, players, coaches, colleagues, sponsors, and themselves—and the NFL as pastime and passion.

Enjoy tales about pro football’s greatest games—funny and dramatic moments behind and beyond the microphone. Read about Thom Brennaman on Anthony Munoz scorching Buddy Ryan. Tom Jackson recalls doing his first Super Bowl telecast—in his underwear. Chuck Thompson tells how John Unitas stunned Big Daddy Lipscomb by pulling fish from a restaurant tank.

Such announcers affect how generations experience the game, as these stories, many told expressly for this book, make clear. Subjects include Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry, cable television, life on the road, and the early American Football League. Read Ken Coleman on Jimmy Brown; Joe Buck, today’s TV; Chris Schenkel, the first America’s Team; and Curt Gowdy, the “Heidi Game.” Reading Of Mikes and Men, you will hear companions speaking as they do each fall and winter weekend.