The NFL championship game that changed football forever: a New York Timesâ€“bestselling sports history classic by the author of Black Hawk Down.
Yankee Stadium, December 28, 1958. What was about to go down on this Sunday evening in front of sixty-four thousand fans and forty-five million home viewersâ€”the largest viewership ever assembled for a live televised eventâ€”was the first sudden death overtime in NFL history. This one battle between the leagueâ€™s best offense, the Baltimore Colts, and the best defense, the New York Giants, would propel professional football from a moderately popular pastime into Americaâ€™s favorite sport.
On the field and roaming the sidelines were seventeen future Hall of Famers, including Colts stars Johnny Unitas, Raymond Berry, and Gino Marchetti; and Giants greats Frank Gifford, Sam Huff; and assistant coaches Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry. But they were opposing teams in more ways than one. It was a contest between Baltimore blue-collars, many of whom worked off-season taking shifts at Bethlehem Steel, and the trendy, New York glamour boys of splashy magazine ads and TV commercials who mingled with politicians, Broadway stars, and even Ernest Hemingway.
Mark Bowden â€śdives into the trenches of the 1958 NFL Championship gameâ€ť for a riveting play-by-play account, the stories behind the key players, the effect it had on the league, the sport, and the country (Entertainment Weekly).
â€śBring[s] the contest so alive that you find yourself almost wondering . . . years later, how it will turn out in the end.â€ť â€”The New York Times
â€śThe Best Game Ever is sure to become an instant Sacred Text.â€ť â€”Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post