Clouds Over the Goalpost

Clouds Over the Goalpost

Gambling, Assassination, and the NFL in 1963

Book - 2013
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"The pro football season of 1963 was dominated by the unexpected. In April, months prior to the beginning of play, it was revealed that two All-Star players, Paul Hornung and Alex Karras, were gambling on the sport and would be suspended from play for at least a year. Even worse, in May, one of the league's bigger-than-life personalities, Big Daddy Lipscomb, was found dead, with police saying he perished from a heroin overdose, something those who knew him best still dispute. As play began in September, the Pro Football Hall of Fame opened its doors in Canton, Ohio, the same town where the National Football League was founded in 1921 and inducted its first class. Also, the war for players and prestige raged with the upstart American Football League trying to obtain equal footing in the public eye. On the field, it was to be the year the Chicago Bears and their aging owner-coach George Halas knew glory once more, fighting off the latest dynasty Green Bay Packers led by Vince Lombardi in a season-long chase for the Western Division title. Yet even that was overshadowed by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. While the nation mourned and other sports leagues suspended activity, the NFL played on with its regular season that sad weekend-- a choice commissioner Pete Rozelle later called the worst mistake of his tenure. Clouds over the Goalpost is filled with controversy not only on the field, but off it as well. From the various suspensions to an exciting championship game between the Bears and Giants, 1963 was a year that the NFL would never forget-- for both the good and the bad" -- from publisher's web site.
Publisher: New York : Sports Publishing, [2013]
ISBN: 9781613213988
Branch Call Number: GV954 .C58 2013
Characteristics: 327 pages ; 24 cm


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Mar 02, 2015

Easy light reading concentrated on the Bears/Halas history. It also gives various insights to the game of its' time and the thinking behind the league development and expansion.
The focus of the gambling in the early 60's is largly unenlightning. However, the piece on Big Daddy Lipscomb is interestng and according to this author , Bobby Lujack ran an improbable 4.17 in the 40 yard dash. News indeed, if it were true. Me thinks the hour glass may not have been reset properly.

Jan 05, 2015

I haven't read this book, but the ONLY connection I am aware of between President Kennedy, the Kennedy administration and pro ball is that they pressured the Washington Redskins to integrate their football team.

The book's title is misleading. Besides one chapter devoted to the Kennedy assassination, and that mostly cribbed from Jim Bishop's THE DAY KENNEDY WAS SHOT, there is nothing here connecting the Kennedy assassination to gambling and professional football. The gambling in the title refers to NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle's suspension of Paul Hornung and Alex Karras for the 1963 season. The book is worth reading though. Despite some repetitious padding, Freedman's book is an excellent history of the the Bears and the Packers, as well as the early AFL. There is one standout chapter -- the mysterious death of "Big Daddy" Gene Lipscomb, which also took place in 1963.


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