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Between the Immaculate Reception in 1972 and The Catch in 1982, pro football grew up. In 1972, Steelers star Franco Harris hitchhiked to practice. NFL teams roomed in skanky motels. They played on guts, painkillers, legal steroids, fury, and camaraderie. A decade later, Joe Montana’s gleamingly efficient 49ers ushered in a new era: the corporate, scripted, multibillion-dol Between the Immaculate Reception in 1972 and The Catch in 1982, pro football grew up. In 1972, Steelers star Franco Harris hitchhiked to practice. NFL teams roomed in skanky motels. They played on guts, painkillers, legal steroids, fury, and camaraderie. A decade later, Joe Montana’s gleamingly efficient 49ers ushered in a new era: the corporate, scripted, multibillion-dollar NFL we watch today. Kevin Cook’s rollicking chronicle of this pivotal decade draws on interviews with legendary players—Harris, Montana, Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, Ken “Snake” Stabler—to re-create their heroics and off-field carousing. He shows coaches John Madden and Bill Walsh outsmarting rivals as Monday Night Football redefined sports’ place in American life. Celebrating the game while lamenting the physical toll it took on football’s greatest generation, Cook diagrams the NFL’s transformation from second-tier sport into national obsession.


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Between the Immaculate Reception in 1972 and The Catch in 1982, pro football grew up. In 1972, Steelers star Franco Harris hitchhiked to practice. NFL teams roomed in skanky motels. They played on guts, painkillers, legal steroids, fury, and camaraderie. A decade later, Joe Montana’s gleamingly efficient 49ers ushered in a new era: the corporate, scripted, multibillion-dol Between the Immaculate Reception in 1972 and The Catch in 1982, pro football grew up. In 1972, Steelers star Franco Harris hitchhiked to practice. NFL teams roomed in skanky motels. They played on guts, painkillers, legal steroids, fury, and camaraderie. A decade later, Joe Montana’s gleamingly efficient 49ers ushered in a new era: the corporate, scripted, multibillion-dollar NFL we watch today. Kevin Cook’s rollicking chronicle of this pivotal decade draws on interviews with legendary players—Harris, Montana, Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, Ken “Snake” Stabler—to re-create their heroics and off-field carousing. He shows coaches John Madden and Bill Walsh outsmarting rivals as Monday Night Football redefined sports’ place in American life. Celebrating the game while lamenting the physical toll it took on football’s greatest generation, Cook diagrams the NFL’s transformation from second-tier sport into national obsession.

30 review for The Last Headbangers: NFL Football in the Rowdy, Reckless '70s: the Era that Created Modern Sports

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tom Gase

    A really fun book to read on football from 1972 to 1982. Starts with Franco Harris' "catch" in 1972 against the Raiders and ends with Dwight Clark's catch against the Cowboys in 1982. Football sure was different. A lot of nicknames, dynasties and oh yeah, hard hitting. Football seems to have no hard-hitting anymore as the NFL is geared more toward offense now than 40 years ago. You learn about hard-hitters in this book such as Jack Tatum, Jack Lambert, mean Joe Greene, Lawrence Taylore (a little A really fun book to read on football from 1972 to 1982. Starts with Franco Harris' "catch" in 1972 against the Raiders and ends with Dwight Clark's catch against the Cowboys in 1982. Football sure was different. A lot of nicknames, dynasties and oh yeah, hard hitting. Football seems to have no hard-hitting anymore as the NFL is geared more toward offense now than 40 years ago. You learn about hard-hitters in this book such as Jack Tatum, Jack Lambert, mean Joe Greene, Lawrence Taylore (a little) and others. You also will read a lot about such dominant teams in the 1970s such as the Pittsburgh Steelers and how they got Terry Bradshaw, the Oakland Raiders and their rivalry with Pittsburgh, the Miami Dolphins and how they went 17-0, the Dallas Cowboys and Roger Staubach, the Minnesota Vikings and how they went to four Super Bowls but lost them all and then the book ends with the 49ers and how they started a new era with Dwight Clark's catch. This book also, however, talks about the dangers and why the NFL is geared more toward safety now as it talks about Darryl Stingley and the loss of his ability to walk. This book for most people will be a five, hands down. I rated it only a four because I read too much and a lot of these stories I had read about in other books. For football fans that don't read as often as I do, a real can't-miss read. If you also liked "The Ones that Hit the Hardest" you'll love this.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Gareth Evans

    My interest in American Football post dates the period this book covers by several decades. Although many names crop up from time to time in contemporary coverage. The Last Headbangers is an interesting look at a time when the sport, and the society in which the sport was played, was very different. It’s an entertaining romp through the period with a good mixture of contemporary sources and more recent interviews. Recommended as a thoroughly entertaining read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    Loved pro football in the 70's and this helps memorialize it. Loved pro football in the 70's and this helps memorialize it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    JBP

    Let me previse this review by saying I've been a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers professional football team since the late 1970s and before I hit double digits age wise. So, any book that has them at the center of its story regarding the wild, violent era of the NFL that I loved as a kid? Well, I'm gonna be into that and that was the case with this book by Kevin Cook that follows a few of the decades top teams: Steelers, Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins and the Dallas Cowboys [a bunch of wimps who Let me previse this review by saying I've been a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers professional football team since the late 1970s and before I hit double digits age wise. So, any book that has them at the center of its story regarding the wild, violent era of the NFL that I loved as a kid? Well, I'm gonna be into that and that was the case with this book by Kevin Cook that follows a few of the decades top teams: Steelers, Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins and the Dallas Cowboys [a bunch of wimps who I hated as a kid because all my friends in Oklahoma loved them] receiving the most attention. The 1970s brand of pro-football was drastically different than today's. Legal steroids [!], open drug use, all kinds of on-field cheating, rugged style of playing and the kind of no-holds barred violence that would make current commissioner [or czar, or dictator] Roger Goodall suspend a huge chunk of some team's rosters. If the Raiders of the 1970s led by John Madden time travel into 2012--over half the team would be suspended immediately for all kinds of illegal, brutal shenanigans. In 1978 though, that was just the way the game was played--violent, ruthless, take no prisoner, manhood challenging and destructive. I have to say, maybe its politically incorrect of me and espousing a gladiatorial viewpoint, but I really, really miss the days when the grid-iron was pure violent mayhem. Back to the book. Cook keeps his descriptions of game action brief, but still packs in all the humorous tales about games, teams, players, Super Bowls and yes, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Any fan of the Black and Gold needs to read this one as it chronicles the entire decade that saw the Steelers take four Super Bowls trophies back to the Iron City. The book is nostalgic, but it's not just praise from Cook as he points out the negative elements to the game and culture from the era. He doesn't concentrate on that, but it's in there. No, this is a celebration of the brand of football that will never be played again and to the men who played and coached during this unique time, before pro-football was civilized into the mainstream by trying to rid aspects that casual fans might find offensive. The 1970s? That was some serious football!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Wayne Fitzpatrick

    Raiders and Steelers fans unite for this breezy, nostalgic look at some of the more colorful and entertaining people and moments of the NFL during 1970's and 1980's. Not the best book written about football about that era (try "Badasses" by Peter Richmond if you're a Raider's fan or "The One's Who Hit Hardest..." by Chad Millman and Shawn Coyne if you're a Steelers fan for better reads about football during its golden days). But, Kevin Cook does a good job of highlighting some of the bigger mome Raiders and Steelers fans unite for this breezy, nostalgic look at some of the more colorful and entertaining people and moments of the NFL during 1970's and 1980's. Not the best book written about football about that era (try "Badasses" by Peter Richmond if you're a Raider's fan or "The One's Who Hit Hardest..." by Chad Millman and Shawn Coyne if you're a Steelers fan for better reads about football during its golden days). But, Kevin Cook does a good job of highlighting some of the bigger moments that helped shape the NFL. He also gives a glimpse into an era in pro sports and in America that has long since passed. Naturally, the Dallas Cowboys are casted as the arrogant, prima donnas against the gritty, rowdy and rebellious Raiders and Steelers teams of the '70's and '80's (anyone who knows about the likes of Duane Thomas, Cliff Harris, Randy White and Hollywood Henderson will find this humorous). The stories are slanted so much in favor of the Steelers and Raiders it is enough to make almost feel badly for the Cowboys. Almost. But,a quick perusal of the jacket and prologue of the book should give the reader a good sense of the writer's focus. Cook also traces the origins of the NFL and the changes the sport has experienced throughout the years and describes how many "legal" plays during that era could easily get a players and/or suspended in this current NFL era. He also does a good job of following some of the players in their post Steelers and Raiders careers. "The Last Headbangers" is a good quick read for a rainy weekend or to keep you entertained on a long plan ride or layover. For better books on this topic, take a look at the books listed above in this review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    I was 10 years old, when The Houston Oilers drafted Earl Campbell, and the whole city seemed to catch "Luv Ya Blue" fever. I was hooked on Pro Football from then on. I read everything I could on the game, and I watched everything I could on TV, about the game. "The Last Headbangers" looks at the NFL, mainly between the years 1972-1981. While a lot of subjects are covered, the books seems to be very "Pittsburgh Steeler" heavy. The Dolphins, Raiders, Cowboys(and later 49ers)get their due, but this I was 10 years old, when The Houston Oilers drafted Earl Campbell, and the whole city seemed to catch "Luv Ya Blue" fever. I was hooked on Pro Football from then on. I read everything I could on the game, and I watched everything I could on TV, about the game. "The Last Headbangers" looks at the NFL, mainly between the years 1972-1981. While a lot of subjects are covered, the books seems to be very "Pittsburgh Steeler" heavy. The Dolphins, Raiders, Cowboys(and later 49ers)get their due, but this book seems to focus on the Steelers. They did win 4 Super Bowls in the 1970's, after all. The writer makes a few mistakes, in regards to players and when they quit, and also some "pop" culture references... All in all I did enjoy this book. I remember this kind of football. The game has changed a lot since 1972, and even since 1982. I was a little disappointed that the writer fails to mention a controversial call in the 1979 AFC Championship Game between The Oilers and Steelers. A touchdown that would have tied the game for Houston was ruled incomplete and they had to settle for a field goal, and ended up losing the game. The replays seem to show that it was a TD. This play helped (years after the fact) Instant Replay to be used in games, for the refs to look at tough calls. But not a mention if it here. Still, all in all a fun book, if you are a football fan!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chris Schaffer

    The title is misleading..it is less about the entire league than it is about the Steelers and Raiders primarily, with some stuff mixed in on the Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, and at the end, the San Francisco 49ers. There was a lot in 1970s football that I would've liked to have in it: the Washington Redskins of George Allen - his paranoia of Dallas and the rivalry that ensued; more on the Cowboys: their offensive innovations, cheerleaders, drugs/sex around it, comebacks by The title is misleading..it is less about the entire league than it is about the Steelers and Raiders primarily, with some stuff mixed in on the Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, and at the end, the San Francisco 49ers. There was a lot in 1970s football that I would've liked to have in it: the Washington Redskins of George Allen - his paranoia of Dallas and the rivalry that ensued; more on the Cowboys: their offensive innovations, cheerleaders, drugs/sex around it, comebacks by Staubach; the '78 title game between Oakland-Denver - how Oakland got screwed multiple times; the Al Davis-Rozelle feud as well as Davis vs. others, expansion. And while he did try to tie the book to the present, he really rushed it, trying to encapsulate the 30+ years that have passed in a matter of pages. Overall a good, quick and easy read but could've been better. Also some mistakes. Minnesota didn't beat Houston in the 1974 playoffs 51-10..that was a regular season game. And Cliff Branch did not sit out the 1979 season for the Oakland Raiders.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brian S. Wise

    I won this book via a Goodreads “First Reads” giveaway. “The Last Headbangers” recovers from a disastrous, cliché ridden prologue to become a decent enough book about the NFL in the 1970s, the last decade before the West Coast Offense began ruling the civilized world. Cook's hackery returns here and there – I can't decide whether this is his style or he's trying to be tongue-in-cheek – but football fans should find enough to keep them reading. Favorite lines of the book, page 39: “In 1972, the so- I won this book via a Goodreads “First Reads” giveaway. “The Last Headbangers” recovers from a disastrous, cliché ridden prologue to become a decent enough book about the NFL in the 1970s, the last decade before the West Coast Offense began ruling the civilized world. Cook's hackery returns here and there – I can't decide whether this is his style or he's trying to be tongue-in-cheek – but football fans should find enough to keep them reading. Favorite lines of the book, page 39: “In 1972, the so-called Year of the Runner, a record ten running backs gained 1,000 yards or more. The Bills' O.J. Simpson led the way, slashing to a league best 1,251.” Yes. Orenthal did a lot of slashing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Matt Lieberman

    The Last Headbangers, Kevin Cook's paean to the violent and freewheeling NFL of the seventies is narrowly-focused, somewhat disorganized, but still a generally entertaining read about (some of) the teams and characters of the period. Cook, whose work has appeared in Sports Illustrated and Men's Health, mines one of the sport's richest eras and the book is full of trivia about the motley individuals on NFL payrolls during the decade and how the decade paved the way for the current NFL. The sevent The Last Headbangers, Kevin Cook's paean to the violent and freewheeling NFL of the seventies is narrowly-focused, somewhat disorganized, but still a generally entertaining read about (some of) the teams and characters of the period. Cook, whose work has appeared in Sports Illustrated and Men's Health, mines one of the sport's richest eras and the book is full of trivia about the motley individuals on NFL payrolls during the decade and how the decade paved the way for the current NFL. The seventies served as a real transitional period between the run-heavy, no-nonsense, collectivist, NFL of the previous several decades and today's flashy, lucrative, and wide-open NFL as players such as Joe Namath became cultural icons and the sport openly embraced television and the passing game. Though not without its flaws, the book is a light read and worth spending an offseason afternoon or two with. Cook begins with the Immaculate Reception, when Franco Harris improbably caught a pass deflected off of Jack Tatum/Frenchy Fuqua (depending on your partisanship. Harris' catch should have been nullified if Fuqua touched the ball first) in the waning moments of a 1972 playoff game between the Steelers and Raiders. The game finally established the Steelers as a legitimate contender after spending most of its previous thirty-eight seasons mired firmly in the doldrums of the league standings. It also set the stage for one of the most intense rivalries of the decade, as the Raiders and Steelers were constant fixtures in the AFC playoffs and their meetings/bloodbaths often determined the conference's Super Bowl participant. Covering the league through the Immaculate Reception to the rise of Bill Walsh's more cerebral and finesse West Coast offense in the early eighties, the book chronicles several of the era's dominant teams and the changes taking place in the game on and off the field. The Last Headbangers is largely a chronological history of the league in the seventies, winding across several teams as well as off-field phenomena like Monday Night Football, which was emerging as a cultural institution. The sport itself was finally emerging from college football's shadow and it became the nation's most popular sport by the end of the decade. He also examines the various rule changes enacted during the period by the all-powerful Competition Committee. These new rules helped open up the passing game and create a more exciting, high-scoring brand of football. The group brought in "innovations" such as narrower hash marks (to open up both sides of the field), uprights in the back of the end zone (to reduce those pesky field goals), and reductions in contact between defensive backs and receivers (to open up the passing game and bring us the pinball-esque numbers we see from non-Jets quarterbacks today). One change that I was not aware of was that missed field goals from outside the twenty-yard line were actually spotted on the twenty rather than the line of scrimmage. When that rule was changed in 1974, it adjusted coaches' calculus for field goals and also offered shorter fields for teams facing reckless coaches with inaccurate kickers. Cook's analysis of the changes, augmented by comments by Brian Billick and others, is definitely one of the book's highlights. While it paved the way for the current NFL, the league had several elements that existed only within the seventies. The NFL only introduced steroid testing in 1987, and such substances were legal during the period. Performance-enhancing drug usage was even discussed frankly in books written during the time such as Roy Blount's About Three Bricks Shy of a Load, and Cook explains that steroids were rather prevalent. Some teams took such abuse to higher levels than others, however, like the Raiders and their horse steroids. The league was also took a far more laissez-faire approach to player safety, as late hits and vicious cheap shots were committed without punishment. There was no established concussion policy, and several players recount shrugging off concussions, which will probably strike football fans as more and more remarkable moving forward. Perhaps influenced by the "Me Decade" surrounding them, players began to embrace their often-outrageous personalities and coaches became more amenable/tolerant to such behavior. There was a notable shift from the collectivist ethos espoused by the likes of Vince Lombardi to the philosophies of coaches like John Madden of the Raiders and Chuck Noll of the Steelers. As Noll said "I want players to be themselves," and thus the coach tolerated Frenchy Fuqua's regal and ostentatious behavior and the loose-cannon Ernie Holmes. The more militaristic strand of coaching certainly persisted, however, and teams such as the Minnesota Vikings, led by Bud Grant, football's answer to William Jennings Bryan as the loser of four Super Bowls (but winner of an NBA Championship as a Minneapolis Laker in 1950), and Dick Vermeil's straight-laced Eagles served as foils to the rambunctious Steelers and Raiders. Much to the delight of Cook's general thesis (if there really is one) the Vikings and Eagles went a combined 0-5 in the Super Bowl against teams that better exemplified the era. The book is really at its strongest when it covers the afforementioned idiosyncracies of the players and coaches. When you are dealing with ten years for an entire league I suppose it is rather easy to collect interesting material, but Cook is able share some truly fascinating trivia and anecdotes from the era. Phil Villipiano, Franco Harris, Terry Bradshaw, and many other former players were very generous with their time and memory banks and they offer up some engaging stories about their coaches and teammates. Learning about Chuck Noll's interest in gardening and classical music (he even conducted the Pittsburgh Symphony at one point), Frenchy Fuqua's goldfish-containing platform shoes, and the story about how the punctilious Jim Otto once painstakingly removed his car from its position wedged inside a bar door to make curfew at Raiders camp are some of the highlights of the book. I could really go on about all of the great stories contained within the books pages but these reviews are long-winded enough already. Just believe me that there are others. Maybe it was a product of the culture of the decade or the fact that lucrative sponsorships (and thus opportunities to put hypothetical sponsorships in jeopardy through reckless behavior) weren't available to most players, but it really seemed like players were far more willing to express themselves in the seventies, much to the benefit of those writers covering the era. It is worth noting that despite what the book's subtitle ("NFL Football in the Rowdy, Reckless, '70s) may claim, the book is almost completely focused on the Cowboys, Dolphins, Steelers, Raiders, and 49ers, and the other twenty-three teams that existed during the period go largely ignored. If you are a Redskins fan looking to read up on George Allen and the "Over-the-Hill-Gang," you will be sorely disappointed. I could write twenty-two similar sentences for the other teams (though maybe only twenty-one considering I wonder if a Saints fan would really want to relive those years of futility). While Cook clearly concentrates on the "correct" (i.e. best) teams of the decade, it prevents him from spending more time on players such as Conrad Dobler and Hollywood Henderson, who embodied some of the most prominent aspects of the time (dirtiness and drug usage, (dis)respectively). Additionally, stars like Walter Payton and Earl Campbell (both physical runners whose style could be considered "headbanger-y") The dynasties also didn't really neatly conform chronologically, and as a result Cook has to jump back and forth between teams sometimes which sometimes gives the book a disjointed feel. I also thought there was too many pages blandly recapping Super Bowls, some of which were rather staid affairs. Even the more exciting games have been exhaustively chronicled in other books and I didn't think that Cook's rather generic summaries (with their mysterious fascination with yards-per-passing-attempt) added much. While he is a generally competent writer, Cook is also apparently not above interspersing his prose with some truly lame puns. Though the subject material has been covered more extensively by other writers, I was surprised at the amount of new information contained in the book. If you have not read many of the recent books that have touched upon the dynasties of the seventies you will definitely get a lot out of it. The final section on the rise of the 49ers and their finesse West Coast offense portends end the headbanging era. Bill Walsh's more cerebral dink-and-dunk offense provided a harbinger of the multifaceted and increasingly complicated offensive and defensive schemes on the horizon. Steroids and stickum were on their way out, and gunslinging quarterbacks such as Bradshaw were being phased out by precise passers with weaker arms like Ken Anderson and Brian Sipe. The league continued to cater to passers and higher-scoring games through the tinkerings of the Competition Committee. Athletes were now making relatively absurd salaries compared to ten years prior, and the league was growing exponentially in popularity and bringing in the television revenue to match. Cook thankfully doesn't end his book with a curmudgeonly diatribe about how today's NFL is far worse than the seventies version. He acknowledges the changes without editorializing them. Cook realizes that the NFL of the seventies was triggered by a perfect storm of the nascent televised sports industry, the greater culture of the era, and ignorance to the physical toll levied by the game and its PEDs, and the league will never be able to return to that. Thankfully we have books like The Last Headbangers to memorialize the players who risked their physical health to contribute to the flashy and entertaining NFL of the the time. In Sum Despite being unorganized and poorly-(sub)titled, The Last Headbangers is a light and entertaining read that is worth reading for anyone who followed or is simply interested in the NFL at the time. While it is only focused on several teams I think that fans of other teams can still get some enjoyment out of it, unless they have something against interesting anecdotes. 6/10 Observations/Interesting Things Learned George Halas named the Chicago Bears as a play on the previously-existing Cubs. He decided to go with Bears based on the reasoning that football players were larger than baseball players. Halas also offered fans premium tickets that allowed them to sit on the visiting team's bench in the team's early days. I imagine that this was done without consulting said visiting team. Bill Cosby was considered for Monday Night Football after Don Meredith left. Al Davis did very little as commissioner as the AFL, as he quickly resigned after other AFL owners worked the merger deal behind his back. At least as acting commissioner he managed to insert the phrase "dynamic young genius" to references of his name in the press release announcing his appointment. I'm guessing this has a lot to do with the fact that the "event" covers many hours across several days but I still find it rather ridiculous that ESPN's Scouting Combine coverage outdrew both the Masters and Indianapolis 500 Jim Otto wore 00 as a pun on his last name (aught-oh). The AFL originally allowed it as a marketing ploy and it survived the merger intact. The book briefly describes the 1979 NFL draft and how Phil Simms' selection by the Giants received a poor reception from the 200 fans in attendance. As recounted in Gary Myers' Coaching Confidential, another work filled with trivia tidbits but lacking a coherent focus, Simms was subject to far more ridicule than described. Rozelle actually announced the pick twice. The commissioner was taken aback by the fans' strong negative reaction to the selection and he then realized that the cameras were not rolling. After turning on the cameras (and more importantly the microphones) Rozelle announced Simms' selection again to a chorus of boos to preserve the moment for posterity. Further Reading As I mentioned in my review, this is not even close to the only book about the NFL in the seventies. Here is a list of several others organized roughly by how much I enjoyed reading them: America's Game by Michael McCambridge About Three Bricks Shy of a Load by Roy Blount Badasses by Peter Richmond Sweetness by Jeff Pearlman (not that you would have any idea that Payton or the Bears actually existed from 1972-1982) Undefeated by Mike Freeman The Ones Who Hit the Hardest by Chad Millman and Shawn Coye As reviewed on: http://batsarenotbugs.blogspot.com/20...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bob O'G

    The Last Headbangers is a fantastic book that follows the NFL through the 1970's, making a point to track the moments when the league went from body throwing reckless mayhem to more calculated studied assaults. Kevin Cook predominantly chronicles the bitter and brutal rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders. These teams seemed to best embody what is often mentioned as "smash mouth football." The Last Headbangers is exceptionally fun to read. It is full of ridiculous chara The Last Headbangers is a fantastic book that follows the NFL through the 1970's, making a point to track the moments when the league went from body throwing reckless mayhem to more calculated studied assaults. Kevin Cook predominantly chronicles the bitter and brutal rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders. These teams seemed to best embody what is often mentioned as "smash mouth football." The Last Headbangers is exceptionally fun to read. It is full of ridiculous characters (who would seem far more like caricatures if they weren't in fact real), on field violence and high jinks, and post game partying that was often as epic as the game itself. Most of all, the book for me was nostalgic. Though I wasn't alive in the 1970's, reading about the game during that period is like reading about a different sport entirely. Players made between 30 and 60 thousand dollars per year, endorsements were almost non-existent, and rivalries were full of hatred. I'm all for player protection, making the game safer, and building a business. However the rivalry portions are what struck me as the greatest missing factor from the game today. Teams hated one another. Player hated one another. People played for teams for 10 years or more. These are the best versions of football because they amount to one thing-loyalty to the team name as opposed to the player name. A dark cloud hovers over the entire book and that dark cloud is called CTE. The author doesn't primarily focus on the disease, but he does write about it and interview players about their post career lives and troubles. Knowing what we know now about head trauma, it is hard to believe the game ever existed as it did, like some barbarian relic of a time long gone. However it did, and to hear it talked about by the players who lived it is fascinating stuff. I recommend this book to any football fan...ever. I also would toss in the book Badasses by Peter Richmond. Both are highly entertaining quick reads.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Olson

    This is an awesome book to read, I found lots of interesting things in it that I never knew about. Who know Howard Cosell didn`t like his cohosts on MNF, he though John Madden was a clown and called OJ Simpson "A kind, thoughtful, sensitive man who cares about people" And anyone ever consider going into the priesthood? Conrad Dobler said on being traded from Saint Louis to New Orleans" It`s an advancement from a cardinal to a saint"Awesome...Check it out!!! This is an awesome book to read, I found lots of interesting things in it that I never knew about. Who know Howard Cosell didn`t like his cohosts on MNF, he though John Madden was a clown and called OJ Simpson "A kind, thoughtful, sensitive man who cares about people" And anyone ever consider going into the priesthood? Conrad Dobler said on being traded from Saint Louis to New Orleans" It`s an advancement from a cardinal to a saint"Awesome...Check it out!!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dachokie

    A Little Skewed, but Captures the Essence of the Awesomeness that WAS 70s Pro Football … I was 11 when I attended my first (and only) NFL football game … December 24, 1977. Family connections in Baltimore allowed us to see the AFC Divisional Playoff Game between the upstart and talented Baltimore Colts and those “mean and dirty” Oakland Raiders. The image of sitting in the overcast, pre-snow chill of Memorial Stadium on Christmas Eve for that particular game is indelibly etched in my memory as pr A Little Skewed, but Captures the Essence of the Awesomeness that WAS 70s Pro Football … I was 11 when I attended my first (and only) NFL football game … December 24, 1977. Family connections in Baltimore allowed us to see the AFC Divisional Playoff Game between the upstart and talented Baltimore Colts and those “mean and dirty” Oakland Raiders. The image of sitting in the overcast, pre-snow chill of Memorial Stadium on Christmas Eve for that particular game is indelibly etched in my memory as probably the greatest sporting event I’ll ever see … for the simple fact I was there (Dave Casper’s game-winning double overtime TD catch aside). In those days, NOTHING trumped NFL football and it’s only now, with the NFL having morphed into its current state of being nothing more than a gaudy, money-grubbing entity in which an uber-juicy payday seems to elicit a phony passion for the game (save a few, very few), do I realize how much I miss the grit and grind of 70s brand of NFL. Kevin Cook’s THE LAST HEADBANGERS served me a massive dose of nostalgia that had me searching my personal library the souvenir program I got from that 1977 playoff game. While the book has some gaps, the shear amount of long-lost 70s memories oozing out of each page was satisfying enough for me. Cook obviously has a nostalgic passion for the 70s and all of its goofiness … those days were drenched in Technicolor expressionism and most everyone, even us kids, soaked every bit of it up. While the Cunninghams, Mr. Kotter, the Rookies and Fantasy Island provided entertainment the rest of the week, Sundays in the fall were pretty much given to the NFL. As Cook explains, the decade of the 70s rubber-stamped pro-football as being THE American sport, finally surpassing baseball. THE LAST HEADBANGERS covers a time period between the “Immaculate Reception” play in 1972 and Dwight Clark’s ballyhooed catch in 1982. The plays are significant to Cook in that he feels the “immaculate Reception” put the nail in the coffin of the 1960s, run-happy, Lombardi-driven era of football and Clark’s catch which symbolized the next generation by introducing a new dynasty to the court (49ers) and the league’s move to become the money-driven empire it is today. What’s in-between is a decade of arguably the grittiest, most colorful and entertaining moments in sports … an era of rabble-rousers who freely gave their bodies, not for money, but for pride … a different breed played and coached the game. THE LAST HEADBANGERS is simply a fun book to read and there’s a little something for everyone. Each chapter is pretty much assigned to a particular season from the perspective of the season’s eventual Super Bowl champion. I found the organization a little confusing at times as some season tended to blend together, especially when there were back to back champions like the Dolphins and the Steelers (twice). But, what makes the book so entertaining is that there is a lot of story-telling from former players who add plenty of color; it’s enjoyable hearing retired players recall events of their heyday with such vigor and it appears quite obvious that they have wistful memories of an era long gone. Cook’s research effort is definitely evident. While encapsulating the season leading up to each Super Bowl, we get an idea of how the players and coaches approached the game … and it wasn’t about a paycheck. Cook does a fine job detailing how different the game was in the 70s and how that decade pretty much served as the start of the NFL becoming such a dominant entity. Salaries were a pittance compared to those today and the game’s violence led to rules changes that most people today probably think existed all along, but the NFL Commissioner (Pete Rozelle) and team owners implemented numerous changes that really opened up the game. Arguably, players seemed to be tougher in the 70s … the vicious nature of the game was still pretty much unchecked and men played with injuries (often severe). I particularly enjoyed the birth and growth of Monday Night Football; there certainly was a lot more going on in the announcer’s booth that one could have imagined (but they always seemed to pull things off). On and off field chatter, sideline antics and “me generation” players and coaches provide much of the book’s more memorable moments. Additionally, steroids (not banned back then) and alcohol were consumed by players like milk and cookies in a daycare … crazy times. I wished Cook had expanded the book a little more … I would have loved to read more about the futility of the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers of 1976 and unfortunately, that one-of-a-kind double-overtime Baltimore-Oakland playoff game wasn't even mentioned. Understandably, the book is Steeler-laden with a heavy dose of Dolphin, Raider, Cowboy and 49er teams. Some Super Bowl losers, like the hapless Vikings and the Cowboys score a little more attention, but teams like the Rams, Redskins and Broncos only get a line or two. Regardless, this book provided a wonderful trip down memory lane for me … a reminder of how simple and fun things were back then, even in professional sports … kind of like thumbing through a copy of a 1970s Sears Christmas Wish book. I wonder if I can still find a set of those skin-tight, flammable NFL pajamas with a Redskins helmet on the shirt front.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ron Barker

    Probably biased against the book since I am a Minnesota Viking fan and they lost 4 Super Bowls during the 70's. The players from the 70's were underpaid and do agree that for those still alive they need to be compensated for with richer pensions. The book itself is a bit too much focused on the Raiders, Steelers and Dolphins and probably would have enjoyed book more if I was a fan of these teams. Probably biased against the book since I am a Minnesota Viking fan and they lost 4 Super Bowls during the 70's. The players from the 70's were underpaid and do agree that for those still alive they need to be compensated for with richer pensions. The book itself is a bit too much focused on the Raiders, Steelers and Dolphins and probably would have enjoyed book more if I was a fan of these teams.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cool Papa

    Excellent history of the NFL in the era 1972 when the great rivalries between Steelers, Cowboys, Raiders, and Dolphins was dominating the game. It was an era of destructive and deliberate on-field mayhem before modern rules concerned about head and spinal injuries. But what a cast of characters!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ralph Echtinaw

    If you grew up watching football in the 1970s you will love this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Schultheis

    What fun! I really enjoyed this book. I followed pro football avidly during the 1970s, and this really captured it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    Great nostalgia book about the NFL in the 70's. Great nostalgia book about the NFL in the 70's.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dan Lalande

    Veteran sports scribe Cook vividly reimmerses us into 1970's football, the seminal era in which the game evolved from a second-tier sport practiced by brushcutted grunts favoring the run to a TV staple stocked with preening playboys playing a passing game. Cook spends little time on the sidelines, offering critical assessments; instead, we're in the heart of the huddle, as Cook recreates the decade's great contests with vivid detail and heart-racing pace, paying homage, all the while, to some of Veteran sports scribe Cook vividly reimmerses us into 1970's football, the seminal era in which the game evolved from a second-tier sport practiced by brushcutted grunts favoring the run to a TV staple stocked with preening playboys playing a passing game. Cook spends little time on the sidelines, offering critical assessments; instead, we're in the heart of the huddle, as Cook recreates the decade's great contests with vivid detail and heart-racing pace, paying homage, all the while, to some of the game's most colorful (and quotable) practitioners.

  19. 5 out of 5

    C Baker

    The Last Headbangers is a history of the NFL in the 1970's through the prism of the rivalry between the Oakland Raiders and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Raiders, the fun loving, renegade group of misfits versus the blue collar, lunch pail Steelers with a ferocious defense. Cook describes their battles as a biker gang versus a construction crew, a pithy and apt description. The theme of the book is quite clear, that 1970's football, still a throwback to the old days of banging heads and taking no The Last Headbangers is a history of the NFL in the 1970's through the prism of the rivalry between the Oakland Raiders and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Raiders, the fun loving, renegade group of misfits versus the blue collar, lunch pail Steelers with a ferocious defense. Cook describes their battles as a biker gang versus a construction crew, a pithy and apt description. The theme of the book is quite clear, that 1970's football, still a throwback to the old days of banging heads and taking no prisoners on the field, morphed into a sanitized, scripted, corporate product in the 1980's. He brackets this metamorphosis between Franco Harris's Immaculate Reception in a 1972 playoff game against the Raiders to Dwight Clark's "The Catch" in 1982 when the San Francisco 49'ers defeated the Dallas Cowboys to usher in a new football dynasty. Here I'll just quote the author. "The Last Headbangers represents two years of research on the NFL in the 1970s. While working on the book I came to believe that the league entered a pivotal era with Franco Harris's Immaculate Reception in 1972, an era in which new rules, television, aggressive marketing, a special generation of players and coaches, and a changing America combined to help pro football dominate the sports landscape. In my view the game took on its modern form in the '70s, and what I consider "' 70s football" ended with Dwight Clark's 1982 touchdown grab, now known as The Catch, ushering in a more corporate, scripted, and regulated version of the sport, exemplified by the great 49ers teams of the '80s." (Cook, Kevin (2012-08-27). The Last Headbangers: NFL Football in the Rowdy, Reckless '70s--The Era that Created Modern Sports (Kindle Locations 3666-3671). Norton. Kindle Edition.) Cook also details the rule changes that have essentially made the passing supreme and created a game where defensive players can barely look at an offensive player meanly without getting a flag thrown. Most of these changes hamper defensive backs from touching a receiver after five yards and limit the amount of contact they can make against "defenseless" receivers - all to create a sanitized game and open up offense and scoring. The majority of the book, however, is the inside story behind the Raiders and Steelers organization, with particular emphasis on the Immaculate Reception (or Immaculate Deception as Raiders fans call it). It is mostly a history of these two franchises in the 1970's. Overall Cook does an excellent job of describing the games and these two teams throughout the 1970's. For many fans I am sure it will be highly entertaining as the writing is excellent and the story well told. I thought the best aspect of the book was describing the friendship between the Raiders' linebacker Phil Villapiano and the Steelers' running back Franco Harris who continue to argue over the Immaculate Reception. But for me this book ultimately disappointing for a couple of reasons. First, I have read a copious amount of NFL history, so most of the details in the book I have read elsewhere. Granted it is well written and likely entertaining for others, but for me it's simply rehashing what I've already read. Second, I'm not sure I buy the core premise of the Immaculate Reception and The Catch necessarily being the bookends of eras. The rise of the passing game and rules that have sanitized professional football into a more sterile corporate image have been ongoing through decade of the 1980's and into the 2010's. It's not easy to put bookends around the trend as Cook does. Although 1978 probably was a seminal year as that is when many of the rule changes started to move the NFL into the passing frenzy we see today. And I won't quibble too much about the title, although it seems a bit inaccurate. How can the 1970's be the era that created modern sports when the theme is that that era is over and a bygone past? It wasn't the era that created modern football; it was corporatization of the sport, really more so in the 1990s through today that lead to the NFL of today. As summation, for those who have read a lot of football history and are interested in it, this is a good place to start with the caveats noted above. For hardcore football fans, there's not really a lot new here.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Austin

    I recommend it, very interesting. You learn how much the NFL has changed over the decades.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chris Dean

    Nice summary of the NFL during this era, with an emphasis on the Steeler-Raider rivalry, ending with the emergence of the Montana-led 49ers. While I get the connection the author makes in 'creating modern sports' I wish more time was spent digging deeper on that then on specific games and personalities. That said, though, the book was still well done. Also wished there was some more emphasis on other teams/personalities that weren't Super Bowl teams, like they did with Reggie Williams of the Cin Nice summary of the NFL during this era, with an emphasis on the Steeler-Raider rivalry, ending with the emergence of the Montana-led 49ers. While I get the connection the author makes in 'creating modern sports' I wish more time was spent digging deeper on that then on specific games and personalities. That said, though, the book was still well done. Also wished there was some more emphasis on other teams/personalities that weren't Super Bowl teams, like they did with Reggie Williams of the Cincinnati Bengals.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ian Allan

    Similar to The NFL, Year One by Brad Schulz. The overall idea/concept of the Schulz book is better. He focused on just 1970, the first season post-merger. That allows him to go into far more detail on just that one season. And Schulz does a better job of looking at more teams, while Cook tends to focus almost exclusively on the dominant teams of the era -- Steelers, Cowboys, Raiders, Dolphins, 49ers. Teams like the Lions, Packers, Bears, Eagles and Broncos essentially aren't mentioned. Cook is c Similar to The NFL, Year One by Brad Schulz. The overall idea/concept of the Schulz book is better. He focused on just 1970, the first season post-merger. That allows him to go into far more detail on just that one season. And Schulz does a better job of looking at more teams, while Cook tends to focus almost exclusively on the dominant teams of the era -- Steelers, Cowboys, Raiders, Dolphins, 49ers. Teams like the Lions, Packers, Bears, Eagles and Broncos essentially aren't mentioned. Cook is covering the entire '70s, so he's hitting mostly on games/plays that we're all familiar with already. Cook's advantage is that he has a stronger sportswriting background. Schulz didn't interview anyone for his book; it's all just a compilation from looking through old documents and articles. Cook does the same but also interviews 28 former players and coaches, getting their present-day perspective. I learned plenty of things in this book. Wasn't aware that the Oakland Raiders were originally known as the Oakland Senors (before switching to Raiders before their first game). Vince Lombardi was the first to use film to study opponents durign games -- he had a guy with a Polaroid camera in the pressbox. And I wasn't aware how Dwight Clark ended up in San Francisco. Clark went to Clemson, where he caught only 11 passes. Bill Walsh met him there when he was scouting Steve Fuller (the top quarterback prospect in 1979). Clark was catching passes from Fuller at the workout, and Walsh noticed. I did notice some errors. Dan Pastorini is identified as Dante Pastorini many times. Dante was his legal name, but he was always Dan during his career. Book says Rubik's Cube was the big fad in 1974. Cube was patented in 1974, but it didn't become popular until 5-6 years later. There's a comment about Pittsburgh and Dallas playing on the hard artificial turf of the Orange Bowl for Super Bowl XIII. That was the case for their first Super Bowl meeting there, but it was natural grass the second time around. There's a line about Cliff Branch no longer being with the Raiders in 1980; that's simply not true. A half dozen times, my bullshit meter started flashing. There was a claim that when Terry Bradshaw first joined the Steelers, he was making so little that he had to sell cars in the offseason. He was a No. 1 overall pick, and I simply don't believe that. In another area, there's the assertion that Fred Biletnikoff played without shoulder pads. I have looked at many photos online and can't find any where that's the case. Same for claim that Raiders offensive linemen (so they could hold more effectively) wore white arm pads while at home and dark ones with their road jerseys (so they would blend in with opponents). Overall, an enjoyable book. It's either 3 stars (if you're grading hard or by a curve) or 4 stars if you're more of a soft grader.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brendan

    This book is a quick and enjoyable read about football in the 1970s. The theme of the book is that the 1970s marked the decade in which the NFL rose to its current prominence in American culture; a decade that was also a transition from the old professional football league with hard-hitting, lack of concern for player safety and conservative, running-game based offenses to the modern NFL with player safety and pass-friendly rules and high-powered offenses. The book focuses on the best teams in th This book is a quick and enjoyable read about football in the 1970s. The theme of the book is that the 1970s marked the decade in which the NFL rose to its current prominence in American culture; a decade that was also a transition from the old professional football league with hard-hitting, lack of concern for player safety and conservative, running-game based offenses to the modern NFL with player safety and pass-friendly rules and high-powered offenses. The book focuses on the best teams in the NFL in the 1970s - primarily the Steelers and the Raiders - and the colorful players and coaches on those teams. It also discusses the rise of Monday Night Football and key rule changes and actions taken by Pete Rozelle. The book is both too narrow and too broad in its approach. Too narrow because it is limited in what it covers. The only teams that are discussed in any detail are the Steelers, Raiders, Cowboys and Dolphins. These were the teams that dominated the decade, but it's more a collection of stories about those teams rather than about the league itself. It is too broad because it tries to prove more than can be proved with a collection of stories from the great teams of the decade. The "creation of modern sports" part is mostly just a timeline of developments in league history. The book suggests that the 1970s was the last era of hard hitting with no consequences, but the celebration of hard hits continued well into the 21st century. Also, although the book is about the 1970s, the last 40 pages of the 250 page book are about the early 1980s and the the rise of the 49ers. The idea is that the rise of the 49ers and the West Coast Offense marked the beginning of the new era of football. This position, too, is questionable, as teams like the Redskins, Giants, Cowboys and Broncos won many Super Bowls in the 1980s and 1990s with traditional styles of play. Overall, the book will be most enjoyable to fans of the team of the 1970s, the Steelers. Of course, most serious Steelers fans know most of these stories already, so the book falls into the category of yet another celebration of the golden years of Steelers' history category.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Paul Harmon

    A great little read detailing the rise of the NFL and focusing on the crazy 1970's where the Steelers helped turn the NFL into the powerhouse that replaced baseball as America's Sport. I've read plenty of football books and seen many shows detailing NFL history over the 42 years I've been a football nut and this did rehash a few thing but also gave some new insights. More info on what utter Scumbags The Raiders and Al Davis were, and what lousy douchebags the Dallas Cowboys were is absolutely part A great little read detailing the rise of the NFL and focusing on the crazy 1970's where the Steelers helped turn the NFL into the powerhouse that replaced baseball as America's Sport. I've read plenty of football books and seen many shows detailing NFL history over the 42 years I've been a football nut and this did rehash a few thing but also gave some new insights. More info on what utter Scumbags The Raiders and Al Davis were, and what lousy douchebags the Dallas Cowboys were is absolutely part of the book. I like any book thats again tells the story that the Cowboys were called America's team for no other reason than Tex Schram (Dallas's Owner)said so as advertising...trust me they aren't and never were. The book starts with the The Pittsburgh Steelers Immaculate reception as a beginning of the rough and tumble, when men were men, 70's and ends it with the rise of the 49ers in the 80's when football stopped being about how tough you were on the field and more about how smart your coaching staff was. Football has since progressed or should i say digressed into glorified flag football where athletes make 10s of millions of dollars for 20 plays a game (situational substitions WTF?) where their contemporaries made a couple grand for 60 minutes of brutal combat.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mjlibrary NDSCS

    796.3326409047 C772 Between 1972 and 1982, pro football changed. Early NFL teams did not have the corporate super status that we see today. But during the 1970s, the rules began to change to favor passing over running. The importance of TV influenced changes to encourage a game that attracted crowds. A new breed of coaches began to use different techniques. Early football had been rougher, more of a combat that took a toll on the players’ bodies. Cook celebrates their bravery, brilliance, and out 796.3326409047 C772 Between 1972 and 1982, pro football changed. Early NFL teams did not have the corporate super status that we see today. But during the 1970s, the rules began to change to favor passing over running. The importance of TV influenced changes to encourage a game that attracted crowds. A new breed of coaches began to use different techniques. Early football had been rougher, more of a combat that took a toll on the players’ bodies. Cook celebrates their bravery, brilliance, and outrageousness while documenting the changes that have made today’s football a wholly different game than it was prior to 1972. Cook is an award-winning author and a sportswriter for 25 years.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Splenda

    Beginning with the mighty Dolphins teams of the early 1970s and ending with Joe Cool and the 49ers of the early 80s, Kevin Cook provides us with a quick, exciting, and enlightening read on the decade that defined the National Football League. Attention is also paid to the other great 70s dynasties including the Steelers, Raiders, Cowboys, and Vikings. This is more than just a recap of the success of those great teams. Cook gives us an inside look into how the NFL transformed into an American eco Beginning with the mighty Dolphins teams of the early 1970s and ending with Joe Cool and the 49ers of the early 80s, Kevin Cook provides us with a quick, exciting, and enlightening read on the decade that defined the National Football League. Attention is also paid to the other great 70s dynasties including the Steelers, Raiders, Cowboys, and Vikings. This is more than just a recap of the success of those great teams. Cook gives us an inside look into how the NFL transformed into an American economic and cultural powerhouse by exploring the rise of Monday Night Football, collective bargaining agreements, and the terrible results of a decade's worth of violence on the players that helped make the NFL. A must read for sports fans and cultural historians alike.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dave Miller

    This was a well written, well performed and a good story, but there just wasn't anything really new to me. I guess having lived through that time and being aware of all of the happenings described in the book, it just felt worn. This was a well written, well performed and a good story, but there just wasn't anything really new to me. I guess having lived through that time and being aware of all of the happenings described in the book, it just felt worn.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chuck

    I am no longer addicted to NFL football as I once was and miss more big games than I watch. I suppose it's my testosterone levels. However, since my prime time for following this sport was during the 70's and 80's when Howard Cosell, Don Meredith and Frank Gifford were insulting each other on Monday Night Football and football players were allowed to actually tackle someone without being fined or having to wear tutu's. It was a fun recollection of the better days for the Steelers, Dolphins and C I am no longer addicted to NFL football as I once was and miss more big games than I watch. I suppose it's my testosterone levels. However, since my prime time for following this sport was during the 70's and 80's when Howard Cosell, Don Meredith and Frank Gifford were insulting each other on Monday Night Football and football players were allowed to actually tackle someone without being fined or having to wear tutu's. It was a fun recollection of the better days for the Steelers, Dolphins and Cowboys. So if you have my demographics, you might enjoy the memories, which are in great detail. If not, save yourself some time and energy.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Clay Gediman

    Anyone who remembers 70's football or just interested in a history of the game should read this. While there is a pretty good coverage of most of the teams, the book concentrates on the teams of the decade, namely, Steelers, Cowboys, Raiders, and 49ers toward the end. It doesn't just cover the 70s though, and brings the players up from the NFL founding days and through the 80s and beyond. Great on and off the field stories about players you know. The writer did his homework and with the intervie Anyone who remembers 70's football or just interested in a history of the game should read this. While there is a pretty good coverage of most of the teams, the book concentrates on the teams of the decade, namely, Steelers, Cowboys, Raiders, and 49ers toward the end. It doesn't just cover the 70s though, and brings the players up from the NFL founding days and through the 80s and beyond. Great on and off the field stories about players you know. The writer did his homework and with the interviews writes a book about the personalities that made the game. Bradshaw talking about his concussions was both funny and sad.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Artie

    This is similar to the movie book Easy Riders and Raging Bulls, whose premise is that the Golden Age of Hollywood was the period between Easy Rider and Star Wars. In this book the Golden Age of pro football was in between 1972's Immaculate Reception and the emergence of the 49ers in 1981. It's all about the magic moment: When there's enough money for excess but before the soul-crushing bean counters take over. It's mostly about the reckless disregard for health and safety, which is quite enterta This is similar to the movie book Easy Riders and Raging Bulls, whose premise is that the Golden Age of Hollywood was the period between Easy Rider and Star Wars. In this book the Golden Age of pro football was in between 1972's Immaculate Reception and the emergence of the 49ers in 1981. It's all about the magic moment: When there's enough money for excess but before the soul-crushing bean counters take over. It's mostly about the reckless disregard for health and safety, which is quite entertaining from the comfort of my couch, as long as I don't think too much about the toll it took.

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