Sep 292011

BECAUSE IT WAS SUNDAY: The Legend of Jack Youngblood

Authorized Biography of Hall of Fame Defensive End Includes
New Interviews, Stories, Images from Inspirational Life and Legendary Career

Foreword by NFL Network Host Rich Eisen –

NEW YORK, September 26, 2011 – No player defined toughness more than Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end, Jack Youngblood. Because It Was Sunday: The Legend of Jack Youngblood(Bravda Velo)is the new authorized biography of the “John Wayne of football,” which will be released on October 1, the day of the Florida-Alabama game. Fans can order from The foreword is written by NFL Network anchor, Rich Eisen.

Inside the book are new interviews with Youngblood, Hall of Fame teammates and opponents, and family, all of whom share stories and insight to a storybook rise to fame from high school to the Florida Gators to the Los Angeles Rams, where he played in 201 consecutive games during a 14-year career as one of the NFL’s most dominant pass rushers.  The man John Madden called the “epitome of a football player” is one of the most respected and courageous players in history, once having played in two playoff games, a Super Bowl and a Pro Bowl with a broken leg. On the 40th anniversary of his rookie season with the Rams and tenth year since becoming the first Florida Gator inducted into the Hall of Fame, readers will learn of the innate reasoning behind Youngblood’s unequaled drive to compete – even in the face of agonizing pain and a life-threatening medical condition – because it was Sunday.

Tested by tragedy and overwhelming odds throughout his career, Youngblood built himself up from a 190-pound high school linebacker who led his team to a state championship and earned an improbable scholarship to the University of Florida, where he transformed into the greatest defensive end the Gators have ever seen, before going to the Los Angeles Rams in 1971 as a first-round pick, filled the shoes of the legendary Deacon Jones and evolved into the most ferocious pass rusher of the 1970s. Because It Was Sunday also treats readers to stories of the people that influenced him and shaped his Hall of Fame career.

Some of the stories revealed in Because It Was Sunday include:

  • Suffering the death of his father on his tenth birthday and lessons learned from his grandfather, one of the South’s most infamous sheriffs
  • How neighboring Florida State declined to sign him  and the revelation that Bill Parcells told recruiters Youngblood didn’t have a football future
  • His calamitous first game as a senior, and being switched to defense exclusively
  • Early days as a Gator and how he evolved into an All-American, and eventual College Football Hall of Famer, including tales of the 1969 Gator Bowl victory and his famous exploits in a 1970 game against Georgia
  • Astonishing recovery from a knee injury as a senior, which negated career-ending surgery, and inspired him to not miss another game in 15 years
  • Draft Day 1971 when he famously asked, “who is coach of the Rams?’
  • Senior Bowl performance and Buddy Ryan’s advice that sealed his first-round standing, as well as the College All-Star Game against the champion Baltimore Colts
  • First game with the Rams and his days with mentors, Merlin Olsen and Deacon Jones
  • Enduring difficult first two seasons in Los Angeles, when he nearly quit
  • Chuck Knox years when he developed into an All-Pro, and the note left behind from a former coach that nearly cost him his Rams career
  • New revelations about his broken leg suffered against the Cowboys in the 1979 playoffs – and, for the first time, we find out he went back into the game a couple of series later
  • Intimate memories of the 1980 Super Bowl, in which the Rams were underdogs to the Steelers and came within six minutes of winning, and candid thoughts on why he played  with a cracked fibula – and what he regrets
  • Searing moments in which a .357 and, years later, a blood clot, nearly cost him his life
  • Inside-the-huddle of ferocious battles against Roger Staubach, Fran Tarkenton, Dan Dierdorf, Rayfield Wright, Ron Yary, among other legends of the game
  • Observations of players Youngblood emulated including Olsen, Jones, Gino Marchetti, Doug Atkins, Willie Davis, Claude Humphrey, among others
  • The physical and emotional stress of switching from the 4-3 to the 3-4 defense in 1983, and how he reacted to it – by delivering some of his finest performances
  • His emotional retirement, how he came to the decision, and how others reacted
  • Life after football; adoption of his wife’s ten-year-old son – a decision that brought his life full circle – and his efforts today to help former players cope with brain trauma

As John Madden famously said, “If a Martian landed in my backyard, knocked on my door and asked me ‘What’s a football player?’ I’d go get Jack Youngblood.” In the Because It Was Sunday, Hall of Famers and other legendary players back up that belief:

  • “I would have to give Youngblood the vote as the best defensive player I ever competed against.” – Roger Staubach
  • “He played a whole game with a broken leg. I mean, think about that. How much of a badass was Jack Youngblood? I’ll tell you: He was a serious badass.” – Jared Allen
  • “Youngblood is by far the best defensive end I’ve ever faced and may be the best all-around end in football.” – Dan Dierdorf
  • “Jack Youngblood, I’d want him on my team every day of the week, anytime. The man was a 100% guy and was wonderful with his teammates.” – Joe Namath
  • “I’ve got to say that Youngblood was nice enough to pick me up every time he knocked my ass off.” – Archie Manning
  • “I’d have to say Jack Youngblood was the toughest I ever faced” – Rayfield Wright

Author D.W. Cooper is also writer and editor for Bravda Velo Publishing and Rylin Media, including first-to-market championship books San FranTastic!, Big D Over Big 3!, Dat’s Incredible, and Duke Dominates. He was features writer for POST magazine and contributor to NFL Gameday. Over the last 20 years, Cooper has told the incredible life stories of some of sports’ biggest names and covered unforgettable moments from Super Bowls, NBA Finals, NCAA Championships, and the Olympic Games. He is an adjunct professor at New York University.

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Copyright 2011 Silver and BlueBlood
Gene Strother (414 Posts)

Gene has been an avid Dallas Cowboys fan for nearly five decades, which amounts to just about his entire life. The only time he was not a Cowboys fan was that brief period at the beginning of his life, when he didn't have all his baby teeth and could not yet say "Cowboys." As soon as quit slobbering, he started hollering, "Go Cowboys!"

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