The sports autobiography is as old as, well, sports. On the other hand, these types of books have gone through changes over the years, and now we're at a point where many are either inspirational or "Tell all."
The 1960s and 1970s also marked a change in the tone of these books. They became less gee-whiz and more gritty and "This is what it was really like."
Four decades after its publication, Jerry Kramer's "Instant Replay" remains one of the best sports autobiographies ever written. It was one of the first to show the reader the real pain and pressure of playing big-time professional sports. Kramer has a really down-to-earth writing voice, and he also has a great subject -- Vince Lombardi and the power Green Bay Packer dynasty.
Kramer does a great job of opening up life on the offensive line, breaking away from the usual superstar running back or quarterback. It's also a "buddy" book in that he talks at length about how the offensive line came together and pays proper due to his linemate, Forrest Gregg, one of the greatest linemen of the pre-1970s NFL.
The book also offers a solid portrait of coach Vince Lombardi and does pull back some of the veneer of the vaunted coach. Kramer really shows how hard it could be to play for a “genius” at times. Perhaps the most fascinating part of the book is the insights into the 1967 NFL championship game, one of the greatest games in the history of the league. The Packers beat the Cowboys, in a game that started with the temperature at -13 F. at kickoff.
This is a particularly good book for teen-age athletes, because of its focus on teamwork and hard work.
I'm a big professional football fan and love reading about football. Jerry Kramer's Green Bay Packers diary – which details the 1967 season of the Green Packers, was quite an enjoyable and educational read for me. For starters, the Green Bay Packers in 1967 were clearly the best team in pro football but were showing signs of aging. This season saw the infamous Ice Bowl against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Championship where Jerry Kramer threw a key block to get Bart Starr in for a touchdown, … more
Jerry Kramer is a Hall of Fame Guard on the world champion Green Bay Packers teams of the 1960's. In this book, Kramer tells the inside story of the Green Bay Packers 1967 season, which culminated in a Packer victory in Super Bowl II over the Oakland Raiders.