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Third and a Mile: From Fritz Pollard to Michael Vick--an Oral History of the Trials, Tears and Triumphs of the Black Quarterback [Hardcover]

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Item description for Third and a Mile: From Fritz Pollard to Michael Vick--an Oral History of the Trials, Tears and Triumphs of the Black Quarterback by William C Rhoden...

An oral history of the fifty-year struggle to level football's playing fieldsLong after Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier, after Texas Western beat Kentucky to shake up the basketball world, America's black quarterbacks found themselves trapped on football's sidelines unable to play the game they loved unless they moved to wide receiver -- or to Canada. A collection of voices young and old, William C. Rhoden's Third and a Mile chronicles for the first time the heroic struggle to topple the sports world's staunchest racial barrier. Filled with personal anecdotes and firsthand recollections, the book includes testimony from NFL greats such as Warren Moon, Doug Williams, Vince Evans, James Harris, Marlin Briscoe, Donovan McNabb, Steve McNair, Daunte Culpepper, and Michael Vick.The NFL's first five black quarterbacks -- Marlin Briscoe, James Harris, Vince Evans, Warren Moon, and Doug Williams -- have come together to form The Field Generals -- a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching and preserving the history of the African-American quarterback. These men have agreed to participate on all levels in the development and promotion of the book.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   240
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.1" Width: 6.5" Height: 1.2"
Weight:   1.1 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jan 30, 2007
Publisher   ESPN
ISBN  1933060115  
ISBN13  9781933060118  

Availability  0 units.

More About William C Rhoden

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! WILLIAM C. RHODEN has been a sportswriter for the New York Times since 1983, and has written the -Sports of the Times- column for more than a decade. He also serves as a consultant for ESPN's SportsCentury series, and occasionally appears as a guest on their show The Sports Reporters. In 1996, Rhoden won a Peabody Award for Broadcasting as writer of the HBO documentary Journey of the African-American Athlete. A graduate of Morgan State University in Baltimore, he lives in New York City's Harlem with his wife and daughter.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Humor > Sports
2Books > Subjects > Sports > Football (American) > General
3Books > Subjects > Sports > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Third and a Mile: From Fritz Pollard to Michael Vick--an Oral History of the Trials, Tears and Triumphs of the Black Quarterback?

No good reason why blacks can't be quarterbacks.  Aug 15, 2007
Black athletes have been denied the position of quarterback long after other positions in football, as well as other major sports had opened up to them. And all the excuses, such as "The owners don't want a black quarterback", "The coaches don't want a black quarterback", "The players don't want a black quarterback", "The fans don't want a black quarterback". It all boiled down to one thing: racism.

_Third and A Mile_ is a history of the black quarterback. We hear about prospective quarterbacks being shunted into other positions, of excellent quarterbacks in college not being allowed to have the position in the NFL, and of black players going to Canada in order to play quarterback. Things have improved only in the last 10 years or so....

The format is a little different than I expected; instead of a straight biography of each player, each chapter consists of various contributors (current and former players/coaches/sportscasters/etc) making statements about a particular subject; one gets the feeling that you're watching an ESPN sports talk show, but in book form.
(RAW Rating: 4.5) - On top of their game  May 2, 2007
I'm hardly a football connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination, however THIRD AND A MILE is written in such a manner that captivates the reader from start to finish. As a passerby of sports, just having heard the great names such as Warren Moon and Doug Williams, my interest was initially peaked to see what this book was about. Challenged by an avid sports fan to try it because I might like it, I opened the book with a bit of hesitation. Lo and behold, not only did I like THIRD AND A MILE, I can actually say I enjoyed it. This book is written in an easy, conversant manner that flows. Various sports personalities, both African-American and Caucasian and everyone in between from back in the day to the present moment, were interviewed regarding their personal perspective on the challenges faced by Black Quarterbacks in the NFL.

This book initiated by a group of football greats known as the `Field Generals'. These legendary men are Marlin Briscoe, Doug Williams, James Harris and Warren Moon. Not only does the book highlight the struggles of the Field General's rise to prestigious ranks, it also reaches through the annals of time back to when Frederick "Fritz" Pollard led the Akron Pros to a national championship in 1921. Later, he was the league's first African-American coach.

THIRD AND A MILE is an enjoyable, enlightening read because it is a historical piece that is knowledge-filled and chronicles important moments in history, and not just African-American history. Just because Doug Williams was named Super Bowl XXII's MVP in 1988, his extraordinary accomplishments on the field combined with his overall sense of poise regardless of his situation, led him to be admired and recognized as premier athlete of his time. Let's not forget as recently as 2006, when Warren Moon was the first African-American quarterback inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. THIRD AND A MILE is loaded with information that these comments only capture a few of the highlights the book provides. Overall, the book is a reminder of the seemingly insurmountable odds these men had to endure by mere consequence of their skin color. Regardless if you're a sports fan, a history buff or just looking for a good read, this book offers a historical perspective that is interesting and well-written.

Reviewed by Nedine
of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
Sports is the new Civil War  Apr 28, 2007
A nice compilation of stories & comments illustrating the challenges of becoming a black QB in the NFL over the last several decades.

The Civil War may have earned blacks their "freedom" in the US, but it didn't seem to earn them any respect. 100 years later (5 generations!!!) they were still viewed as 2nd class citizens by many. As black athletes have been able to prove their worth on the athletic field, they demonstrate that they "have what it takes" to succeed elsewhere in life. Sports have helped blacks gain the respect they deserve, however slowly.

I grew up during the period covered by this book. Typically, I found myself cheering for black QBs who were obviously the superior players, but often weren't getting the chance to prove it. But coaches want to keep their jobs, which means they have to WIN. This leads ultimately to more playing time for talented black QBs. Call it evolution if you will.
A very ambitious project, but misses quite a bit in several respects...  Mar 29, 2007
Either the author, the respected W. Rhoden is
completely ignorant of the Canadian Football
League (which has black QBs since the 1940's)
and the Arena Football League or he's just
plain lazy with his research. [...]the NFL pages to see what
he missed. I have always considered the black
QBs that I have seen, as well in many other
non-NFL leagues to be every bit the equal of
the much more hyped NFL ones. Example: Rhoden
completly missed that Willie Thrower of the
Chicago Bears played in the CFL first. The
only thing that Rhoden mentions,or his'guest'
authors, RE: the older CFL (it predates the
the NFL by 11 years!), is of course Warren
Moon, though Chuck Ealey, who helped Hamilton
win the 1972 Grey Cup, thus becoming the 1st
black QB to win a Pro Football League Champ-
ionship, gets to chirp in on several spots
of commentary, which I was glad to see. Joe
Gilliam, Sr., plain and simply a black racist
(note his idiotic remarks v. Terry Bradshaw,
one of the greatest QBs of alltime - 4-0 in
Super Bowls), is the low point. Hey Joe, Sr.,
your son Joe,Jr. was lousy and a drugee,that's
why he croaked at age 50! Rhoden missed a bunch
of fine black QBs like Johnny Walton, Eagles,
Rams, USFL and WFL was a star that deserved a
lot more than just being on the list for his
Eagles days. Rhoden is emblimatic of the brain-
washed "The NFL is God" among the Pro Football
Leagues mindset which is why he doesn't get into
the other Pro Leagues that never thought black
QBs were only just 'athletic' and had no other
good QBing traits. I would rate the book, des-
pite the fine vintage pics of even Fritz Pollard
[half black / half german], as a B-/C+ book. It
could have been better with CFL/Ar.FL coverage
but this ambitious project is still timely and
overdue. Kudos to Rhoden, though I could have
done better. I was about to undertake such a
project once also, despite the fact that I
am not black, but I don't look at QBs as 'black-
QBs' or other-type-QBs.
Should be Assigned Reading   Mar 13, 2007
My son sent me an autographed copy of this. Warren Moon was at the Army P/X in Fort Lewis, WA. The place was standing room only. We used to watch Moon when he was with the Edmonton Eskimoes. When he went to the NFL, all of Canada was pulling for him, he had SO MUCH to overcome.

Years later I used to tell my son, "Watch this young QB at Syracuse, he'll makle a great CFL Quarterback. Donovan McNabb sure made ME look bad!

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