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Original Issue

Going Long

by Jeff Miller
372 pages
(McGraw-Hill, $24.95)

An oral history is an ideal way to tell the story of a renegade
league with a colorful cast of characters. That goes a long way
in explaining the appeal of Going Long, a chronicle of the AFL
written by Jeff Miller, a sports editor at The Dallas Morning
News. Among the players Miller introduces us to are two original
Denver Broncos, Gene Mingo, a halfback and kicker whose football
prowess was discovered when he was in the Navy throwing a loaf of
bread (a cook suggested he try out for a service team), and Bud
McFadin, a lineman who had previously retired from the Los
Angeles Rams after accidentally shooting himself in the stomach.

But the book is more than just a collection of anecdotes. It
offers behind-the-scenes looks at the discussions that led to the
birth of the Super Bowl and traces the emergence of Oakland
Raiders owner Al Davis, whose first job after being named AFL
commissioner in 1966 was to break up a fight between Houston
Oilers owner Bud Adams and Houston Post columnist Jack Gallagher.
As Adams recalls, "When [Gallagher] was down on the floor and I
was standing over him, I said, 'You'd better stay down there or
you're going to get hurt.' And, with that, he kicked me in the
nuts." The scene is--like the book--outlandish, informative and,
above all, funny. --Mark Bechtel