Posted:  April 23, 2015

On the Clock: The Story of the NFL DraftThe National Football League (NFL) draft features no action on the field. No passing, running, tackling, or kicking. Hey, there isn't even a field. 

Yet the draft has become more popular than many other sporting events, including the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL) playoff games, against which it goes head-to-head for viewers. In fact, the draft has spawned its own cottage industry in which names such as Gil Brandt, Mel Kiper, Jr., and Mike Mayock become as well-known as any of the first-round selections.

In On the Clock, Ken Rappoport and Barry Wilner chronicle the history of the proceedings. The veteran sports writers take you from the first grab bag in 1936, when Philadelphia chose Heisman Trophy winner Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago and saw him decline to play in the NFL, to the 2014 draft—considered one of the deepest in talent ever.

Along the 78-year journey, learn about the competitions for the top overall spot (Peyton Manning vs. Ryan Leaf), the unhappy No. 1s (John Elway and Tom Cousineau), the big flops (JaMarcus Russell) and the late-rounders-turned-superstars (Tom Brady).

Meet the draft wizards, from Paul Brown to Bill Walsh and Jimmy Johnson. And the draft whiffs that cost personnel executives their jobs.

On the Clock takes you behind the scenes at one of pro football’s yearly major events.
Barry Wilner has been a sportswriter for the Associated Press since 1975. He has covered virtually every major sporting event, including twelve Olympics, nine World Cups, twenty-six Super Bowls, the World Series, and the Stanley Cup finals, and has written thirty-nine books. He lives in Garnerville, New York.

Ken Rappoport is the author of more than sixty sports books for adults and young readers. Working for the Associated Press in New York for thirty years, he has written about every major sport. His assignments included the World Series, the NBA Finals, and, as the AP’s national hockey writer, the Stanley Cup Finals and the Olympics. He lives in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey.

This book about the pro football draft takes you back in time to when Bert Bell, who owned the Eagles and felt that he was at a disadvantage when it came to signing players. The dominate teams of this time were the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Giants, and Redskins. To make the league competitive Bell believed the only way to keep the NFL successful was for all teams to have an equal opportunity to sign players that were eligible. At the league meeting in 1935 he proposed a draft and the order of selection would be the last place would pick first and so on. His proposal was adopted that day and the first draft was held in 1936. The book then goes into the first draft with some of the players and trades. The first player drafted was Jay Berwanger who was the winner of the Heisman Trophy that year, but the award was called Downtown Athletic Club. He was also the first winner of this award. He was drafted by the Eagles and his rights were traded to the Bears, but he never agreed on a contract and never played pro football. He then goes into a couple of early great players that people don’t talk about any more. One being Sid Luckman, who played Quarterback for the Bears during the 40’s and still to this day holds the most passing records for Bears QB’s. He was also the quarterback for the most points scored in a championship game 73-0 over the Washington Redskins. Luckman was a first pick for them in 1939 and they would win 4 titles with him. Another player he talks about is Sammy Baugh, first pick for Washington in 1937, and they would win the championship in 37 and in 42 he also is the only player to be an All – Pro at three positions in the same year, quarterback, defensive back, and punter. He intercepted more passes that year than he had thrown. The draft really doesn’t change until 1980 with ESPN, coming on board and they start televising the draft and a man by the name of Mel Kipper Jr. is one of their go to guys. The book goes into who he got the job and how he and some other guys were doing mock drafts years before but when asked by teams or television they could not or would not go on TV, Mel Kipper had the presence to see ESPN as a way to take what he was doing as a hobby and get paid for it. Then people started to come out against some of his choices and that actually made him more popular. The book then takes you to what we have now a three day show prime time and it is being talked about it seems all year long. A good book on the beginnings of the football draft to where it is now. I got this book from net galley.  I give this 4 stars.

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