The New York Giants’ classic blue uniform from the ’80s and ’90s isn’t the only thing making a comeback for Giants fans this season.
Jerry Izenberg’s best-selling insider football book, No Medals For Trying, will be re-released as an e-book by Open Road Media on August 2nd, complete with a new foreword by Izenberg, and will be available at most major bookstores, including Amazon (http:/ /amzn.to/3vtSO4L) and Barnes & Noble (http://bit.ly/3cSXFpN).
“I never thought this book would happen. I already had access to all the players, but now I needed access from Bill Parcells to record all the coaching sessions,” Izenberg said. “I needed [Giants coach] Bill Parcells to give his wife permission to speak out about the pressures of being a coach’s wife. And most importantly, I needed packages. I felt like I’d have a better chance if I asked him for a copy of the Giants’ playbook. So we sat in his office just before he left for training camp.”
“Is that all you want from me?” Packages asked. He was silent for what felt like an eternity and then said, “Okay. Try not to get in each other’s way.”
“I’m sure there were times when I did that,” Izenberg said. “But it was the beginning of a wonderful friendship.”
Izenberg’s book begins in the closing minutes of November 27, 1989—just after the Giants lost a heartbreaker 34-14 to the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park.
After the crucial game televised into the country on Monday night, Parcells found himself reliving the loss by reading the injury report as the team returned to New Jersey on a chartered flight while they began Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles plan by coach Buddy Ryan and quarterback Randall Cunningham.
The Giants were a mess: quarterback Phil Simms had injured his ankle again; Nose tackle Erik Howard had lower back spasms; wide receiver Lionel Manuel, a twisted knee; fight Jumbo Elliott, a swollen ankle; Running back Dave Meggett, a mild concussion.
And then the biggest concern – Lawrence Taylor, the Giants’ resilient linebacker, was down with an ankle injury. He boarded the charter plane on crutches.
Izenberg was also on the Giants’ charter flight. Throughout the week, he attended and recorded every team meeting, coaching session, and chalk call as the Giants prepared for what turned out to be their biggest game of the 1989 season.
Unrestricted access takes the reader into a world football fans have never seen before. You’ll feel the pressure mount as Parcells and his staff, including defensive and offensive coordinators Bill Belichick and Ron Erhardt, and their assistants Tom Coughlin, Romeo Crennel, Al Groh, Ray Handley, Fred Hoaglin, Lamar Leachman, Johnny Parker, Mike Pope and Mike Sweatman work overtime trying to come up with a plan to stop the Eagles.
Izenberg now resides in Henderson, Nevada with his wife Aileen and, as Columnist Emeritus at The Star-Ledger, still produces breaking sports columns and social commentary.
Milestones are nothing new for the Newark native. He’s one of only two daily newspaper columnists to have covered the first 53 Super Bowls, let alone 54 consecutive Kentucky Derby races and the last five Triple Crown winning horses. No one reported more of Muhammad Ali’s struggles than him, dating back to the 1960 Olympics.
A recipient of the Red Smith Award, presented annually by the Associated Press Sports Editors to a writer or editor who has made significant contributions to sports journalism, Izenberg is a five-time New Jersey Sportswriter of the Year Award winner. He has been inducted into 17 Halls of Fame, including the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame, the International Boxing Hall of Fame, and the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
Izenberg has been inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame, the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame, the New Jersey Literary Hall of Fame, the Rutgers-Newark Athletic Hall of Fame, and the Rutgers Hall of Fame of Distinguished Alumni.
Best-sellers he has authored include Once There Were Giants: The Golden Age of Heavyweight Boxing and Rozelle: A Biography. He published his first novel, the critically acclaimed After the Fire: Love and Hate in the Ashes of 1967, in 2020 at the age of 90.
Izenberg founded Newark Project Pride, which over its 29 years sponsored an annual college football game and raised the funds to send 1,100 local children to college.
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