Smashmouth: My Football Journey from Trenton to Canton

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Sports Publishing LLC, 2005 - Sports & Recreation - 204 pages
Smash-mouth football was just another day at the office during the heyday of professional football in the 1960s and 1970s. Elvin Bethea began his pro career with the Houston Oilers of the AFL in 1968 when the upstart league was filled with colorful characters and brilliantly gifted players who had finally proven they were "good enough" to compete with the NFL. After the AFL merged with the NFL in 1970, one of the most exciting decades in pro football history was underway. Smash-Mouth the story of Bethea's journey from a life of rural poverty in Trenton, New Jersey, to his All-American college football career at North Carolina A&T, where segregation still ruled the South. Smash-Mouth takes Bethea from potential Olympic track stardom in 1968 to his legendary pro football career where he earned his reputation as one of the most feared and dangerous defensive linemen in NFL history. From classic playoff battles with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1978 and 1979 to off-the-field exploits with some of football's most eccentric characters, Smash-Mouth culminates in Bethea's greatest ultimate honor--his long overdue induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003. Along the way, Bethea's story is filled with candid assessments of the talents and personalities of some of the greatest names in 1970s football--Terry Bradshaw, Joe Namath, O.J. Simpson, Archie Manning, Earl Campbell, Dan Fouts, Franco Harris, Bum Phillips, Dan Pastorini, Billy "White Shoes" Johnson, Chuck Noll, Hank Stram, Art Shell, Anthony Munoz, Kenny Houston, John Mackey, and many, many more.

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I just met Mr. Bethea yesterday at a signing here in Houston as we're hosting the Superbowl next weekend. I had never heard about him before, as I don't really watch football or have played the game. He was so wonderful to meet, and even though he's over 65 now, his build still puts you in awe. What an awesome athlete.
So I went and looked him up and read this biography in a few hours. It's simply and straightforwardly written, not too much poetry or big words, but I enjoyed reading it. I respect Mr. Bethea very much and will always treasure meeting him.

Selected pages


From Trenton
The Bear is Born
Play Like You Practice Practice Like You Play
The Education of Elvin Bethea
Sidewinders and Tokyo TurnArounds
Dwelling in the AFC Basement
Luv Ya Blue And We Love You Too
The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Guinea Pigs
The Last RoundUp
My Smashmouth Hall of Fame
Is There Life After Football?
To Canton

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About the author (2005)

Mark Adams is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in many of America's leading magazines, including "GQ", "Outside", the "New York Times Magazine", "Fortune", and "New York". He lives near New York City with his wife and three sons.

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