Paul Hornung was football's "Golden Boy" -- handsome, talented, and fabulously successful. He had a great career at Notre Dame, where he won the Heisman Trophy (the only player ever to win it on a team with a losing record). He was the #1 draft pick in the NFL and went to the Green Bay Packers, a terrible team soon transformed by a new head coach, Vince Lombardi. Hornung's Packer teams would become a dynasty, and ten of his teammates (as well as Lombardi) would eventually join him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Hornung led the NFL in scoring from 1959 to 1961, setting a single-season scoring record in 1960 that still stands. He was Player of the Year in 1960 and 1961.
Hornung always loved the good life. He had girlfriends all across the country, and he was a regular at Toots Shor's and at clubs in Chicago and Los Angeles. A frustrated Lombardi once asked him whether he wanted to be a player or a playboy, and his teammates joked about his Hollywood ambitions. On game days Hornung was always ready to play, but the night after a game -- and sometimes even the night before -- was a different story.
For Hornung, the good life came at a price: his gambling cost him a year's suspension from the NFL in 1963. He accepted his punishment, refusing to implicate anyone else, but in this autobiography he reveals just how widespread gambling was in the NFL.
However, on the playing field Hornung and his Packer teammates made football history. Bart Starr, Max McGee, Jim Taylor, Ray Nitschke, Jerry Kramer, Jim Ringo, Ron Kramer, Forrest Gregg, Fuzzy Thurston, Willie Davis, Herb Adderley, Willie Wood -- they're all here, and Hornung has great stories to tell about them and about some of their biggest games together.
Golden Boy is a must-read for football fans, a colorful, candid slice of pigskin history from one of the game's immortal legends.
Hornung personified his nickname, "Golden Boy," on many levels as a football star; a handsome, hard-partying ladies' man; and a friend to the rich and beautiful and his autobiography covers each aspect of his life in a colorful and up-front manner. The book, "as told to William F. Reed," is conversational in tone; readers will feel as if they're one of Hornung's Packer teammates or drinking buddies reminiscing about the good old days. Hornung was good at pretty much everything he did, and he lets readers know it. But the bragging and name-dropping (from JFK and Frank Sinatra to mobsters and countless showgirls) is balanced by Hornung's genuine love and respect for his mother, his Packers coach Vince Lombardi and his teammates and friends. Hornung honestly reflects on the blemishes on his golden halo, like his 1963 suspension for gambling. Since he's always acknowledged his guilt, this isn't tremendous news, but, admirably, Hornung does praise Pete Rozelle, the NFL commissioner who suspended him. Interestingly, he also says he tried to persuade Pete Rose, to no avail, to follow his lead and admit his gambling problem. Finally, Hornung convincingly apologizes for his "stupid remarks" in March 2004 (he commented that his alma mater, Notre Dame, must lower its academic standards to "get the black athlete"). While not a shining literary achievement, this is an entertaining autobiography. Photos.
What a pleasantly suprising open and honest account of Paul Hornungs life and career both in college and the pros. I really enjoyed reading this book. The only thing that kept it from 5 stars was some instances where the stories could have been more complete