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Best of Rivals: Joe Montana, Steve Young, and the Inside Story behind the NFL's Greatest Quarterback Controversy [Kindle Edition]

Adam Lazarus
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In this revealing, in-depth look at the NFL's greatest quarterback controversy, Adam Lazarus takes readers into the locker room and inside the huddle to deliver the real story behind the rivalry—when Joe Montana and Steve Young battled on and off the field and forged one of the finest football dynasties of all time. From 1987 to 1994, the two future Hall of Famers spurred each other on to remarkable heights, including three Super Bowl wins and four MVP awards, and set new standards for quarterback excellence.

The two men couldn't have been more different in background, personality, and playing style, and their competition created as much tension as it did greatness, forcing Montana to prove that he was still the game's best quarterback and Young to prove that he was a worthy successor.

Featuring candid interviews with Montana, Young, Jerry Rice, George Seifert, and many more, Best of Rivals brings to life the story of two sports legends, the golden era of football their rivalry presided over, and the amazing legacy it produced.

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Booklist, September 2012"Lazarus provides solid backstory...Readers might be surprised to see how imperfect these great players (and their hallowed wide receiver Jerry Rice) could be in the heat of competition, but also to see the class with which these preternaturally competitive men handled their situation. Instructive as well as informative." Deseret News, 9/16/12"As exciting to read as watching your two favorite teams playing in a close back-and-forth game that leaves you wondering who to root for...[Lazarus] brings the story to life by taking the reader behind the scenes of professional football...For anyone who follows football, Best of Rivals is a great read. It has all the drama of a weekend afternoon game plus inspiring inside stories of athletes dedicated to reaching perfection." Publishers Weekly, 11/5/12"This richly detailed history of two vastly different quarterbacks...relies on detailed game accounts from the period, as well as interviews with both quarterbacks, and former teammates and coaches to capture this one-of-a-kind quarterback controversy."

About the Author

Adam Lazarus is a member of the Professional Football Writers of America, is the author of Super Bowl Monday: The New York Giants, The Buffalo Bills, and Super Bowl XXV, and the coauthor of Chasing Greatness: Johnny Miller, Arnold Palmer, and the Miracle at Oakmont. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife, Sarah, and their boxers, Hannah and Montana.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1838 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0306821354
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; First Trade Paper Edition edition (28 Aug. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008X5XUCE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #340,783 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight into a personal duel... 29 Dec. 2013
'Best of Rivals' by Adam Lazarus is the story of two of the greatest quarterbacks of the modern era, San Francisco's Joe Montana and Steve Young. This is the back story behind each struggle to be the No.1, from Montana's incumbency at the top of his game, to his frailties from the continual Sunday beatings and, ultimately, the loss of a job which resulted in an almost shocking trade away from the team he helped personify and bring to greatness. Personally, I had a great interest in this story, as at the time, I was an impressionable 15 year old who also happened to think Joe Montana was God. It's fair to say that beck then, I thought Steve Young was the biggest villain who ever played, but reading the book from an adult view, you have to see both sides of the story - and this book tells it excellently. The book is written with a chronological sense that really makes you relive the seasons had you been there originally. Bearing in mind that football in the UK on television was still made up mostly of prerecorded highlights and little live footage, it's amazing how much the book reminds you of those games. But this book is far from a synopsis of games and seasons, it's also the personal, behind the scenes stuff that really grips you. Sometimes Joe is the villain, sometimes Steve - and sometimes you feel for both of them. There's no favouritism in the book; I came away with a new respect for Young, and remembered why Joe is so revered by 49er fans. I thought I had read everything on their struggle for power, but there were anecdotes and recollections from the players and their teammates that really shed new light, and for that, the book became a page turner. Read more ›
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1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth it 14 Sept. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Basically this book comprises of quotes clumsily put together. Writing and journalism it ain't - if you want good books about the nfl then try "slow getting up" or "bringing the heat" avoid
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great history lesson for someone who didn't live it 10 Jan. 2013
By Sam L - Published on
This book was designed for a certain audience. If you lived through the 1980s and 1990s, witnessed the entire storyline unfold before your eyes, maybe this book isn't for you. But if you don't remember much from it or were born after the battle ended, this is the perfect book.

For me, I knew all the details I needed to know about this story so I was curious as to what the book would provide me. Inside, it's filled with quotes from newspaper writers, film interviews archived over the past 30 years from key figures in the story. From coach Bill Walsh to teammates Jerry Rice and Dwight Clark, this book made you feel like you were living through the entire experience in the locker room in under 300 pages.

It read like a history book to me. And I like that. Instead of a storyline, it was more of pages filled with details on Montana's injury and quotes from teammates on the QB battle. That's what it gave me. But instead of reading through it like a documentary, the book instead gave me facts and details. I learned a lot more about Montana's injuries and it gave me perspective on the challenge the coaches had to deal with for both players.

Would this be a book I recommend for 49ers fans? Absolutely. But is this a must read book for them? Not necessarily.

I think the best way to describe this book is that it gives you the history of the rivalry. Plain and simple, the book takes you back to 1979 and from there, you're watching 15 years of 49ers history unfold before your eyes. From there, you're seeing all the action and emotions from all angles in the quarterback battle.

If you've seen the story before, then you can pass on it. But if you want to go down memory lane one more time and relive the glory and pain of the 49ers and the cornerstone of their success, the book is worth a read. There, the myth and legend of these two quarterbacks' struggle becomes a reality.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are fan, this is great behind the scenes action 4 Oct. 2012
By LD - Published on
To enjoy this book you do not need to be a 49er fan. There are lots of stories about other teams and players that you never read about in the sports section. Lazarus let's you listen in on player negotiations, player's thoughts, coach's strategies, and reporter's speculation. Plus many games are summarized in a way that makes you feel that you were there as a spectator.

The book spends most of its time detailing the careers of Joe Montana and Steve Young. You'll find out what the TV announcers never knew. Its quite a human interest story. And you will read about other great quarterbacks and coaches.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best sports book I've read this year 19 Mar. 2013
By Craig - Published on
As a fan of sports history, I've been looking forward to reading this book. I remember well the era of Montana/Young, and even living in the Midwest during the pre-Internet era we were all well aware of the controversy associated with having two HOF-caliber quarterbacks on the same team. Lazarus does not disappoint, presenting a well-balanced and unbiased review of this period.

Both Montana and Young come across as good guys who have their faults. There is no hagiography, while at the same time the author doesn't spend his time trying to unfairly rip into either quarterback for what they do on-field and off-field. With each of them, he briefly talks about their younger years, and spends some time reviewing their impressive college careers. The majority of the book, though, is focused on their professional careers and their eventual coming together as 49ers. It was interesting to read some of the comments from both players regarding their respective roles, to see Montana's willingness to play through injuries and to see Young's deep desire to get on the field while still respecting Montana's greatness. The other main players in the book are the quarterbacks' teammates and the the 49ers' coaching staff, and again Lazarus' unbiased presentation of their comments and actions makes for an excellent read.

There's a real shortage of excellent football history books out there, with notable exceptions like McCambridge's America's Game or Bissinger's Friday Night Lights, while baseball has a whole pantheon of great historical works. Hopefully with efforts like this one from Lazarus, America's most popular sport will one day have the rich review of history that it deserves.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book 17 Nov. 2013
By Geoff Landtbom - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
One thing that needs to be cleared up right now, Steve Young and Joe Montana never hated each other in 6 years as teammates and don't now. Was there tension at times? Of course there was. But it was not as bad as some may think. That is entirely the media's fault but the media always wants to sensationalize stories. That's what they do. The book goes into game by game accounts from 1987 on, even following Joe to Kansas City. It covers Youngs 1994 season as well, going into part of 1995 before a very bizarre epilogue. But that aside I recommend this book. It goes back to a period of time unique in NFL history, two hall of fame quarterbacks on the same team and everything that happened during that time. I doubt we will see anything like it again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of Rivals is a must read for football fans 22 Nov. 2013
By BETTY A. MILLER - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a terrific book that treats the subject fairly. I had been a 49er fan during this era and remembered
the games and the characters. I had been a fan of Steve Young's before reading this book, even more so
after. The competition between two super quarterbacks fighting for the same job is gripping. Lazarus gives
us a fair story from the Joe side and the Steve side. Highly recommended for any football fan but certainly
for 49er fans.
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