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The Toe
The Lou Groza Story

By Lou Groza with Mark Hodermarsky

Click here to buy this book from Amazon.Com

Some people called him Lou, some called him #76. But everyone recognizes Lou Groza by his nickname, "The Toe."

Lou played for the Cleveland Browns longer than anyone else in history - for 21 years. He was there at the beginning and took part in the incredible ride as part of the Browns dynasty that won 8 championships.

Best known as a kicker, Lou was also an outstanding offensive lineman. He has all the credentials on the field that anyone could ask for:

  • 13 championship games
  • 9 Pro Bowls
  • 6 times All-NFL Offensive Tackle
  • Sporting News MVP in 1954
  • 3rd leading scorer in NFL History
  • 10 NFL records and 24 Browns records at his retirement
  • Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974
This 1996 book is a great read for Browns fans, Buckeye fans and football fans in general. Ohio State fans will appreciate the Foreword from coach Jim Tressel and the look at Ohio State's first championship, under coach Paul Brown.

As World War II escalated in 1943, most of OSU's players went into the service but Brown still crafted a fine team of youngsters called "The Baby Bucks"

Even those less-than-rabid fans will enjoy a look back at a different time. Lou recalls how, before WWII, men, like his brother Frank, often joined the service for one year. He even recalls a song of that time "See you in a Year."

Of course, the war changed everything and Lou saw duty in the Philippines and the Pacific Theater. The accounts of his service in Okinawa are a grim reminder of the sacrifices so many made.

Lou gives the inside story of the birth of the Browns and a look at the very private football genius Paul Brown. Brown's many football innovations are legendary.

From the flanker to the facemask to the draw play - they were all Paul Brown's ideas. He created the Taxi Squad by placing players they wanted to keep from opposing teams on the payroll of Brown's owner Mickey McBride's cab company.

It's a great look at the greatest dynasty in NFL history. At the end of the book, Lou provides a few paragraphs on the Hall of Famers (Dante Lavelli, Jim Brown, Otto Graham, etc.)and other great players he played with over his long career.

As the current Browns team struggles, it is helpful to remember the proud history of this team - and this book does a great job of that.

Reviewed by Dan Hanson

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