Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Bobby Layne Booklist

By Chris Willis, NFL Films
“He never lost a game in his life. Once in a while time ran out on him-“ said Doak Walker, former Detroit Lions teammate and close friend.

On this day (Dec. 19th) in 1926 Bobby Layne was born in Santa Anna, Texas. Layne played 15 seasons in the NFL for four different teams- Chicago Bears (1948); New York Bulldogs (1949); Detroit Lions (1950-1958) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (1958-1962). He threw for 26,768 yards, 196 touchdowns and won 3 NFL Championships with the Lions in 1952-1953 and 1957. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967.
Always on Sunday
Always on Sunday, published in 1962
Always on Sunday was published in 1962 by Prentice-Hall. The story of Bobby Layne was told by the future Hall of Fame quarterback to local Pittsburgh sportswriter Bob Drum. Layne explained how the book was written on the back cover. In this short, 143-page book, Layne goes over certain topics in pro football and his career- in 13 separate chapters.
  1. The worst team in professional football
  2. The truth about those headlines
  3. Joe Schmidt- the peerless linebacker
  4. The defense
  5. A game of specialist
  6. Playing quarterback
  7. Rating the great quarterbacks
  8. Some characters in pro football
  9. My greatest game
  10. Injuries will kill a team
  11. Coaching
  12. I come to the Steelers
  13. A team’s resurgence

Back cover of Always on Sunday (1962)
In chapter 7 he says Sammy Baugh “was the greatest of all-time.” He also talks about Norm Van Brocklin (“who could throw the long pass better than anyone”), Johnny Unitas and Charlie Conerly.

The chapter on him joining the Pittsburgh Steelers is very insightful.
Heart of a Lion: The Wild and Wolly Life of Bobby Layne
Heart of a Lion, published in 1991
Heart of a Lion: The Wild and Woolly Life of Bobby Layne was published in 1991 by Taylor Publishing Company. Written by veteran Dallas Morning News columnist Bob St. John, Heart of Lion is a very well-written, entertaining biography on Layne. 207 pages in length and written five years after Layne has passed away (1986), this biography brings Layne to life- all of his glories and faults.

It also includes a Forward by George Plimpton.
Bobby Layne
Both books are highly recommended on Bobby Layne’s birthday!


  1. Watching the filmb always left with the impression that he was one tough SOB. Little guy built like a firplug stood soo stout in the pocket, took a licking and kept on ticking, they really don't make them like that anymore.

  2. ....with most of his career with the Lions & Steelers; the film shows him with those teams, yet watching him play for the Bulldogs in '49 is eye popping. Buddy Parker knew he had a "diamond in the rough" when he joined him in Detroit.

  3. My second favorite Lion from my youth next to the great Safety and All-World and "original hang time Punter Yale Lary.
    Bobby Layne and my favorite Tigers player to this day Al Kaline share the same birthday December 19.