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Ten-Gallon War: The NFL's Cowboys, the AFL's Texans, and the Feud for Dallas's Pro Football Future

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  169 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
In the 1960s, on the heels of the “Greatest Game Ever Played,” professional football began to flourish across the country—except in Texas, where college football was still the only game in town. But in an unlikely series of events, two young oil tycoons started their own professional football franchises in Dallas the very same year: the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, and, as part o ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published January 1st 2012)
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Feb 06, 2014 rated it liked it
In 1952 the National Football League started an expansion franchise called the Dallas Texans, but the team was a miserable failure and played only one year there. They were eventually sold and moved to Baltimore where they became the Colts. Only the Colts would later leave Baltimore for Indianapolis, and the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens, then Cleveland got an expansion team again named the Browns. In 1960 Lamar Hunt started another team in Dallas and again called the ...more
This is a story for you if you're interested in the history of the NFL, AFL, Dallas Cowboys, or Kansas City Chiefs. Centering around Dallas' two pro football franchises that began playing in 1960, Eisenberg focuses on the late 50's up to the late 60's and the NFL/AFL merger, but also hits on relevant events before and after. So many names and faces are familiar from documentaries, old news footage, and NFL Films, it was fascinating to learn more about what they were like. I definitely have a bet ...more
Chris Dean
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Finally got around to finishing this book, but not because of a lack of exciting material. This book proves the case that this feud was not only for the future of pro football in Dallas but was instrumental in creating the NFL as we know it today. The Dallas football war created the competition that allowed the AFL to be created and then thrive and its reconciliation was brokered by the men who fought the war and created the Super Bowl. Riveting backstories throughout, especially Abner Haynes a ...more
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
So good it almost made me empathize with Dallas fans. All kidding aside, a very detailed, very amusing look into the dawn of the modern NFL, the birth of the AFL, and the franchises that would eventually become "Americas Team" the Dallas Cowboys and (spoiler alert) the Kansas City Chiefs. It doesn't delve into the darker side of football even when it almost touches upon it (Jim Tyrer was a HOF caliber player, but was also the Jovan Belcher of his day), but it's a great resource for understanding ...more
Dustin Richie
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved it! Very interesting story, great to read about the pioneers that started and played in the AFL.
A fast, detailed, sometimes funny read of the battle between the NFL and AFC. Would have given it 4 stars but there was too much game detail and only a chapter devoted to 4 years in the league.
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
"When the Texans' home attendance at the Cotton Bowl failed to spike despite the team's success, Lamar became increasingly convinced he had no choice [to move]. He had always believed his beloved hometown couldn't support two teams, but he had hoped the Texans could survive if won enough games. Everyone loved a winner, right? Well, apparently not. The Texans had drawn crowds of 13,557 and 19,137 on their way to the title. It was beyond exasperating. What do these people want? "

from Chapter 18
Todd Tobias
May 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Much has been written about the early battles between the fresh-faced American Football League, and their rivals, the long-established National Football League. Readers with an interest can find texts dedicated to the founding of the AFL, the AFL in the early years, the AFL/NFL merger, and all of the various subcategories that pertain to both leagues. However, it wasn’t until just recently that fans could easily find the story of one of the greatest battles within the AFL/NFL war, the fight betw ...more
C Baker
Nov 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: football, sports
When I first picked up this monograph on the "war" between the NFL expansion team Dallas Cowboys and the upstart AFL Dallas Texans I did not have high expectations. After all, what more could really be said about the history of the maverick AFL and its eventual merger with the longer tenured NFL?

Well, I dare say I was wrong because Eisenberg has written a very interesting account of how Lamar Hunt, the owner of the Dallas Texans and founder of the AFL, and Clint Murchison, another oil magnate wh
Brian T
Nov 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I am from Kansas City. I am a "die-hard" Chiefs fan. As I write this review, the team is 1-8 and they have not been in the lead AT ALL for the ENTIRE season - they won their one and only game in Overtime on a field-goal... It is NOT a good time to be a Chiefs fan!

I really enjoyed this book! It is amazing the think that the only reason that "America's Team" (The Cowboys) came into existence was because the NFL didn't want the Chiefs/AFL to corner the Dallas market. Lamar Hunt would have been happ
Jan 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book tells the story of Lamar Hunts efforts to bring an NFL team to Dallas. When the NFL repeatedly tells him that they are not interested in expanding he creates the AFL. When the NFL realizes that he can pull this off they offer him an NFL franchise. Having already committing to the other investors of the AFL he declines. The NFL then finds another owner to bring an NFL franchise to Dallas. For the first three years of the AFL's existence Dallas went from no professional football team to ...more
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
As a big KC Chiefs fan for the last 20 years this was a entertaining book to read. The fact that Lamar Hunt created the AFL makes me even prouder to be a Chiefs fan in spite of this dismal season we just experienced. Showtime did a documentary on the AFL on the 50th anniversary back in 2009 which was very good but it also covered a lot of this story. Ten Gallon War did a great job of filling in the gaps where the showtime documentary didn't cover. The descriptions of the football games was also ...more
This topic might have made a good magazine article or a chapter in another book (and in fact the author admits in his afterward that one of his earlier books did cover the subject in a chapter) but there's not enough material here to sustain a full-length book. Eisenberg pads his page count with tedious recaps of virtually every game (including exhibitions!) that the Texans and Cowboys played during the three years they both called Dallas home and extends his narrative well beyond its logical en ...more
Mike Seiber
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a very interesting read. Growing up near Dallas, I had know lots of history on the Dallas Cowboys but did not know much about how they began as well as how the Dallas Texans, now the Kansas City Chiefs, and AFL began. I knew many of the places and drove by many on days to and from work but getting to hear the stories and how much both teams fought to call Dallas home was interesting. A highly recommended book for any football fan, much less a Dallas football fan.
Robert James
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am a huge football fan and this book was a great book if you are interested in how the AFL began and how the Dallas Cowboys began. The wheeling and dealing by NFL legends like George Halas and Tex Schramm is fantastic. I once shared a limousine with Lamar Hunt when I was 10 years old and I didn't know at that time that he was the father of the AFL. It's hard to believe that the Cowboys once had a hard time drawing 15,000 people to their home games. A terrific book for every football fan.
Norman McLaughlin
Oct 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great historical sports read.

Anyone who loves football and has a sense of history should read this book. A great tale about founding of the AFL and how the Cowboys slowly but surely morphed into America's Team. Plus you will pick up little facts like how the Vikings were originally an AFL team that jumped ship, Buffalol's beloved Ralph Wilson was almost Miami's beloved Ralph Wilson, and how close the Cowboys came to be known as the Dallas Rangers.
Jcrane1095 Crane
Dec 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Really good storyline weaving in the rivalry among the Cowboys/Texans with the story of the early years of AFL/NFL. I had no appreciation for how fast the Texans/Chiefs put together such a great team. Or how long it took for the Cowboys to become the legends that they are. I highly recommend this book for anyone how likes reading about the early years of the what is now the modern day NFL
Dale Stonehouse
Apr 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Eisenberg's usual excellent writing on a rather narrow subject will interest Texas football fans and Dallas historians. The origins of the AFL are at the core of the story; those who don't remember the AFL may lose interest, but the late Lamar Hunt comes across as a true sporting innovator.
Sean Mcdonald
Mar 11, 2015 rated it liked it
An easy entertaining read, and gets into the NFL/AFL wars a lot more than just in Dallas. It was fun to come across Billy Cannon, Johnny Robinson, Wahoo McDaniel and "Big Cat" Ernie Ladd in the early days of the AFL.
Chris Rodgers
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
A really really great book if you're into sports or history. One thing I didn't like was the author's desire to recount play by play, which didn't really add to the book.
Steve Bedell
Mar 03, 2014 rated it liked it
pretty good. could have given a view of some of the rest of the AFL - understand that it was mostly about Dallas.
Chris Willis
Oct 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book, would highly recommend this.
Charles Hodge
Mar 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Nice historical look at dallas cowboys, NFL and AFL pre merger. Good read if you're a football fan in Dallas
Gary Vanderhaven
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Nov 20, 2013
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Derek Genovese
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John was a columnist at The Baltimore Sun for 23 years, and before that, worked at the dear, departed Dallas Times Herald. He now writes books fulltime. He grew up in Dallas, Texas, and attended the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Baltimore with his wife and their two college-age children.
“Such success had been impossible to envision in 1960, but the Cowboys had become more competitive. They had opened the season with their first-ever win, beating the Steelers in Dallas, 27–24, on a last-second field goal by their new kicker, Allen Green, before a crowd of 23,500.” 0 likes
“WHEN THE COWBOYS’ coaches and front office staff met at Love Field in early July for their trip to training camp in Forest Grove, Oregon, Tom Landry was noticeably grim. Charles Burton of the Morning News wrote that the coach “appeared about as excited as if he were preparing to drive to Grand Prairie for a civic club luncheon.” 0 likes
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