Gregg Ficery

Author of Gridiron Legacy

Author Talks
Thursday, Feb 9 2023 @ 7pm

Football games start with a kickoff, but when did pro football actually begin? Gridiron Legacy, the new book by Gregg Ficery being published by The Ringer, answers that question with a photo-packed, action-filled, mystery-solving story. Ficery has dug into his own family history to find out just why pro football’s origins were shrouded in the fog of history. For the first time, the answers are revealed!

The story actually starts 28 years BEFORE the founding of the National Football League in 1920. Ficery’s book digs into a scandal that turns out to be one of the main reasons that pro football’s origin story has eluded the light of day . . . until now. Filled with archival photos, family, team, and player memorabilia, and at more than 350 fact-packed pages, Gridiron Legacy is a book for anyone who loves football . . . or American history.

Gridiron Legacy takes readers from American football’s origins in northeastern colleges shortly after the Civil War through the struggle of the professional game’s pioneers against the amateur norms of the era. That’s right, even the idea of paying people to play a game was controversial in the early days. Ficery follows the career of his great-grandfather, Bob Shiring, one of the greatest pro players of the era, as Shiring barnstorms among teams in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio. Along the way, readers will walk the old-time sidelines as a hardy band of tough, tenacious men launch the effort to establish what has become our country’s most popular sport.

The linchpin of Gridiron Legacy is a long-buried gambling scandal during the 1906 championship series between the Canton Bulldogs and Shiring's Massillon Tigers. The effects of the scandal effectively ended high-level pro football for nearly a decade. Ficery's multi-year journey of discovery revealed documents and artifacts from the era. Among these is the case file from Canton Bulldogs captain "Blondy" Wallace's lawsuit to clear him of fixing games—a case that finally reveals the truth of the scandal after more than a century.

Gridiron Legacy takes readers on a colorful, detailed, and dramatic journey through pro football’s backstory to discover how it all started and solve the cold case that has been missing from the game’s history.

Book Cover of Fragile Cargo

About the Author

Author Gregg Ficery is the great-grandson of the 1906 professional football world champion Massillon Tigers captain Bob Shiring, who was regarded by many as the greatest center of the pre-NFL professional era.

Promotional language provided by publisher.

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