Football: The Rise of Roman's Empire

One Sunday afternoon in 1965, late in a losing game and late in a losing year, Los Angeles Ram Quarterback Bill Munson hobbled off the field with a banged-up knee. His replacement was Roman Gabriel, then in his fourth year of spotty, second-string duty. The plays were sent in by the coach and "the boys didn't think too much of me in the huddle," Gabriel recalls. "I can't say that I blamed them. I had no idea how to read a defense." He soon became a speed reader. In the season's remaining month,...

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