Pro Football in the 1970s – A Sports History Network Podcast

Professional football is one of the most exciting spectator sports in America. The decade of the 1970s saw the sport grow by leaps and bounds, thanks mostly to exciting players who quickly became icons.  NFL players such as Joe Namath, Roger Staubach, O.J.Simpson, Terry Bradshaw, “Mean” Joe Greene and Fran Tarkenton are still considered household names today.

During the 1970s, the growing millions of pro football fans also witnessed numerous exciting games and plays, many of which are still remembered and discussed today.  Plays like Franco Harris’ Immaculate Reception in 1972, or the original Hail Mary Pass in 1975, or the Sea of Hands game in 1974, or the Ghost to the Post game in 1977…so many memories, and all during one of the greatest decades in NFL history.

Joe Zagorski’s Pro Football in the 1970s podcast explores all the great memories that occurred in the NFL during that memorable decade.  Each segment will tackle a specific event or player in the NFL during the 1970s.  Each episode will also include a trivia question from some aspect of that particular episode’s theme or topic. 

Joe Zagorski’s Pro Football in the 1970s podcast takes listeners back to a time of old school pro football, where the game might have been simpler in the form of strategy, but it was also more pure and more robust than it had ever been before.  Practically everything that happened during that decade on pro gridirons gets attention in this podcast. 


Joe Zagorski is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America.  He has also spent many years watching and writing about pro football and has been a member of the Pro Football Researchers Association since the mid-1980s. He has also worked for quite some time as a former sportswriter in his home state of Pennsylvania.

 He has written five books on the sport and is currently in the process of writing his sixth pro football book.   He also edits a Facebook page, The NFL in the 1970s.  Be sure to catch the next installment of Pro Football in the 1970s, only on the Sports History Network.




This full bio is from Joe’s website,

Joe Zagorski, a native of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, has been a member of the Pro Football Researchers Association since the mid-1980s. On September 4, 2020, he was awarded with a treasured membership in the esteemed guild, the Pro Football Writers of America.

He is the author of many pro football articles over the years for the publication The Coffin Corner. His first book, The NFL in the 1970s: Pro Football’s Most Important Decade (McFarland and Company, Inc.), was rated by the Library Journal as one of the top ten football books in America in 2016, and the website Pigskin Dispatch rated it as the third best book ever written about pro football in the 1970s.

It is a comprehensive, year-by-year account of the great decade of the 1970s in pro football. It has been lauded by the likes of ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio, who proclaims that the book weaves “…complex historical narrative into a series of wonderful stories and personality portraits that will forever live in the fabric of American sports.”

At the same time that his first book was released, Zagorski was also credited as a contributing writer to the book, The 1966 Green Bay Packers (McFarland and Company, Inc.). In that book, Zagorski wrote separate chapters on Herb Adderley, Willie Wood, and Doug Hart.

His second book is entitled The Year the Packers Came Back: Green Bay’s 1972 Resurgence (McFarland and Company, Inc.) as released in November 2019. It is an in-depth narrative about the 1972 Packers, as seen through the eyes of several of the players and people who were a part of that interesting and often forgotten team.

It is a story of how a group of men, many of whom were new to the team, managed to gel almost immediately to claim a division title…the only division title won by the Packers during the 1970s. But what really made this team unique was how the players were forced to deal with many problematic decisions, which came from their head coach.

According to former Green Bay Super Bowl XXXI Champion head coach Mike Holmgren, “That (1972) Packers team needs to be remembered, and Joe Zagorski’s book represents a good first step forward in making sure that they are remembered.”

Zagorski’s third book is entitled America’s Trailblazing Middle Linebacker: The Story of NFL Hall of Famer Willie Lanier (published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2020). It is a long overdue biography of one of the greatest middle linebackers in pro football history, who also happened to be the first African-American to play that position on a regular basis in pro football history.

Lanier’s saga traces his life from his high school years in Richmond, Virginia, to his college years at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, to his 11 seasons as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, to his post-football life as a business CEO, and finally, to the steps of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Zagorski’s fourth book is entitled The 2,003-Yard Odyssey: The Juice, the Electric Company, and an Epic Run for a Record (Austin Macauley) was published in May 2024. The book details the incredible 1973 rushing performance of O.J. Simpson of the Buffalo Bills. The book addresses that memorable season honoring the 50-year anniversary of Simpson’s feat.

It includes numerous comments from several Buffalo players (including Simpson himself) regarding that year, the games that comprised that season, and their memories of the historic accomplishment of the only man (Simpson) to rush for 2,003 yards in one 14-game NFL season. The book also tackles the aftermath of Simpson’s NFL accomplishments in a realistic and factual tone, which were expressed by several of his teammates.

Zagorski also edits a Facebook page entitled “The NFL in the 1970s,” and he has contributed articles to the blog Pro Football Journal. He also broadcasts a monthly podcast entitled Pro Football in the 1970s. In his spare time, Zagorski volunteers with the Tennessee Chapter of the NFL Alumni Association on a variety of charitable activities.

In his youth, he was a sportswriter for the Coatesville (Pennsylvania) Daily Record newspaper and the Evening Phoenix newspaper of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, in the 1980s and the 1990s. In 2021, Zagorski was honored with the Pro Football Researchers Association’s Ralph Hay Award for Lifetime Achievement in the fields of Pro Football Research and Historiography.

In 2022, Zagorski was honored as the recipient of the Pro Football Researchers Association’s annual Bob Carroll Memorial Writing Award for Best Article of the Year. He currently lives in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.