Star-Ledger columnist Jerry Izenberg’s book on the Giants returns to print

The classic blue New York Giants uniform from the ’80s and ’90s era isn’t the only thing returning for Giants fans this season.

Jerry Izenberg’s best-selling insider soccer book, “No Medals For Trying,” will be re-released as an e-book by Open Road Media, complete with a new foreword by Izenberg, on August 2, and will be available at major bookstores max. including Amazon (http://amzn.to/3vtSO4L) and Barnes & Noble (http://bit.ly/3cSXFpN).

“I never thought this book would happen. I already had access to all the players, but now, to do that, I needed Bill Parcells’ access to record all the coaching meetings,” Izenberg said. “I needed it [Giants coach] Bill Parcells to give his wife permission to speak about the pressure of being a coach’s wife. And, above all, she needed Parcells. I felt he had a better chance if he asked for a copy of the Giants playbook. So we sat in his office right before he left for training camp.”

“Is that all you want from me?” Parcells asked. He was silent for what seemed like an eternity and then said, “Okay. Try not to get in the way.

“I’m sure there were times when I did,” Izenberg said. “But it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Izenberg’s book opens in the final minutes of November 27, 1989, moments after the Giants lost a heartbreaking loss to the San Francisco 49ers, 34-14, at Candlestick Park.

After the crucial game, televised to the country on Monday Night Football, Parcells had to relive the loss by reading the injury report as the team flew back to New Jersey on a charter flight as he began planning for Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, coached by coach Buddy Ryan and quarterback Randall Cunningham.

The Giants were a mess: quarterback Phil Simms had re-injured his ankle; nose tackle Erik Howard had lower back spasms; wide receiver Lionel Manuel, a sprained knee; address Jumbo Elliott, a swollen ankle; running back Dave Meggett, a minor concussion.

And then, the biggest concern: Lawrence Taylor, the Giants’ indestructible linebacker, had suffered an ankle injury. He boarded the charter plane on crutches.

Izenberg was also on the Giants’ charter flight. All week long, he attended and recorded every team meeting, practice session and chalk talk as the Giants prepared for what turned out to be their biggest game of the 1989 season.

Unrestricted access takes the reader into a world never seen by football fans. You’ll feel the pressure building as Parcells and his staff, which includes defensive and offensive coordinators Bill Belichick and Ron Erhardt, and his assistants Tom Coughlin, Romeo Crennel, Al Groh, Ray Handley, Fred Hoaglin, Lamar Leachman, Johnny Parker, Mike Pope and Mike Sweatman work overtime trying to come up with a plan to stop the Eagles.

Now living in Henderson, Nev., with his wife Aileen, Izenberg still produces current sports columns and social commentary as a columnist emeritus for The Star-Ledger.

Milestones are nothing new for this Newark native. He is one of only two newspaper columnists to have covered the first 53 Super Bowls, not to mention the 54 consecutive Kentucky Derby races and the last five Triple Crown-winning horses. No one covered more Muhammad Ali fights than he did, since the 1960 Olympics.

The recipient of the Red Smith Award, which is given annually by the Associated Press Sports Editors to a writer or editor who has made significant contributions to sports journalism, Izenberg is a five-time winner of the New Jersey Sportswriter of the Year award. He is a member of 17 Halls of Fame, including the National Sportscaster and Sportswriter Hall of Fame, the International Boxing Hall of Fame, and the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

Izenberg has been inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame, the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame, the New Jersey Literary Hall of Fame, the Rutgers-Newark Athletic Hall of Fame, and the New Jersey Hall of Fame. Rutgers Distinguished Alumni Fame.

Best-selling books he has written include: “Once There Were Giants: The Golden Age of Heavyweight Boxing” and “Rozelle: A Biography.” He released his first novel, the well-received “After the Fire: Love and Hate in the Ashes of 1967,” in 2020, aged 90.

Izenberg founded Newark Project Pride, which promoted an annual college football game for his 29 years and raised funds to send 1,100 local kids to college.

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