Review by Budd Bailey

One of the best parts of reviewing books is that sometimes you receive a nice surprise after opening the book.

That’s what happened with Tom Danyluk’s book, “Majesty and Mayhem.”

It’s never easy to predict what you might be picking up when a self-published book arrives in your lap. Sometimes it’s a “this one’s for the kids” project; sometimes it’s a serious effort. It was particularly difficult in this case, because there was no biographical facts about Danyluk included in the volume.

There were a few clues about his background in the book – including some articles that were reprinted from Pro Football Weekly – but that was about it. An on-line check showed that he’s a sales manager for a steel company out of Chicago, but managed to make some money on the side writing about pro football. Good for him.

It was a little difficult to guess where Danyluk was going, basic on the rather non-descriptive title. But his goal comes across rather quickly. He has written a look back at several aspects of the NFL in the 1980s, with the additional knowledge that only time can provide. There’s little rhyme or reason about the subject matter in a sense. It’s just one good story after another.

Want some examples? Sure. The freezing Bengals-Chargers playoff game of 1982. The Frig. The after-effects of “The Play” in Cleveland. The Fog Bowl in Chicago. Dan Marino’s great but unfinished career. What was wrong with Herschel Walker. What was right with Troy Aikman. The strange case of Chuck Muncie. The rebirth of John Riggins. The Eighties’ top draft picks and top championship teams.

There are 45 chapters here, so that list merely touches on some highlights. I found them all to be worth reading, and that’s rather rare in anthologies.

Danyluk sent me a copy of this for review, and he also included a book on how the AFL and NFL champs might have matched up in mythical games from 1960 to 1966. I’m always backed up on books, it seems, but it sure sounds like he might have had a lot of fun with it. I’ll get to it someday.

There usually is a ceiling for self-published books. That is a limiting factor. There are a few more typos than in the professional published efforts. The size can be awkward for reading. Some of the photos don’t have any purpose except to add a little variety.

It’s not a big deal. If you read “Majesty and Mayhem,” you expect to learn something. That goal is reached nicely here. Those of a certain age – 50 and up? – in particular certainly will enjoy this.

(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has been involved in almost every aspect of the local sports scene for the last 40 years. He worked for WEBR Radio, the Buffalo Sabres' public relations department and The Buffalo News during that time. In that time he covered virtually every aspect of the area's sports world, from high schools to the Bills and Sabres and everything in between. Along the way, Budd served as a play-by-play announcer for the Bisons, an analyst for the Stallions, and a talk-show host. He won the National Lacrosse League's Tom Borrelli Award as the media personality of the year in 2011, and was a finalist for that same award in 2017. Budd's seventh and eighth books, one on the Transcontinental Railroad and the other about Ichiro Suzuki, are scheduled to be released in the fall.

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