The Uptown! Speaker Series will welcome Ray Didinger on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 6:30 PM.
The beloved radio personality, author, and sportswriter will present “The NFL at 100: How Pro Football Became America’s Game.” He will take the audience on a journey from the game’s humble beginnings to its stronghold as the country’s most popular sport.
Didinger has been covering sports for 50 years, with a focus on football for about half that time. With so much insight to share, he does so in person with all the personality we have come to know and expect from his commentary as host on 94WIP sports talk radio in Philadelphia or as primary analyst for Eagles Pre-Game Live and Post-Game Live on NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Born in South Philly and raised in Delaware County, Didinger attended St. James High School in Chester. A Philly resident, he is a 1968 graduate of Temple University and a member of Temple’s School of Communications Hall of Fame. He wrote for the Philadelphia Bulletin and Philadelphia Daily News in his early career and is now the author of 12 books on sports, including three bestsellers and an autobiographical play, Tommy and Me. He has six Emmy Awards as producer and writer with NFL Films, was named Pennsylvania Sportswriter of the Year five times by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association, and is on the writers’ honor roll in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Like every diehard Eagles fan, Didinger had been waiting a long time for the Birds to win the Super Bowl. In his “Champions Edition” of The Eagles Encyclopedia, Didinger celebrates his team and the against-all-odds season that ended with the Super Bowl LII victory over the New England Patriots. The bestseller has been updated with the departure of coach Chip Kelly and the dawn of the Doug Pederson era, and a new chapter was added on the 2017–18 season and postseason. More than a keepsake, it is a book about a city and a team and the emotion that binds them. The book will be available to Uptown! ticket buyers along with a post-event book signing.
How did pro football become America’s Game? There was a key turning point that audience members under the age of 65 may find hard to believe. Didinger acknowledges a social, emotional factor that has contributed to the sport’s popularity.
“Nothing is accomplished on a football field by a single individual,” he said. “Even the placekicker needs someone to snap the ball and someone to hold it. All 11 men have to work together, or else they won’t succeed. That is what we have to do in our own lives, and as society becomes more divided, working together becomes more challenging. Football reminds us that it can still be done.”
VIP tickets are available, with preferred seating, a signed copy of the book, private reception with cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres, and a meet and greet with Didinger. The event is partially sponsored by the West Chester Public Library.
Click here for tickets.