In releasing their new, explosive book, former NFL star tight end Billy Joe DuPree and Spencer Kopf, a former players’ attorney and municipal judge in Texas, quote Yogi Berra saying it’s “déjà vu all over again” as they compared current negotiations to avoid an NFL strike to similar talks before the 1982 strike.

THE UNBROKEN LINE (SMI Books/iUniverse, 2010), is based on countless first-hand accounts and court records, providing a provocative look at the issue behind the scenes.

In the book, available now on, and Barnes and Noble (, and, reporting begins in 1982, the year of the last NFL strike, and focuses on those 57 uncertain days in professional football where fumbled negotiations nearly left players and fans without the game they love.

Though the NFLPA took credit for ending the stalemate, in the book DuPree and Kopf reveal for the first time how a last minute “Hail Mary” play from an unlikely group of athletes actually saved the season by forcing a settlement.

Nearly 28 years later, with the NFL again on the brink of a strike, DuPree and Kopf say it’s critical to revisit the past now because many of the same men who were at the bargaining table then have returned for an encore performance to run the show.

The message from THE UNBROKEN LINE sets up a goal line stand against DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFLPA, who finds himself at odds with many players over what they’re entitled to and rightfully deserve.

In a David v. Goliath story of greed and power, THE UNBROKEN LINE paints a picture of how NFL stars are, in some cases, unknowingly being undermined by the very people who should be representing them: their association. And how now, players – both current and retired – are still fighting for health coverage, retirement packages and a greater say in their contracts.

MIKE DITKA, Former Bears Coach, THE UNBROKEN LINE Foreword
“What THE UNBROKEN LINE reveals is that players in 1982 had to battle people who were supposed to be guiding them. This is the worst kind of foe.”

EMMITT SMITH, NFL’s all-time leading rusher
“This book honors retired players of today, and of tomorrow.”

Why The Story Needed to be Told: “This story needed to be told, not only to set the record straight as to what really happened during those tenuous weeks in the fall of 1982, but to bring an end to the continuous misrepresentations of the people entrusted to protect the players that they were hired to serve.”

The Impact on Fans: “Another strike seems to be looming, and it is vital to reveal the incompetence that hung like a fog over NFL business all those years ago, and which continues to hang to this day. Fans will be surprised, and many will be angered, when they learn what was going on then and how it sheds light on what is going on now. Former and current players alike will have a more fierce and a more personal reaction when they learn these facts.”

Eerily relevant in 2010, THE UNBROKEN LINE turns back the clock to a time when many players were not making huge money. These NFL athletes never received health coverage for the relentless wear and tear their bodies took and damage that has left some players broke and with mounting medical bills.

To request a review copy of the book, please send an email to: (For members of the media only)

About the Authors:
Billy Joe DuPree is a former Pro Bowl tight end for the Dallas Cowboys. He was selected to three consecutive Pro Bowls (1976-78) and helped lead his team to a 27-10 victory in Super Bowl XII.

Spencer Kopf is an attorney, former prosecutor and judge in Dallas, Texas. An expert in sports law, he has represented more than 100 professional athletes and at one time represented one-third of the entire Dallas Cowboys roster.

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