This is a harsh sport, played by big men who at once must be strong, courageous, graceful and stylish. Its emotion and power are transmitted, as never before, in these remarkable photographs by Robert Riger, until now known principally for his sketches of athletes. They are from a new book,-The Pros" ( Simon and Schuster, $10), by Riger and Tex Maule.
In the ruck of the line the huge men fight their most savage (and least noticed) wars. The rules are their own, and almost the only law the linemen know is survival.
Tall, thin, almost a figure from El Greco, one man (left) reflects the sorrow of loss; another (above), swinging a bulky leg, is frequent symbol of victory.
Pain is a part of the game. Above: under attack from two businesslike tacklers, the ball carrier's mouth is wide in futile complaint. At right: the pass is complete, but the receiver, borne high by two fierce defenders, is hurt. No matter—though he must leave the game he has set up a score.