Reference Librarian John Maxymuk is Rutgers’ Resident NFL Expert
As a reference librarian and head of public services at Rutgers–Camden’s Paul Robeson Library, John Maxymuk’s professional areas of expertise range from computer science to chemistry to government documents. But he is also a wellspring of knowledge about the National Football League.
Maxymuk has written more than a dozen books on the history of professional football and teams including the Steelers, Packers, and Philadelphia Eagles. Recently, a number of regional news outlets including SNJ Today the Press of Atlantic City have also turned to him for his takes on the 2018 post-season.
With the Birds slated to take on the New England Patriots at Super Bowl LII this Sunday in Minneapolis, we caught up with Maxymuk to talk about his love for the game and penchant for research—and whether the Vince Lombardi trophy is destined for Philadelphia for the first time in history.
How did your interest in football come to be?
I grew up a sports fan, but I always had an interest in the past, so I remember reading about football and baseball from the 1930s and before when I was in grade school. I always had a sense that history did not begin the day I was born.
How has being a librarian helped you in your role as a football historian—or vice versa?
I went into academic librarianship because I liked doing research and helping others with that as well. There’s natural crossover to extending those research skills to things of personal interest.
People in Philadelphia/South Jersey have a reputation for being very passionate sports fans. Why do you think this is? What role has football played in this region through the years?
It’s a competitive area like any Northeast urban area—New York, Boston, and so forth. It’s often identified as having blue collar roots, but there are attorneys and many other professions represented in the Philly fan base. It’s more the competitive and passionate nature of people in the area. I wrote more about football in the region for the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia.
What are the big storylines to look out for heading into Super Bowl LII?
Do Foles and Pederson wilt in the biggest spotlight?
Perhaps the most important question of all: do the Eagles stand a chance against the Patriots this weekend?
Absolutely. It’s an opportunity for Doug Pederson and Nick Foles to measure themselves against the very best. The Belichick Patriots have only played close games in the Super Bowl, and they have been beaten.