Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Book Round-Up! Both MR N and I are huge NFL fans. The Conference Championship is this Sunday and then it’s onto the Superbowl. This year is the 50th anniversary of the Superbowl and we thought it would be fun to share with you our favorite books on all things football and NFL. Without further ado, here they are:
There are memoirs like you’ve never read before. As broadcaster and pitchman, John Madden has been inside the locker rooms, broadcasts booths, and in front of the camera doing what he does best–being himself. He’s seen an awful lot and he wrote a book to prove it. Hey, wait a minute, you’ll love it!
Mr. N: This is one of the best books I’ve read on the game of football. It’s like sitting down with John Madden and peeking inside his brain. A brilliant book and grab a copy if you can find it!
As he did for his previous books, My Greatest Day in NASCAR and My Greatest Day in Golf, sports journalist Bob McCullough has crisscrossed the country interviewing legendary football players who are in the Hall of Fame. In addition to asking about their greatest day, McCullough has expanded these interviews to include thoughts on their greatest college day, greatest opponent, and greatest teammate.
The players include:
Chuck Bednarik *Bobby Bell *Raymond Berry *Terry Bradshaw *Willie Davis *Frank Gifford *Bud Grant *Bob Griese *Jack Ham *Michael Haynes *Sam Huff *John Henry Johnson *Sonny Jurgenson *Leroy Kelly *Paul Krause *Steve Largent *John Mackey *Wellington Mara *Gino Marchetti * Bill Parcells *Pete Pihos *Lawrence Taylor *Gale Sayers *Bob St. Clair *Jan Stenerud *Don Shula *Bart Starr *Jim Taylor *YA Tittle *Paul Warfield
With first-hand accounts from so many football greats, My Greatest Day in Football is the perfect gift for football fans everywhere.
In the midst of all the publicity for the 1985/86 Bears and media favorite “Refrigerator” Perry, the Midway Monster most in the spotlight was unconventional quarterback McMahon, with his punk-rock haircut, sunglasses and headbands. Here, with the assistance of Chicago Tribune sports columnist Verdi, he tells of his life and his attitudes. Not surprisingly, he views himself primarily as an entertainer rather than an athlete and on the printed page maintains the ruthless candor that has made him controversial. He makes no attempt to conceal his contempt for Bears team president Michael McCaskey, his distant and cool relationship with his parents and his feeling that a lot of sportswriting belongs in the category of fiction and not reportage. He also has very little good to say about his alma mater, Brigham Young. His autobiography is refreshing and real, not unlike the man himself.
Rich Eisen always wanted to write a book, not only because he has a lot of fun, interesting stories he’s been dying to share with everyone, but also because he’s interviewed hundreds of athletes–many of whom like to refer to themselves in the third person. In his eleven years as a national television sportscaster, Rich Eisen has been envious of those athletes because Rich Eisen has never been able to do that on his job, so the host of NFL Network decided to write a book and use it as an admittedly feeble excuse to go third-person on everybody. Not throughout the whole book, of course. That may get quite exhausting for the reader. But for an entire book jacket? Well, Rich Eisen was all over that.
That’s the why behind this book. As for the how, Rich Eisen just took it one sentence at a time and hoped for the best. You know, start with a few words and turn those words into sentences which turned into paragraphs and chapters and, eventually, into this book. Rich Eisen didn’t worry about the big picture and just kept focusing on the things that he could control–the keyboard, the ON/OFF button on his computer, his dictionary, his thesaurus, and last–but certainly not least–the spell-check on his word processing program. One day, when it’s all over, only then will Rich Eisen look back on his career and try to put it all in perspective, but right now Rich Eisen absolutely knows he would not be where he is today without his spell-check.
By now you must be wondering: What’s this book about? It’s about a journey. It’s about eating, living, and breathing the most popular sport in the history of America. The passion. The pageantry. The pigskin. Thanks to his role as host of the NFL Network’s signature program, NFL Total Access, Rich Eisen gets to go to virtually every event on the NFL Calendar—the Super Bowl, the Pro Bowl, the Scouting Combine, the NFL Draft, and the Hall of Fame Induction Weekend. You name it, Rich Eisen is there. And thanks to this book, you can go along for the ride with him–in front of the camera interviewing league MVPs and former presidents of the United States or behind the scenes with some of the game’s all-time greats like Deion Sanders, Ray Lewis, and Brett Favre, just to name a few. I mean, Rich Eisen doesn’t want to name-drop. In all seriousness, Rich Eisen doesn’t have an ego problem.
At any rate, if you love the NFL (and who doesn’t), then this book is for you. If you’re curious what it would be like to live the sport year-round, this book is for you. You see, it’s not all about Rich Eisen. It’s about you reading this book and enjoying it to its fullest. At least Rich Eisen hopes you will.
Advance Praise for Total Access:
“I’ve always admired Rich Eisen’s work, so it’s no surprise to me that his book is very entertaining. What is a surprise is that he’s somehow found time to write it in between the NFL Network’s 6,347 hours of coverage of weak-side linebackers who could be draft-sleepers. That sort of programming and this book about it are both genuine public services.” —Bob Costas
“A lot of things in our lives are far less than as advertised, but this book advertises Total Access and gives you Total Access. That’s right. Total Access! I’m not kidding. I liked this book and I’m not a reader.” —Tony Kornheiser, columnist for The Washington Post and co-host for ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption
“Rich uses his great sense of humor to detail the life of an on-air NFL personality. It is a world I know well, but still I couldn’t stop turning the pages. It is a great read—a must for anyone who loves television and Pro Football.” —Joe Buck, Fox Sports
The NFL draft features no action on the field. No passing, running, tackling, or kicking. Hey, there isn’t even a field. Yet the draft has become more popular than many other sporting events, including the NBA and NHL playoff games, against which it goes head-to-head for viewers. In fact, the draft has spawned its own cottage industry in which names such as Gil Brandt, Mel Kiper Jr., and Mike Mayock have become as well known as any of the first-round selections.
In On the Clock, Barry Wilner and Ken Rappoport chronicle the history of the proceedings. The veteran sportswriters take you from the first grab bag in 1936, when Philadelphia chose Heisman Trophy winner Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago only for him to decline to play in the NFL, to the 2014 draft—considered one of the deepest in talent ever.
Along the 78-year journey, learn about the competitions for the top overall spot (Peyton Manning vs. Ryan Leaf), the unhappy No. 1s (John Elway and Tom Cousineau), the big flops (JaMarcus Russell), and the late-rounders-turned-superstars (Tom Brady).
Meet the draft wizards, from Paul Brown to Bill Walsh and Jimmy Johnson, and read about the draft whiffs that cost personnel executives their jobs.
On the Clock takes you behind the scenes at one of pro football’s most suspenseful annual events.
What NFL/Football book(s) are your must-reads? Share in the comments below.
Happy Reading and go Panthers!!!
MRS N, Book Addict