Synopses & Reviews
An unrivaled portrait of day-to-day life in the NFL: "Riveting...An instant classic." -- New York Times Book Review
By spending a year with the New York Jets, Nicholas Dawidoff entered a mysterious and private world with its own rituals and language. Equal parts Paper Lion, Moneyball, Friday Night Lights, and The Office, this absorbing, funny, and vivid narrative gets to the heart of a massive and stressful collective endeavor.
Here is football in many faces: the polarizing, brilliant, and hilarious head coach; the general manager, whose job is to support (and suppress) the irrepressible coach; the defensive coaches and their in-house rivals, the offensive coaches; and of course the players. Wise safeties, brooding linebackers, high-strung cornerbacks, enthusiastic rookies, and a well-read nose tackle-they make up a strange and complex family. Dawidoff makes an emblematic NFL season come alive for fans and nonfans alike in a book about football that will forever change the way people watch and think about the sport.
"Claiming that professional football 'thrive on mystery,' Dawidoff (The Catcher Was a Spy) embedded himself with the NFL's New York Jets for the 2011 season in an attempt to demystify the sport. By converging elements of the best sport literature analysis, expose, humor into an expansive narrative, he takes readers inside the windowless offices of the Jets' Florham Park, N.J., headquarters and onto sweat-stained practice fields where men become boys and friendships rise and fall. Beginning with the NFL Scouting Combine in February through to the final game of a disappointing season marked by early Super Bowl aspirations and a player lockout, Dawidoff reveals the professional, physical, and human toll a single NFL season takes. Issues of player safety and sexual orientation are covered neatly and quickly so he can get back to an overreliance on Xs and Os. In fact, the book takes its title from a little-known term used by defensive coaches to describe linebackers and other players who make 'legal contact with any potential pass receiver... crossing the field within five yards of the line of scrimmage.' This coveted exploration of the inner workings of an NFL team isn't for casual fans, but it will thrill Jets followers and disciples of the game, ensuring readers won't watch football the same way again. Agent: David McCormick, McCormick & Williams. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Nicholas Dawidoff is the author of four previous critically acclaimed books, including the bestselling The Catcher Was a Spy and The Crowd Sounds Happy. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Civitella Ranieri Fellow, a Berlin Prize Fellow of the American Academy, and an Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University, and is now a Branford Fellow at Yale University. A Pulitzer Prize finalist (for The Fly Swatter), Dawidoff is a contributor to The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, and Rolling Stone. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut, with his family.