More than a century ago, a school was constructed in Fort Worth, Texas, for the purpose of housing and educating the orphans of Texas Freemasons. It was a humble project that for years existed quietly on a hillside east of town. Life at the Masonic Home was about to change, though, with the arrival of a lean, bespectacled coach by the name of Rusty Russell. Here was a man who could bring rain in the midst of a drought. Here was a man who, in virtually no time at all, brought the orphans' story into the homes of millions of Americans.
In the 1930s and 1940s, there was nothing bigger in Texas high school football than the Masonic Home Mighty Mites—a group of orphans bound together by hardship and death. These youngsters, in spite of being outweighed by at least thirty pounds per man, were the toughest football team around. They began with nothing—not even a football—yet in a few years were playing for the state championship on the highest level of Texas football. This is a winning tribute to a courageous band of underdogs from a time when America desperately needed fresh hope and big dreams.
The Mighty Mites remain a notable moment in the long history of American sports. Just as significant is the depth of the inspirational message. This is a profound lesson in fighting back and clinging to faith. The real winners in Texas high school football were not the kids from the biggest schools, or the ones wearing the most expensive uniforms. They were the scrawny kids from a tiny orphanage who wore scarred helmets and faded jerseys that did not match, kids coached by a devoted man who lived on peanuts and drove them around in a smoke-belching old truck.
In writing a story of unforgettable characters and great football, Jim Dent has come forward to reclaim his place as one of the top sports authors in America today.
A remarkable and inspirational story of an orphanage and the man who created one of the greatest football teams Texas has ever known . . . this is their story—the original Friday Night Lights.
"This just might be the best sports book ever written. Jim Dent has crafted a story that will go down as one of the most artistic, one of the most unforgettable, and one of the most inspirational ever. Twelve Mighty Orphans will challenge Hoosiers as the feel-good sports story of our lifetime. Naturally, being from Texas, I am biased. Hooray for the Mighty Mites.''
—Verne Lundquist, CBS Sports
"Coach Rusty Russell and the Mighty Mites will steal your heart as they overcome every obstacle imaginable to become a respected football team. Take an orphanage, the Depression, and mix it with Texas high school football, and Jim Dent has authored another winner, this one about the ultimate underdog.''
—Brent Musburger, ABC Sports/ESPN
"No state has a roll call of legendary high school football stories like we do in Texas, and, admittedly, some of those stories have been ‘expanded' over the years when it comes to the truth. But let Jim Dent tell you about the Mighty Mites of Masonic Home, the pride of Fort Worth in the dark days of the Depression. Read this book. You will think it's fiction. You will think it's a Hollywood script. But Twelve Mighty Orphans is the truth, and nothing but. It is powerful stuff. Some eighty years later, the Mighty Mites' story remains so sacred, not even a Texan would dare tamper with these facts. And Jim Dent tells it like it was."
— Randy Galloway, columnist, Fort-Worth Star Telegram
Monster of the Midway recounts Nagurski's unparalleled triumphs during the 1930s and '40s, when the Chicago Bears were the kings of professional football. From 1930, the Bronk's first year, through 1943, his last, the Bears won five NFL titles and played in four other NFL Championship Games. Focusing on Nagurski's 1943 comeback season, and how he miraculously led the Bears to their fourth NFL championship against the backdrop of World War II era Chicago, Jim Dent uncovers the riveting drama of Nagurski's playing days. His efforts were the stuff of legend, and his success in 1943 accomplished in spite of a battered frame, worn-out knees, multiple cracked ribs, and a broken bone in his lower back.
While chronicling the drama of the '43 championship chase, Dent also tells of both the Bears' colorful early years and Bronko's improbable rise to fame from the backwoods of northern Minnesota. Woven into the narrative are the sights and smells and sounds of one of the most romantic, flavorful eras of the twentieth century. And laced through it all are stories of legend: Bronko rubbing shoulders with colorful characters like George Halas, Red Grange, Sid Luckman, and Sammy Baugh; Bronko running into (and breaking) the brick wall at Wrigley Field; Bronko winning All-American spots for two positions; Bronko knocking scores of opponents unconscious; and Bronko reaching the heights of football glory and, with rare grace, turning his back on the game after winning his last championship.
Rich in unforgettable stories and scenes, this is Jim Dent's account of Bronko Nagurski-arguably the greatest football player who ever lived-and his teammates, the roughest, toughest, rowdiest group of players ever to don leather helmets, and the original Monsters of the Midway.
Jim Dent, the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of The Junction Boys, returns with a powerful Texas story which transcends college football, displaying the courage and determination of one of the game's most valiant players.
Freddie Steinmark was an under-sized but scrappy young man when he arrived in Austin as a freshman at the University of Texas in 1967. Despite the pronouncement by many coaches that he was too small to play football at the college level, Freddie was a tenacious competitor who vowed to start every game as a varsity Longhorn.
By the start of the 1969 season, Freddie was making his mark on the college gridiron and national stage as UT's star safety, but he'd also developed a crippling pain in his thigh that worried his high school sweetheart, Linda. Despite the increasingly debilitating pain, Freddie continued to play throughout the season, helping the Longhorns to rip through opponents like pulpwood. His final game was for the national championship at the end of 1969, when the Longhorns rallied to beat Arkansas in a legendary game that has become known as "the Game of the Century."
Tragically, bone cancer took Freddie off the field when nothing else could. But nothing could extinguish his irrepressible spirit or keep him away from the game. Although his struggle with cancer would be short-lived, Freddie's fight would inspire the nation as well as thousands of cancer victims, earning him a special citation from President Richard Nixon. Today, a photo of Freddie hangs in the tunnel at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, where players touch it before games en route to the field. With this moving story, a Brian's Song for college football, Jim Dent once again brings readers to cheers and tears with a truly American tale of resolution and bravery in the face of the worst odds.
Jim Dent takes the reader to the heart of Texas football with the incredible story of how two young men broke the chain of racism that had existed for more than half a century. In 1965, black and white players barely mixed in Texas. That summer, Jerry LeVias and Bill Bradley came together at the Big 33 game in Hershey, Pennsylvania. When no one else would room with LeVias, Bradley stepped forward. The two became the closest of friends and the best of teammates. LeVias called Bradley "my blue-eyed soul brother.'' Big-hearted, gregarious, and free-spirited, Bradley looked out for LeVias – one of three black players on the team.
The Texas team came to Hershey with a mandate to win. A year earlier, Texas had lost to the Pennsylvania all-stars 12-6 in the most significant defeat in the state's proud history. This was considered blasphemy in a place where football outranked religion. Texas coach Bobby Layne was mad-as-hell that he was forced to play with second stringers in '64. So he and assistant coach Doak Walker traveled to Austin and asked Texas governor John Connally to end the scheduling conflict with the in-state all-star game so he could suit up the best players. Layne also sought permission to recruit black players. After all, Texas was flush with black stars, some of whom would mature into the most notable players in the history of the National Football League.
Layne's scheme never would have worked without Bradley and LeVias. Together—and with Layne's indomitable will to win—the two led their team proudly to face down the competition at Hershey Stadium. The Kids Got It Right is a moving story, reminiscent of Remember The Titans. Jim Dent once again brings readers to cheers and tears with a truly American tale of leadership, brotherhood, and good-ol' Texas-style football.
In the 1960's, Notre Dame's football program was in shambles. Little did anyone know, help was on its way in the form of Ara Parseghian, a controversial choice for head coach—the first one outside of the Notre Dame "family." It was now his responsibility to rebuild the once-proud program and teach the Fighting Irish how to win again. But it was no small task.
The men of Notre Dame football were a bunch of unlikelies and oddballs, but Parseghian transformed them into a team: a senior quarterback who would win the Heisman Trophy; a five-foot-eight walk-on who would make first team All-American; an exceptionally rare black player, who would overcome much more than his quiet demeanor to rise to All-American, All-Pro, Hall of Famer, and to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Parseghian would change everything, from the uniforms and pads to the offensive strategy. It would be a huge gamble against great obstacles. But Ara Parseghian had that look in his eye....
New York Times bestselling author Jim Dent chronicles one of the greatest comeback seasons in the history of college football. Once again confirming his position as one of the top sports writers in the country, Dent brings the legends of Notre Dame football to life in an unforgettable story of second chances, determination, and unwavering spirit.
The first time I met Brody Easton was in the men’s locker room.
It was my first interview as a professional sportscaster.
The famed quarterback decided to bare all.
And by all, I don’t mean he told me any of his secrets.
No. The arrogant ass decided to drop his towel, just as I asked the first question. On camera.
The Super Bowl MVP quickly adopted a new hobby—screwing with me.
When I pushed back, he shifted from wanting to screw with me, to wanting to screw me.
But I don’t date players.
And it’s not because I’m one of the few women working in the world of professional football.
I’d date an athlete.
It’s the other kind of player I don’t date.
You know the type. Good looking, strong, cocky, always looking to get laid.
Brody Easton was the ultimate player.
Every woman wanted to be the one to change him.
But the truth was, all he needed was a girl worth changing for.
Turned out, I was that girl.
Let’s face it. It never is.
There’s a story between once upon a time and happily ever after…
And this one is ours.
Author's note - The Baller is a full-length standalone novel. Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18
Ray Lewis is undeniably one of the biggest names in football—not only for his seventeen years in the NFL, but also for the dramatic events that nearly brought his career to a halt in 2000. In his memoir, Lewis shares honest accounts of his difficult childhood and delves into the anguish and controversy that he found away from the game. But these heartbreaks gave him the courage to trust in God and continue his dream to play for the NFL and win the Super Bowl.
From a rookie player to a football veteran, Lewis has experienced everything imaginable during his football career, and has become one of the best defensive players in the history of the NFL. I Feel Like Going On is the story of his incredible journey, and a sincere look at the most popular sport in America from one of football’s most revered players.
Looking back on how he went from being a homeless child in Memphis to playing in the NFL, Michael talks about the goals he had to break out of the cycle of poverty, addiction, and hopelessness that trapped his family. Eventually he grasped onto football as his ticket out and worked hard to make his dream into a reality. With his adoptive family, the Touhys, and other influential people in mind, he describes the absolute necessity of seeking out positive role models and good friends who share the same values to achieve one's dreams. Sharing untold stories of heartache, determination, courage, and love, I Beat the Odds is an incredibly rousing tale of one young man's quest to achieve the American dream.
Fantasy football, fantasy baseball, fantasy basketball, even fantasy sumo wrestling: the world of fantasy sports is huge, and still growing. Today, more than 35 million people in the United States and Canada spend hours upon hours each week on their fantasy sports teams. And as the Senior Fantasy Sports Analyst for ESPN, Matthew Berry is on the front lines of what has grown from a niche subculture into a national pastime.
In his New York Times-bestselling Fantasy Life, Berry celebrates every aspect of the fantasy sports world. Brilliant trash talk. Unbelievable trophies. Insane draft day locations. Shake-your-head-in-disbelief punishments. Ingenious attempts at cheating. And surprisingly uplifting stories that remind us why we play these games in the first place.
Written with the same award-winning style that has made Berry one of the most popular columnists on ESPN.com, Fantasy Life is a book for both hard-core fantasy players and people who have never played before. Between tales of love and hate, birth and death, tattoos and furry animal costumes, the White House Situation Room and a 126-pound golden pelican, Matthew chronicles his journey from a fourteen-year-old fantasy player to the face of fantasy sports for the largest sports media company in the world.
Fantasy will save your life. Fantasy will set you free. And fantasy life is most definitely better than real life. You’ll see.
Sir Alex Ferguson's best-selling autobiography has now been updated to offer reflections on events at Manchester United since his retirement as well as his teachings at the Harvard Business School, a night at the Oscars and a boat tour round the Hebrides, where he passed unrecognised.
The extra material adds fresh insights and detail on his final years as United's manager.
Both the psychology of management and the detail of football strategy at the top level can be complex matters but no-one has explained them in a more interesting and accessible way for the general reader than Sir Alex does here.
MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY is revealing, endlessly entertaining and above all inspirational.
Coach Dungy still passionately believes that there is a different path to significance—a path characterized by attitudes, ambitions, and allegiances that are all too rare but uncommonly rewarding. In the New York Times best seller Uncommon, Dungy reveals secrets to achieving significance that he has learned from his remarkable parents, his athletic and coaching career, his mentors, and his walk with God.
"I know that I'll be evaluated in Seattle with wins and losses, as that is the nature of my profession for the last thirty-five years. But our record will not be what motivates me. Years ago I was asked, 'Pete, which is better: winning or competing?' My response was instantaneous: 'Competing. . . because it lasts longer.'"
Pete Carroll is one of the most successful coaches in football today. As the head coach at USC, he brought the Trojans back to national prominence, amassing a 97-19 record over nine seasons. Now he shares the championship-winning philosophy that led USC to seven straight Pac-10 titles. This same mind-set and culture will shape his program as he returns to the NFL to coach the Seattle Seahawks.
Carroll developed his unique coaching style by trial and error over his career. He learned that you get better results by teaching instead of screaming, and by helping players grow as people, not just on the field. He learned that an upbeat, energetic atmosphere in the locker room can coexist with an unstoppable competitive drive. He learned why you should stop worrying about your opponents, why you should always act as if the whole world is watching, and many other contrarian insights.
Carroll shows us how the Win Forever philosophy really works, both in NCAA Division I competition and in the NFL. He reveals how his recruiting strategies, training routines, and game-day rituals preserve a team's culture year after year, during championship seasons and disappointing seasons alike.
Win Forever is about more than winning football games; it's about maximizing your potential in every aspect of your life. Carroll has taught business leaders facing tough challenges. He has helped troubled kids on the streets of Los Angeles through his foundation A Better LA. His words are true in any situation: "If you want to win forever, always compete."
From the Hardcover edition.
NCAA football is big business. Every Saturday millions of people file into massive stadiums or tune in on television as "athlete-students" give everything they've got to make their team a success. Billions of dollars now flow into the game. But what is the true cost? The players have no share in the oceans of money. And once the lights go down, the glitter doesn't shine so brightly. Filled with mind-blowing details of major NCAA football scandals, with stops at Ohio State, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Missouri, BYU, LSU, Texas A&M and many more, The System explores and exposes the complex, and perhaps broken, machine that churns behind the glamour of college football.
With a New Afterword
When he was picked in the seventh-round of 1999 NFL draft, Donald Driver couldn’t find Green Bay on a map. He was given little chance of making the Packers roster, much less of amassing over 10,000 yards in his career and becoming a Super Bowl champion. But in an unlikely journey, Driver has overcome obstacle after obstacle to become one of the most successful players in the NFL.
Now, for the first time, Driver recalls his time growing up in Houston, spending nights living in a U-Haul trailer with his mother and stealing cars and selling drugs with his brother to get by. He recalls what it was like to walk into the locker room as a little-regarded prospect out of Alcorn State, an athlete who one year earlier thought his future was in high jump rather than football, and why he would have never made the team without the support of General Manager Ron Wolf.
With the help of his winning speed, skill, not to mention, smile, Driver became one of Brett Favre's most-trusted targets and a fan favorite at Lambeau. (Though it took some time for him to perfect his Lambeau leap.) Driven takes you inside the locker room with Favre, shares his experiences with Reggie White, and recalls his more recent role as a veteran leader for like Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings during their Super Bowl run in 2010. Over 14 years Driver has been through it all—game winning touchdowns, crushing playoff defeats, frightening injuries, and the glory of the Super Bowl.
Traveling off the field, Driver discuss his relationship with his wife and three children: how uncertain they were when he undertook the relentless training necessary to become a champion on the 2012 season of Dancing With the Stars, and how supportive they are of his charity work and service to God.
Driver retired on his terms after 14 years in the NFL: as a Packer for life. Driven is the definitive story of Donald Driver’s extraordinary journey.
From the Hardcover edition.
So concluded the National Football League in a December 2005 scientific paper on concussions in America’s most popular sport. That judgment, implausible even to a casual fan, also contradicted the opinion of a growing cadre of neuroscientists who worked in vain to convince the NFL that it was facing a deadly new scourge: A chronic brain disease that was driving an alarming number of players -- including some of the all-time greats -- to madness.
League of Denial reveals how the NFL, over a period of nearly two decades, sought to cover up and deny mounting evidence of the connection between football and brain damage.
Comprehensively, and for the first time, award-winning ESPN investigative reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru tell the story of a public health crisis that emerged from the playing fields of our 21st century pastime. Everyone knew that football is violent and dangerous. But what the players who built the NFL into a $10 billion industry didn’t know – and what the league sought to shield from them – is that no amount of padding could protect the human brain from the force generated by modern football; that the very essence of the game could be exposing these players to brain damage.
In a fast-paced narrative that moves between the NFL trenches, America’s research labs and the boardrooms where the NFL went to war against science, League of Denial examines how the league used its power and resources to attack independent scientists and elevate its own flawed research -- a campaign with echoes of Big Tobacco’s fight to deny the connection between smoking and lung cancer. It chronicles the tragic fates of players like Hall of Fame Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster, who was so disturbed at the time of his death he fantasized about shooting NFL executives; and former Chargers great Junior Seau, whose diseased brain became the target of an unseemly scientific battle between researchers and the NFL. Based on exclusive interviews, previously undisclosed documents and private emails, this is the story of what the NFL knew and when it knew it – questions at the heart of crisis that threatens football, from the highest levels all the way down to Pop Warner.
We start with the 2011 Champions League final at Wembley, the game that ended the debate about whether Barcelona were the greatest team in the world and began a new one: are they the best ever?
We are inside the winning dressing room and inside the mind of the team's coach, Pep Guardiola.
From there, the focus is on each of the iconic personalities of this team, telling its story through them, from their genesis in the late 1980s to their coronation in London: Guardiola; his mentor, Johan Cruyff; Xavi; Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi, perhaps the greatest footballer of all time.
Endzone tells the story of how college football's most successful, richest and respected program almost lost all three in less than a decade - and entirely of its own doing. It is a story of hubris, greed, and betrayal - a tale more suited to Wall Street than the world's top public university.
Author John U. Bacon takes you inside the offices, the board rooms and the locker rooms of the University of Michigan to see what happened, and why - with countless eye-opening, head-shaking scenes of conflict and conquest.
But Endzone is also an inspiring story of redemption and revival. When those who loved Michigan football the most recognized it was being attacked from within, they rallied to reclaim the values that made it great for over a century -- values that went deeper than dollars. The list of heroes includes players, students, lettermen, fans and faculty - and the leaders who had the courage to listen to them.
Their unprecedented uprising produced a new athletic director, and a new coach - the hottest in the land - who vindicated the fans' faith when he turned down more money and fame to return to the place he loved most: Michigan.
If you love a good story, you'll want to dive into Endzone: The Rise, Fall and Return of Michigan Football.
Three and Out tells the story of how college football's most influential coach took over the nation's most successful program, only to produce three of the worst seasons in the histories of both Rich Rodriguez and the University of Michigan. Shortly after his controversial move from West Virginia, where he had just taken his alma mater to the #1 ranking for the first time in school history, Coach Rich Rodriguez granted author and journalist John U. Bacon unrestricted access to Michigan's program. Bacon saw it all, from the meals and the meetings, to the practices and the games, to the sidelines and the locker rooms. Nothing and no one was off limits. John U. Bacon's Three and Out is the definitive account of a football marriage seemingly made in heaven that broke up after just three years, and lifts the lid on the best and the worst of college football.
Now a major motion picture starring Will Smith
Jeanne Marie Laskas first met the young forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu in 2009, while reporting a story for GQ that would go on to inspire the movie Concussion. Omalu told her about a day in September 2002, when, in a dingy morgue in downtown Pittsburgh, he picked up a scalpel and made a discovery that would rattle America in ways he’d never intended. Omalu was new to America, chasing the dream, a deeply spiritual man escaping the wounds of civil war in Nigeria. The body on the slab in front of him belonged to a fifty-year-old named Mike Webster, aka “Iron Mike,” a Hall of Fame center for the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the greatest ever to play the game. After retiring in 1990, Webster had suffered a dizzyingly steep decline. Toward the end of his life, he was living out of his van, tasering himself to relieve his chronic pain, and fixing his rotting teeth with Super Glue. How did this happen?, Omalu asked himself. How did a young man like Mike Webster end up like this? The search for answers would change Omalu’s life forever and put him in the crosshairs of one of the most powerful corporations in America: the National Football League. What Omalu discovered in Webster’s brain—proof that Iron Mike’s mental deterioration was no accident but a disease caused by blows to the head that could affect everyone playing the game—was the one truth the NFL wanted to ignore.
Taut, gripping, and gorgeously told, Concussion is the stirring story of one unlikely man’s decision to stand up to a multibillion-dollar colossus, and to tell the world the truth.
Praise for Concussion
“A gripping medical mystery and a dazzling portrait of the young scientist no one wanted to listen to . . . a fabulous, essential read.”—Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
“The story of Dr. Bennet Omalu’s battle against the NFL is classic David and Goliath stuff, and Jeanne Marie Laskas—one of my favorite writers on earth—makes it as exciting as any great courtroom or gridiron drama. A riveting, powerful human tale—and a master class on how to tell a story.”—Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit
“Bennet Omalu forced football to reckon with head trauma. The NFL doesn’t want you to hear his story, but Jeanne Marie Laskas makes it unforgettable. This book is gripping, eye-opening, and full of heart.”—Emily Bazelon, author of Sticks and Stones
In BO'S LASTING LESSONS, the coach draws on his years of experience, using first-person anecdotes to deliver timeless lessons on leadership, motivation and responsibility. His distinctive gruff voice leaps from the page.
With pithy language, Bo explains that true leadership requires the compassion to actively listen to your people, and then to have the courage to do what is right every time.
A big believer in peer pressure and in always making his players accountable for their actions, Schembechler has coached athletes who went on to become professional football players, doctors, lawyers and CEOs.
In Gunslinger, Jeff Pearlman tells Brett Favre’s story for the first time, charting his unparalleled journey from a rough rural childhood and lackluster high school football career to landing the last scholarship at Southern Mississippi, to a car accident that nearly took his life, and eventually to the NFL and Green Bay, where he restored the Packers to greatness and inspired a fan base as passionate as any in the game. Yet he struggled with demons: addiction, infidelity, the loss of his father, and a fraught, painfully prolonged exit from the game he loved, a game he couldn’t bear to leave.
Gritty and revelatory, Gunslinger is a big sports biography of the highest order, a fascinating portrait of the man with the rocket arm whose life has been one of triumph, fame, tragedy, embarrassment, and—ultimately—redemption.
“The compelling, complete story of his legend, and his faults.”—Chicago Tribune
At five feet ten inches tall, running back Walter Peyton was not the largest player in the NFL, but he developed a larger-than-life reputation for his strength, speed, and grit. Nicknamed "Sweetness" during his college football days, he became the NFL's all-time leader in rushing and all-purpose yards, capturing the hearts of fans in his adopted Chicago.
Crafted from interviews with more than 700 sources, acclaimed sportswriter Jeff Pearlman has produced the first definitive biography of Payton. Sweetness at last brings fans a detailed, scrupulously researched, all-encompassing account of the legend's rise to greatness. From Payton's childhood in segregated Mississippi, where he ended a racial war by becoming the star of his integrated high school's football team, to his college years and his twelve-year NFL career, Sweetness brims with stories of all-American heroism, and covers Payton's life off the field as well. Set against the backdrop of the tragic illness that cut his life short at just forty- six years of age, this is a stirring tribute to a singular icon and the lasting legacy he made.
Few people in the history of college sports have been more influential or had a bigger impact than Lou Holtz. Winner of the three national Coach of the Year honors, the only coach ever to lead six different schools to season-ending bowl games, and the ninth-winningest coach in college football history, Holtz is still teaching and coaching, although he is no longer on the gridiron.
In his most telling work to date, the man still known as "Coach" by all who cross his path reveals what motivated a rail-thin 135-pound kid with marginal academic credentials and a pronounced speech impediment to play and coach college football, and to become one of the most sought-after motivational speakers in history. With unflinching honesty and his trademark dry wit, Holtz goes deep, giving us the intimate details of the people who shaped his life and the decisions he would make that shaped the lives of so many others.
His is a storied career, and Holtz provides a frank and inside look at the challenges he overcame to turn around the programs at William and Mary, North Carolina State, Arkansas, and Minnesota. From growing up in East Liverpool, Ohio, to his early days as a graduate assistant at the University of Iowa, to his national championship runs at Notre Dame and his final seasons on the sidelines in South Carolina, Lou Holtz gives his best, a poignant, funny, and instructive look into a life well lived.
Woodlawn is soon to be a major motion picture starring Jon Voight, Nic Bishop, and C. Thomas Howell.
In the midst of violent, impassioned racial tensions in Birmingham, Alabama, new football coach, Tandy Gerelds, was struggling to create a winning football team at Woodlawn High School—one of the last schools in Birmingham to integrate. The team he was handed did not have the caliber of players he needed to win—until he saw Tony Nathan run.
But Tony was African American and Coach Gerelds knew that putting him in as running back would be like drawing a target on his own back and the back of his soon-to-be star player. But Coach Gerelds saw something in Tony, and he knew that his decision to let him play was about more than football. It was about doing what was right for the school…and the city.
And soon, the only place in the city where blacks and whites got along was on Coach Gerelds’s football team. With the help of a new school chaplain, Tony learned to look beyond himself and realized that there was more at stake than winning a game.
In 1974, Coach Gerelds’s interracial team made Alabama history drawing 42,000 fans into the stadium to watch them play. It was this game that triggered the unity and support of the Woodlawn High School Colonels and that finally allowed a city to heal and taught its citizens how to love.
If you've ever wanted to know the difference between a touchdown and a touchback, or how a running back's role differs from a linebacker's, this handy guide gets you up-to-speed in no time.
Football Rules & Positions In A Day For Dummies gives you a focused guide to the rules, regulations, and player roles of one of the most popular American sports.The essential information you need to understand and enjoy America's greatest game Expert coverage of the game's rules and regulations Helpful breakdowns of football positions and their roles in offense, defense, and special teams Online component takes you beyond the book with bonus content and features
Get set to impress your friends with your newfound knowledge in no time!
Victor Cruz, the Super Bowl-winning and record-breaking wide receiver, is best known for his explosive plays and salsa touchdown celebrations. While his meteoric rise in the NFL looked like the result of a magical year, it was actually a lifetime in the making.
Raised in Paterson, New Jersey’s gritty Fourth Ward, Cruz overcame numerous setbacks through hard work, perseverance, and the support of his loving family—from his grandmother who gave him his signature dance moves; to his late father, a former firefighter, who introduced him to football and taught him how to play; to his hard-working, single mother who never let him give up in the face of a challenge. They all helped to keep him on the right path, as did his coaches, but Cruz’s journey was never easy. There were family tragedies, academic struggles, injuries, and more. In this inspiring, never-before-seen account, Cruz pays tribute to the people and places that made him the man he is today, recounts his most defining moments, and illustrates how his hardships ultimately unleashed his impenetrable will to win.
Out of the Blue is a candid and moving reflection of an overlooked and undersized athlete with an uncommon last name in American football that was determined to beat the odds and earn his chance to succeed.
With unprecedented access granted by Belichick and his staff, author Michael Holley spent two years with the coach, his team, and his brain trust. Holley provides insights into how Belichick and his coaching cabinet prepare for opponents, evaluate talent, run the draft, and design their offensive and defensive schemes. Patriot Reign captures Belichick at his most candid, and what emerges is a portrait of a complicated man who is cerebral, yes, but also tough, demanding, stubborn, funny, profane, and a master strategist.
Frank, uncompromising, and stunning, Patriot Reign is required reading for football fans who want to understand what makes a champion tick.
Other features: Each chapter closes with a practical application section, where readers will be “coached” on how they can apply the lessons imparted throughout the book to their own lives, via the establishment of measurable goals. Provides a rare inside glimpse into the mind of one of the most respected coaches in college football history and into the huddle of one of the most successful football programs of all time. Filled with hundreds of inspirational stories, quotes and anecdotes.
From Acclaimed sports journalist Gary Myers comes the definitive inside account of the greatest rivalry in NFL history
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are perhaps the two greatest quarterbacks of all time. They are living legends who have come to embody the quarterback position and shape an entire generation of the NFL. They have also been fierce rivals every step of the way, and their many epic duels have not only ranked among the best and most exciting games ever played, they have fundamentally shaped the lives of and careers of both men.
But for all their shared brilliance, they are a study in contrasts. Tom is the underdog turned ultimate winner, an unheralded draft pick who went on to win a miraculous Super Bowl and become the leader of one of the NFL’s greatest dynasties. He is as firmly associated with big game brilliance as anyone who has ever played. Meanwhile Peyton was born into NFL royalty and a mountain of outsized expectations, yet somehow lived up to and exceeded all the hype, claiming virtually every passing record along his path to football immortality.
The contrast in greatness—between the overachieving underdog and the crown prince of football, between postseason brilliance and statistical dominance—has served as an endless source of fascination for fans and media, and over the years as the two players have faced off again and again in classic games, the argument has only intensified.
But until now, there has never been a definitive treatment of the debate that tells the real story.
What do Tom and Peyton actually think of each other? What do their coaches think of them? What about teammates and opposing players? What are they like behind closed doors and in the locker room, and how does that influence their careers? How did their vastly different upbringings shape them, and how has each handled the injuries, setbacks and defeats they’ve dealt with over their careers?
In this extraordinary book, veteran NFL correspondent Gary Myers tackles this subject from every angle and with unprecedented access and insight, drawing on a huge number of never-before-heard interviews with Brady and Manning, their coaches, their families, and those who have played with them and against them. The result is a remarkable collection of the most entertaining and revealing stories ever told about Peyton and Tom, from how they developed their vastly different leadership styles, to the unlikely friendship they’ve built over the years, to their respective exploits as locker room pranksters.
Wildly entertaining and deeply thought-provoking, Brady vs Manning is essential reading for anyone who truly wants to understand these extraordinary players.
From the Hardcover edition.
“I thought you and I were on the same page.”
“And what page is that?”
“That I want to be with you forever.”
Turns out forever didn’t last as long as Aileen thought it would. While she’s busy picking up the pieces of her broken heart, she throws her focus back into the one thing that has always been constant – track.
Tyler’s eligibility for NCAA track is over. He’s now focussed on professional football. He opts to finish the rest of his courses online and move to Foxborough, Mass and being his preseason training. He’s running away and he knows it. However, running’s better than being forced to see Aileen and knowing he’d begged her to come with him and she turned him down. It hurts too much.
What do you do when life gets in the way of love?
How do you let go of a heart that can’t stop loving?
University of Gatica Series:
The Recruiting Trip
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First came the bestselling book, then the Oscar-nominated movie—the story of Michael Oher and the family who adopted him has become one of the most talked-about true stories of our time. But until now, Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy have never told this astonishing tale in their own way and with their own words.
For Leigh Anne and Sean, it all begins with family. Leigh Anne, the daughter of a tough-as-nails U.S. Marshal, decided early on that her mission was to raise children who would become "cheerful givers." Sean, who grew up poor, believed that one day he could provide a home that would be "a place of miracles." Together, they raised two remarkable children—Collins and Sean Jr.—who shared their deep Christian faith and their commitment to making a difference. And then one day Leigh Anne met a homeless African-American boy named Michael and decided that her family could be his. She and her husband taught Michael what this book teaches all of us: Everyone has a blind side, but a loving heart always sees a path toward true charity.
Michael Oher's improbable transformation could never have happened if Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy had not opened their hearts to him. In this compelling, funny, and profoundly inspiring book, In a Heartbeat, the Tuohys take us on an extraordinary journey of faith and love—and teach us unforgettable lessons about the power of giving.
Aaron Fisher was an eager and spirited eleven-year-old when legendary Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky recruited him into his Second Mile children’s charity. Offering support at a critical time in Aaron’s life, Sandusky gave him gifts and attention, winning the boy’s trust even as he isolated him from his family and peers. Before long, Sandusky’s attention escalated into sexual assault. When Aaron summoned the courage to speak up, he found himself ostracized and harassed by the very people who were supposed to protect him. The investigation set off by his coming forward would drag on for three years—and would launch the biggest scandal in the history of sports.
In Silent No More, Aaron Fisher recounts his harrowing quest to bring Sandusky’s crimes to light—from the intense feelings of guilt that kept him from speaking up earlier and the fear he felt at accusing a man who was a pillar of the community and a hero to the largest alumni network in the world, to the infuriating delays in the arrest and conviction of his abuser. He catalogs the devastating personal toll the case took on him: the shattered relationships, panic attacks, and betrayal of trust that continued to haunt him even after the charges went public in the fall of 2011. But he also speaks of his mother’s desperate efforts to get him out of harm’s way, the invaluable help of psychologist Michael Gillum, and the vindication he felt at inspiring numerous other victims to step forward . . . and at knowing that, thanks to him, there would be no future victims of Jerry Sandusky.
In the end, Aaron Fisher won his fight to expose the truth, achieving some measure of closure. Told in the honest and unforgettable voices of Aaron; his mother, Dawn; and his psychologist, Mike, this inspiring book completes Aaron’s transformation from a nameless casualty into a resounding voice for change.
With unmatched access to players, fellow coaches, executives, the reporters who covered the Niners’ heyday, and Walsh himself, Harris recounts how Walsh, through tactical and organizational genius, created a football juggernaut. There were also the demons that pushed and haunted Walsh throughout his career: his clash with his former mentor, Paul Brown, who denied Walsh his first pro head-coaching job with the Cincinnati Bengals; Walsh’s struggle with self-doubt and criticism; the toll his single-minded devotion to football exacted on his family; and his complex relationship with the Forty Niners’ owner, Edward DeBartolo, Jr.
Walsh’s pre-Niners coaching odyssey was arduous–a longtime assistant coach, he developed his legendary and now-standard pass-oriented West Coast offense during stops at all levels of the game. Despite never having run a team’s draft before, Walsh, along with his right-hand man John McVay, quickly built the foundation for a dynasty by drafting or trading for a durable core of stars, including Joe Montana, Fred Dean, Hacksaw Reynolds, Dwight Clark, and Ronnie Lott. (Walsh would later restock the team with such players as Jerry Rice, Steve Young, and Charles Haley.) The key to Walsh’s genius perhaps lay in his keen understanding of his athletes’ psyches–he knew what brought out the best in each of them. But the scope of Walsh’s impact on the game extended well beyond the field and locker room. The Forty Niners’ life-skills counseling program, which Walsh spearheaded with the sports sociologist and activist Dr. Harry Edwards, and the internship program Walsh devised to bring minority coaches into the game have since been adopted by the NFL for all league franchises.
In the annals of sport, few individuals have had as great an impact on their game–or on its relevance to life outside the lines–as Bill Walsh. With knowledge, skill, passion, and a critical eye, David Harris reveals the brilliant man behind the coaching legend.
The vision Bill Walsh brought to all his pioneering efforts was a function of his perception of himself as someone who was far more than a football coach. He cherished his standing and participation in the larger world outside the NFL and nurtured them at every opportunity.
“Knowing Bill Walsh was kind of like the blind man describing an elephant,” one of the sportswriters who covered him observed. “We all knew just one little piece of him. But he had all these other areas we knew nothing about. He dealt with lots of people outside of football, outside of our scope entirely. He was able to deal with politicians, people who were intellects in other areas. They were impressed by him.”
–from The Genius
From the Hardcover edition.
“A penetrating examination of how the elite college football programs have become ‘giant entertainment businesses that happened to do a little education on the side.’”—Mark Kram, The New York Times
Two-time Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Gilbert M. Gaul offers a riveting and sometimes shocking look inside the money culture of college football and how it has come to dominate a surprising number of colleges and universities.
Over the past decade college football has not only doubled in size, but its elite programs have become a $2.5-billion-a-year entertainment business, with lavishly paid coaches, lucrative television deals, and corporate sponsors eager to slap their logos on everything from scoreboards to footballs and uniforms. Profit margins among the top football schools range from 60% to 75%—results that dwarf those of such high-profile companies as Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft—yet thanks to the support of their football-mad representatives in Congress, teams aren’t required to pay taxes. In most cases, those windfalls are not passed on to the universities themselves, but flow directly back into their athletic departments.
College presidents have been unwilling or powerless to stop a system that has spawned a wildly profligate infrastructure of coaches, trainers, marketing gurus, and a growing cadre of bureaucrats whose sole purpose is to ensure that players remain academically eligible to play. From the University of Oregon’s lavish $42 million academic center for athletes to Alabama coach Nick Saban’s $7 million paycheck—ten times what the school pays its president, and 70 times what a full-time professor there earns—Gaul examines in depth the extraordinary financial model that supports college football and the effect it has had not only on other athletic programs but on academic ones as well.
What are the consequences when college football coaches are the highest paid public employees in over half the states in an economically troubled country, or when football players at some schools receive ten times the amount of scholarship awards that academically gifted students do? Billion-Dollar Ball considers these and many other issues in a compelling account of how an astonishingly wealthy sports franchise has begun to reframe campus values and distort the fundamental academic mission of our universities.
From the Hardcover edition.
As the head coach of the University of Alabama’s football team, Nick Saban is perhaps the most influential—and polarizing—man in the sport. His program-building vision has delivered packed stadiums, rabid fans, legions of detractors, countless NFL draft picks, and a total of four national championships, including three in the last five years. He is the only coach in the college football’s modern era (since 1936) to win national championships at two different schools. Monte Burke’s Saban—the first major biography of the man who has come to epitomize the game—presents this towering figure with a never-before-seen human depth.
Though a great deal is known about Nick Saban the coach, not much is known about Nick Saban the man. Little is written about his early climb through the coaching ranks as an assistant in college and in the NFL, or his head-coaching stints at Michigan State and Louisiana State and his struggles as a pro coach with the Miami Dolphins. Through unprecedented interviews with more than 250 friends, coworkers, rivals, former players, and others, Burke reveals the defining moments of the coach’s life, including the beginning of his recruiting career at age ten; his dramatic departures from three different high-profile football teams; and the building of championship programs at Louisiana State and Alabama.
In Saban, “Burke has written a winning, definitive portrait of a fascinating character…. A no-holds-barred glimpse into the quest for perfection” (Publishers Weekly).
In this book, Bowden will reveal never-before-published details of the moments and events that have defined his life, including:
* The tragic death of his grandson and son-in-law in a 2004 automobile accident.
* The details of his retirement as FSU's coach at the end of the 2009 season.
“An inspiring story of a resilient warrior who knows what it means to keep a promise. “ —Eric Greitens, Navy SEAL and best-selling author of The Heart and the Fist
Daniel Rodriguez joined the army just weeks after graduating from high school. Almost immediately, he was deployed to Iraq and then to Afghanistan. While there, he made a promise to his best friend: “When I get out of this shithole, I’m going to play college football.” Daniel made it out; his friend didn’t.
After returning home, Daniel was unemployed and stuck in the clutches of PTSD, but he remembered the promise he had made and resolved to make good on it. When he posted a video online of his grueling training efforts, it went viral overnight. Through a mixture of hope, determination, and the power of the Internet, Daniel earned a spot on the Clemson University football team as a wide receiver. In Rise, Rodriguez tells his powerful story—a story that will inspire anyone fighting to make their dream a reality.
“A compelling story of one man’s quest to overcome the horrors of war through fortitude and determination . . . If you’re seeking a book to inspire you, this one deserves a look.” —San Antonio Express News
“Life is designed to beat you down. Daniel shows you how to kick its ass.” —Major Rusty Bradley, U.S. Army (ret.), best-selling author of Lions of Kandahar
Suárez was lured from Ajax to Merseyside by another iconic number 7, Kenny Dalglish. From that moment, he terrorised Premier League defences, driving a resurgent Liverpool towards their most exciting top-flight season in 24 years.
But there is another side to Luis Suárez: the naturally fiery temperament which drives his competitiveness on the pitch. There was the very public incident with Patrice Evra of bitter rivals Manchester United, and the biting of Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.
Then during the World Cup finals in Brazil, in a physical encounter against Italy, he bit defender Giorgi Chiellini on the shoulder. Banned from football for four months, derided by the press, he was marched out of the country.
In the summer's final twist, he became one of the most expensive footballers of all time, moving from Liverpool to Barcelona. In his first season at the Nou Camp he helped Barca to La Liga and Copa del Rey titles, scoring 16 goals in 27 games.
In Crossing the Line, Luis Suárez talks from the heart about his intriguing career, his personal journey from scrapping street kid to performer on football's biggest stage, and the never-say-die attitude that sometimes causes him to overstep the mark.
"This book is gold.”—Peter King
“Intense.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Steve Young is a hero of mine, and his story is a source of inspiration for me. His perseverance, intelligence, and, most of all, grace under pressure NFL-style, make this book a fascinating read. Thanks, Steve, for sharing your story with one of your biggest fans!”—Tom Brady
“Steve was extraordinary in every facet of life. I’ve never read a football book with more honesty and integrity—it’s typical Steve. What a quarterback! What a man!” —Jim Nantz, CBS Sports
“All football fans know what a tremendously talented and successful quarterback Steve Young was in his NFL career. But what they don’t know about are the challenges and personal obstacles Steve had to overcome to make his dreams come true. This is a most exciting and compelling story.”—Roger Staubach
A stunningly candid look at what it takes to become a super-elite professional quarterback
Steve Young produced some of the most memorable moments in NFL history. But his most impressive victories have been deeply personal ones that were won when no one was watching. His remarkably revealing memoir is the story of a Mormon boy with a 4.0 GPA, a photographic memory, and a severe case of separation anxiety.
As an eighth-string quarterback at Brigham Young University, it was doubtful that he would ever see any playing time. But Young became an All-American, finished second in the Heisman voting, and was the top draft choice out of college. Then, after signing the largest contract in sports history, anxiety nearly drove him to walk away from football completely.
In short, Young’s quest in life was always about grit. Now, he shares the experience of being inside his helmet while he faces down his toughest adversaries, both on and off the field.
In the life of every sports fan, there comes a moment of reckoning. It may happen when your team wins on a last-second field goal and you suddenly find yourself clenched in a loving embrace with a large hairy man you’ve never met. . . . Or in the long, hormonally depleted days after a loss, when you’re felled by a sensation similar to the one you first experienced following the death of a pet. At such moments the fan is forced to confront the question others—spouses, friends, children, and colleagues—have asked for years:
Why do I care?
What is it about sports that turns otherwise sane, rational people into raving lunatics? Why does winning compel people to tear down goalposts, and losing, to drown themselves in bad keg beer? In short, why do fans care?
In search of the answers to these questions, Warren St. John seeks out the roving community of RVers who follow the Alabama Crimson Tide from game to game across the South. A movable feast of Weber grills, Igloo coolers, and die-hard superstition, these are characters who arrive on Wednesday for Saturday’s game: Freeman and Betty Reese, who skipped their own daughter’s wedding because it coincided with a Bama game; Ray Pradat, the Episcopalian minister who watches the games on a television set beside his altar while performing weddings; John Ed (pronounced as three syllables, John Ay-ud), the wheeling and dealing ticket scalper whose access to good seats gives him power on par with the governor; and Paul Finebaum, the Anti-Fan, a wisecracking sports columnist and talk-radio host who makes his living mocking Alabama fans—and who has to live in a gated community for all the threats he receives in response.
In no time at all, St. John himself is drawn into the world of full-immersion fandom: he buys an RV (a $5,500 beater called The Hawg) and joins the caravan for a football season, chronicling the world of the extreme fan and learning that
in the shadow of the stadium, it can all begin to seem strangely normal.
Along the way, St. John takes readers on illuminating forays into the deep roots of humanity’s sports mania (did you know that tailgaters could be found in eighth-century Greece?), the psychology of crowds, and the surprising neuroscience behind the thrill of victory.
Reminiscent of Confederates in the Attic and the works of Bill Bryson, Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer is not only a travel story, but a cultural anthropology of fans that goes a long way toward demystifying the universal urge to take sides and to win.
–plaque honoring Ernie Davis, in the lobby of Elmira Free Academy
Ernie Davis was an All-American on the gridiron, and a man of integrity off the field. A multi-sport high school star in Elmira, New York, Davis went on to Syracuse University, where as a sophomore he led his team to an undefeated season and a national championship in 1959, and earned his nickname, the Elmira Express. Two seasons later, Davis had broken the legendary Jim Brown’s rushing records, and became the first black athlete to be awarded the Heisman Trophy.
The number one pick in the 1962 NFL draft, Davis signed a contract with the Cleveland Browns and appeared to be headed for professional stardom. But Davis never ended up playing in the NFL: He was diagnosed with leukemia during the summer before his rookie season and succumbed to the disease less than a year later. In battling his illness, Davis showed great dignity and courage, inspired the nation, and moved President John F. Kennedy to eulogize him as “ an outstanding man of great character.”
An enduring story of a true scholar-athlete, The Express is a touching, impeccably researched, deeply personal portrait of Ernie Davis, and a vivid look at sport in America at the dawn of the Civil Rights era.
From the Trade Paperback edition.