Day three of our February blogapolooza brings us to Super Bowl Sunday. So in honor of the big game I figured I would hit the archives for some books on football. This helps in two ways: 1) it might give you some reading during the off-season and 2) you get to read a blog post you might have missed [3) I will have posted today]. Not surprisingly they deal mostly with my favorite teams: The University of Michigan Wolverines and the Pittsburgh Steelers (neither of which exactly covered themselves in glory this season). But I think the books would be enjoyable for any fan of the game.
Lloyd Carr retired at the end of the 2007 season and Michigan eventually hired West Virginia’s Rich Rodriguez. In one of those quirks of fate, a former student of Bacon’s worked for Rodriguez’s financial adviser. This connection led to the idea of Bacon’s writing a couple of articles about the spread offense coming to Michigan, and then maybe collaborating on a book.
It is the height of understatement to say things did not work out as planned.
For most Michigan fans (myself included), that makes this book particularly painful. It is like watching a replay of your car accident in slow motion, on repeat. You know both the ultimate end result and the final score of every painful game and yet you force yourself to read the excruciating details as you relive the nightmare.
But if you are simply a fan of college football, or interested in big-time college athletics more generally, it is a fascinating read. Ohio State fans might find it entertaining and strangely cathartic.
This is one of those books where the whole almost seems more than the parts. Not every section works, and all the threads are not neatly wrapped up by the end, but the stories along the way are so interesting that you don’t mind.
In the end what you get is a snapshot history of the NFL in the 1970s through the lens of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys with the labor movement of the steel mills as a background. For Steeler fans I think this is a must read – although those with a strong knowledge of the team in the 70s might already be aware of much of the history.
Anyone interested in the NFL or sports history, however, would find this a fascinating read.