The first three weeks of this year, I had a brief, superficial but more intimate-than-usual glimpse into the hiring process and practices of the National Football League. I came to the conclusion that the owners were spineless, two-faced slugs; the head coaches back-stabbing; the players self-absorbed and self-centered; and the fans thought they knew the game better than the entire NFL organization.
According to Michael MacCambridge, I’m right! His meticulously researched book, America’s Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured a Nation is a close look at the history of football from the end of WWII to the present. Like Anya Seton, another author that uses exhaustive research for her stories, MacCambridge starts slow, almost painstaking, in the first two-thirds of the book, stating facts and figures and events in a somewhat chronological order up to ca 1970, about 25 years. He tends to backtrack, spring forward, and then backtrack again within chapters. The pace picks up considerably toward the end of the book, covering more than 30 years in the last one-third.
I understand the need to build a basis for the book, but it seems as though MacCambridge skipped over important football events and information of the post-1970 era. Of all the great accomplishments of coaches, Tom Landry is only mentioned a handful of times. But he fared better than other greats like Mike Ditka, who’s name appears once only as a possessive; or Bill Cowher, mentioned twice in the context of an unwritten rule to not sleep at the office. Instead, MacCambridge favors numerous quotes from less-great coaches like Brian Billick.
Deion Sanders (introduced as ushering in a new era of the NFL, which is the self-absorbed, self-centered player era) garnered almost as much print as Roger Staubach, which is very irksome to me. Staubach has always been one of my heroes, on and off the field. Neon Deion will NEVER be the legend or the man Staubach is.
America’s Game isn’t written for the casual football fan. MacCambridge assumes the reader has much more than a basic education of the sport. I am not one of those readers, and am not familiar with terms such as: “down-and-in pass”, “1-2 passing attack”, “shallow drag routes”, or he hit the receiver “on an out pattern”.
I do not have the name of every owner, head coach, and general manage แทงบอลออนไลน์r memorized. MacCambridge’s tendency to return to a person, identified only by last name pages after last addressing them, made re-reading necessary and enjoying the book harder. Who’s Thomas (p. 351)? I had to refer to the index to find a person mentioned on the last page to find the last reference to him