The Dark Side of the Game: My Life in the NFL


In this book, 8-year veteran of the NFL Tim Green reveals for the first time the scandals, the horrors, the abuses and also the wonders of playing football.

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In this book, 8-year veteran of the NFL Tim Green reveals for the first time the scandals, the horrors, the abuses and also the wonders of playing football.

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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post
NFL people would be wise to read this book.
St. Petersburg Times
Pro football has finally found a competant, literate voice.
Buffalo News
Enlightening, intelligent, serious, honest...always interesting and frequently fascinating.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A former player for the Atlanta Falcons and now a TV broadcaster on the Fox network, Green (Titans) has an enduring love for football, but that does not prevent his seeing the unlovelier aspects of the sport. Chief among them are the physical tolls the game exacts: every player, he stresses, suffers discomfort in every game of every season. The injuries are usually temporary but are sometimes permanently disabling, including concussions (Green had 12 during his career). There are the hardships of training camps and exhibition games, which sap athletes' energies even before the regular season starts, violent players and team doctors who urge even wounded players to stay on the field. Enemies may be teammates, since offensive and defensive units each have special bonds. Other obstacles include performance drugs, artificial turf, rowdy fans and the media, resented because reporters have never played pro football and, in Green's view, don't know what they are writing about. The author also provides insights into good and bad venues, superstitions, agents and the realities of play: "If you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'." Eye-opening for grid fans. Available as a Time Warner AudioBook. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Green, an author (Titans, LJ 10/15/94), former pro football player, and color commentator for Fox's football broadcasts, here exposes the NFL's worst secrets regarding steroid use, gambling, and racism.
Kirkus Reviews
Ex-jock and TV commentator and novelist (Titans, 1994, etc.) Green offers a mostly cautious and apologetic look at the behind- the-scenes world of pro football.

Green offers many stories about a whole raft of ills plaguing the sport he loves—such as AIDS, drugs, and violence. But rather than study the problems in a detailed manner and propose solutions shaped by his unique vantage point, he dismisses many kinds of indiscretions by players, coaches, reporters (and even referees) as mere examples of "boys being boys." He admits that, yes, as a result of football's ever-present physical pounding and psychological pressure, even he used and misused painkilling drugs and sleep aids—"but nowhere to the point of abuse." Other examples of pulled punches include a mash piece to the widely disliked coach Jerry Glanville. He admits that individual and institutional racism still exist in the NFL; he insists that groupies aren't as common as we believe them to be (and, besides, he asks, what kind of guy would want to go out with a groupie, anyway?). Green is more persuasive in describing the day-to-day toll the game exacted from his body, although his description waffles between the pedantic and the folksy. But when he chooses a safe target (as, for instance, the league's arcane and silly uniform policy), Green really lets loose, and the results are truly amusing.

Green the football raconteur is tempted to bite the hand that fed him—but Green the television sports commentator doesn't seem to want to draw blood.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446605205
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 11/28/1997
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Green
Tim Green

Tim Green has written twelve previous thrillers and the nonfiction New York Times bestseller The Dark Side of the Game. He played eight years in the NFL and is a member of the New York State Bar. Today he is a featured commentator on NPR and Fox Sports. He lives with his wife and five children in upstate New York. For more information about the author, visit his website

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2001

    The View from the Broadcasting Booth by an Ex-NFLer

    Tim Green was an unusual defensive end for the Atlanta Falcons. He read books in the locker room and during team meetings. He went to law school in his spare time. He had a hard time gaining weight and keeping it on. He left the game with his body and his brain relatively unscrambled (despite many concussions and stingers), and took up a new career as a broadcaster for Fox. His book is a series of mini-essays on everything you always wanted to know about pro football, but never wanted to experience. It is a gripping tale of pain, broken bodies, shattered lives, and electric moments that will remain with you for the rest of your life. I would have graded the book higher, but he did seem to skirt some of the obvious problems that professional football players experience such as groupies and deliberate attempt to maim. On the other hand, I found the book more revealing and better balanced than the 'hero' biographies and the 'broken life' tales that pro players usually produce. It is the most enjoyable book I have read by a retired NFLer. If Mr. Green had also been retired from broadcasting when he wrote this, he probably could have been more candid. Perhaps an updated version will appear in the future. For those who are interested in Deion Sanders, the book has a very interesting portrait of the man which will add to your appreciation of his remarkable career and his character. Many of the most valuable parts of the book describe all of the things that teams do that create failure. Correctly, Mr. Green pinpoints the ultimate cause of these problems as being the owner. You have to have a coach and a general manager who want to have the same style of play. Only the owner can ensure that will happen. Two things were very new to me. First, the players find the game far more exciting than I would have ever imagined. Some of the descriptions are very vivid. Going into the stadium during the introductions is apparently way beyond an adrenaline rush. It is a feeling that most of us will never experience in our lives. Second, I was surprised by how much pain permeates the lives of the players. There's even a section encouraging you not to squeeze a player's or ex-player's hand hard in a handshake, because of the on-going pain they have from hand injuries. On television, the players all seem to unaffected by pain. That's apparently an act. In reality, they wallow in pain. Because the book is broken up into different topics, you can skip to the subjects that interest you. But check out some that don't sound very interesting as well. Mr. Green has many valuable things to say. He is both intelligent and articulate. He also cares about improving the game. If you have sons, read the section about whether or not you should encourage them to play football. I don't buy his argument, however, that soccer causes more injuries than football. My experience as a soccer coach was just the opposite with the children and teenagers I knew. He obviously sympathizes with the players, which most fans do also. But he praises the praiseworthy wherever he finds them, and attacks many of the villains. After you read this book, I suggest that you think about how you could change your work to make it more exciting and valuable. If you don't like things as they are, change them! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2004

    One of the best books I have ever read!

    This book keeps you woundering what is going to happen next. Green puts you right into the story with him. This book make you fill like a rookie starting from the begining and having to do what ever the owner and the coach says and if you don't you sit the bench till you do.

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