Going Deep: How Wide Receivers Became the Most Compelling Figures in Pro Sports

Going Deep: How Wide Receivers Became the Most Compelling Figures in Pro Sports

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by Cris Carter

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How Wideouts Became the NFL's Standouts

From the time Cris Carter started his career as a supplemental draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1987 to his retirement in 2002, the position of wide receiver exploded in the NFL. Receivers went from being quiet and classy to being known for their electric play, off-the-field antics, and--in some


How Wideouts Became the NFL's Standouts

From the time Cris Carter started his career as a supplemental draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1987 to his retirement in 2002, the position of wide receiver exploded in the NFL. Receivers went from being quiet and classy to being known for their electric play, off-the-field antics, and--in some cases--over-the-top personalities.

In Going Deep, Carter and ESPN journalist Jeffri Chadiha chronicle the rise of the wide receiver and explain how it became the most complex, compelling, and talked-about position in all of professional sports. Using stories from his own career to offer unprecedented insight into the position, Carter explains the players' unique personalities, how their minds work, and why teams need to understand exactly what they're dealing with when it comes to their wideouts--the NFL's newest superstars.

Told through Carter's opinionated voice, Going Deep covers all the important moments and people--from Michael Irvin, Jerry Rice, and Keyshawn Johnson to Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and Chad Johnson--who have contributed to this revolution. He also tells stories readers have never heard about their favorite players, shares theories about the position that only get discussed in front offices and locker rooms, and offers revealing explanations on what these players mean to the league today, as well as why the NFL can't go forward without them.

"One of the most riveting, insightful football books I've ever read. This book takes you inside the huddle, along the sidelines, and deep into the secret world that is the NFL. Breathtaking work."
--Jeff Pearlman, New York Times bestselling author of Boys Will Be Boys and The Bad Guys Won

"No one understands wide receivers better than Cris Carter, and I loved his book. If you want to understand how we think, and hear inside stories about the most over-the-top athletes in sports, read Going Deep."
--Jerry Rice, Hall of Fame wide receiver

"I am so glad someone got Cris Carter to sit down and describe what makes receivers tick. (It's deeper than you think.) You'll get to the last page of this book and say, 'I really learned a lot here--and the pages flew by.' "
--Peter King, senior writer, Sports Illustrated; author of Monday Morning Quarterback; and two-time National Sportswriter of the Year

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Before he became one of ESPN’s innumerable NFL analysts, Carter was a Hall of Fame wide receiver with the Minnesota Vikings. Readers might expect prideful boasting disguised as analysis in this book, but never fear. Carter, with an assist from ESPN journalist Chadiha, lays down solid support for his claims in the book, mixing interviews from players and coaches (both current and former) with his own experiences. According to the author, during the 1990s, football changed. Teams needed to find ways to beat talented defensive players like Deion Sanders, who eliminated half the field, calling for a different kind of receiver. This produced a breed of tall, athletic players who were influenced by basketball, which fed TV coverage that was hungry for stars. The change affected teams (who invested money in busts like David Boston) and players (like Chad Johnson, who became consumed with his image). Carter devotes some space to his own career—describing his relationships with two legendary receivers: Randy Moss, his temperamental teammate with the Vikings, and the mature Larry Fitzgerald, whom Carter first met as a teenager—but ultimately this is a well-constructed, insightful look at the modernization of pro football. Two 8-page b&w photo inserts. Agent: Peter Steinberg, Steinberg Agency. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Former Vikings wide receiver Carter (NFL analyst, ESPN), a recent Hall of Famer, is one of the more articulate football commentators on the air. Here, with Chadiha, a senior writer at ESPN.com, he combines his autobiography with a defense and celebration of the preening divas who have starred in his old position in the past three decades. Carter tends to oversell the behavior, on and off the field, of wide receivers as compelling, while underselling how much the inflated numbers of recent players owe to rule changes designed to make the game easier for pass catchers. He highlights the advent of celebrity entertainers such as his friends Michael Irvin, Keyshawn Johnson, and Deion Sanders, who are now also NFL broadcasters as a result of the unquenchable need for self-expression among troubled talents. VERDICT This book reflects the glory of self-promotion in the NFL but likely will be in demand by football fans due to the prominence of the author.
Kirkus Reviews
NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Carter (co-author: Born to Believe, 2000) offers his take on the position's growing importance to professional football and why it attracts and creates some of the game's biggest personalities. The evolution of the NFL has seen massive changes in the way the game is played, from old-time smash-mouth, running-based football to the modern, passing-oriented spectacle we see today. Along with these changes, cultural and financial shifts have changed the lives of players off the field as well. NFL stars, like most professional athletes these days, are often in the news, not always for their game-day accomplishments. Many of the larger-than-life football stars of this new era seem to be wide receivers, and Carter, who has become a well-known TV commentator in his post-playing days, sets out to explore why. What might seem to be a flimsy topic for a full-length book is filled out with Carter's outspoken thoughts on his career and the careers, and controversies, of others who played, and still play, the position, including Jerry Rice, Michael Irvin, Terrell Owens and Randy Moss. Though Carter's analysis offers nothing groundbreaking, and he occasionally has to stretch a bit to make his point, his candid style and insider knowledge will keep most readers entertained. The author does not hold back from expressing his opinions on the mistakes made by other players, but he applies the same lens to himself, speaking openly of his own problems with drugs and alcohol early in his career and offering advice to others on how to make the most of their talent. A mix of autobiography, cautionary tale and football-geek analysis that will provide die-hards with some insight into one of the sport's most prominent positions.

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Hachette Books
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Meet the Author

Cris Carter spent 16 years as an NFL wide receiver -- where he became one of the most dominant pass-catchers in the history of football -- before embarking on a broadcasting career that has led to his current position as an analyst for ESPN. Cris currently is best known for his appearances on the network's Sunday Countdown and Monday Countdown shows and he served as a member of HBO's Inside the NFL prior to that. He is known as one of the most insightful and intelligent football analysts in the industry. Carter was just as cerebral during his playing days, when he was known for his sure hands, precise routes and an uncanny ability to score touchdowns in bunches. He appeared in eight Pro Bowls and set nearly every major receiving record for the Minnesota Vikings. When Carter finished his career, he ranked second all-time in the NFL in receptions (1,130) and touchdown receptions (130).

Jeffri Chadiha has spent the last five years as a senior writer for ESPN.com and a contributor to ESPN the Magazine. Though his primary responsibility involves covering the NFL, he also provides stories for the newsmagazine show E:60 and has appeared on ESPN shows such as First Take, Numbers Never Lie and Sports Reporters. Prior to joining ESPN in 2007, Chadiha was a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, where he worked for seven years. Overall, he has covered the NFL for a total of 16 years and won considerable recognition for his work, including a Sports Emmy in 2009.

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Going Deep: How Wide Receivers Became the Most Compelling Figures in Pro Sports 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
MinTwinsNY More than 1 year ago
Rating: 3 of 5 stars (good) Review The position of quarterback has long been considered the most glamorous in professional football, but in his new book, Cris Carter makes the case that the position of wide receiver is now the most compelling position. He uses anecdotes from his 16-year career to illustrated how the position evolved from players who simply caught passes to becoming key parts to a well-tuned offense and the players who make the biggest plays that are exciting for not only the scoring on the field, but also for television. Carter doesn’t just limit the book to his own career. This is not a memoir of his life and career. Instead, he also shares how he mentored two receivers who became superstars at the position, Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald. It is worth noting that both have Minnesota connections as Carter, a long time Minnesota Viking, guided Moss when they were teammates and Fitzgerald, a Minnesota native, was participating in camps and practices with the team. These two individuals are noted to be very different in their mannerisms, yet both illustrate that wide receivers are now the focus of attention for teams who need to improve, for television highlights, and even for their places in history. Wide receivers such as Terrell Owens, Michael Irvin and Chad Johnson all are given prominent spots in the book as they are the best examples of talented receivers who not only were All-Pro quality, they were also individuals who craved the spotlight and each of them received a great deal of it. They each had both positive and negative experiences with that recognition. Carter uses that craving to make his case of how the wide receiver is now the most compelling player on any pro football team, regardless of who is the quarterback. When he would either discuss other receivers or explain his position on certain topics such as how he felt about showboating by receivers, rule changes or other hot button topics, there was a surprising lack of depth. While Carter would speak his mind, just like he does on his ESPN telecasts, he offered surprisingly little depth to his position. This is not to say he didn’t have evidence to back up his opinion – it is just that this evidence did not have a lot of detail that would have helped support his stance. Overall, this is a good book for any NFL fan who enjoys reading about spectacular plays, interesting characters and personal stories. While the book has all of these, there isn’t a lot of research or detailed writing about these receivers. The stories are based mostly on personal interactions and old press reports. That makes for good light reading but not the best way to try to convince the reader that wide receivers are now the most important players in the game today. Did I skim? No Pace of the book: Very good. It was a fast read, and will be for readers who are knowledgeable about professional football. Positives: Most books written by professional athletes that focus on the sport they played, their memoirs or something similar offer a unique perspective that a writer who was not a player cannot recapture. This book has that quality as Carter provided a perspective on the position and a few of the players there, especially Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald. Negatives: The biggest negative that I have with this book is that it doesn’t go into greater details on certain topics. This is especially true on Carter’s reflections on his own life. What lead to his cocaine addiction? How was he really treated in Philadelphia? While he was Randy Moss’ mentor in Minnesota, what was their relationship truly like? Do I recommend? Yes, for anyone who enjoys NFL football. What it lacks in details it makes up for in entertainment and like any book that tries to make a bold statement, it will be an interesting conversation piece among armchair quarterbacks
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book it gave me me a real inside look about what player be going through in the professional leagues and how the NFL is ran.