The King of Sports: Football's Impact on America
  • The King of Sports: Football's Impact on America
  • The King of Sports: Football's Impact on America
  • The King of Sports: Football's Impact on America
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The King of Sports: Football's Impact on America

4.7 4
by Gregg Easterbrook
     
 

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Gridiron football is the king of sports - it's the biggest game in the strongest and richest country in the world. In The King of Sports, Easterbrook tells the full story of how football became so deeply ingrained in American culture. Both good and bad, he examines its impact on American society. The King of Sports explores these and many other topics

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Overview

Gridiron football is the king of sports - it's the biggest game in the strongest and richest country in the world. In The King of Sports, Easterbrook tells the full story of how football became so deeply ingrained in American culture. Both good and bad, he examines its impact on American society. The King of Sports explores these and many other topics:

• The real harm done by concussions (it's not to NFL players).

• The real way in which college football players are exploited (it's not by not being paid).

• The way football helps American colleges (it's not bowl revenue) and American cities (it's not Super Bowl wins).

• What happens to players who are used up and thrown away (it's not pretty).

• The hidden scandal of the NFL (it's worse than you think).

Using his year-long exclusive insider access to the Virginia Tech football program, where Frank Beamer has compiled the most victories of any active NFL or major-college head coach while also graduating players, Easterbrook shows how one big university "does football right." Then he reports on what's wrong with football at the youth, high school, college and professional levels. Easterbrook holds up examples of coaches and programs who put the athletes first and still win; he presents solutions to these issues and many more, showing a clear path forward for the sport as a whole.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Easterbrook, the “Tuesday Morning Quarterback” columnist for ESPN.com, recognizes that football’s benefits “must be weighed against many negatives.” Colleges spend entirely too much on football, costs included in everyone else’s tuition. Meanwhile, these players are so focused on the gridiron that they are unprepared for the working world, which is why Easterbrook recommends six-year scholarships. On the professional side, Easterbrook is appalled by the lax standards for helmets and the rampant greed of rich NFL team owners, who happily fund their arenas with taxpayer money. Easterbrook excels at exposing and describing the shaky behavior that gets lost in the games’ hoopla. It’s a shame that these observations come wrapped in a smug, academic arrogance—he compares football to Ellison’s Invisible Man for no real reason; two lengthy, distracting chapters on Virginia Tech’s football team serve as a tribute to head coach Frank Beamer, whom Easterbrook canonizes—while some of his claims (e.g., football is a big contributor to child obesity) overlook other societal factors. There’s much to like, but Easterbrook’s tone and alarmist proclamations make it hard to embrace his agenda. Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Journalist Easterbrook (The Leading Indicators; The Progress Paradox) may be best known for his "Tuesday Morning Quarterback" column at ESPN.com, where he mixes in many nonfootball-related opinions with distinctive football analysis. Here he addresses the overall impact of football on the nation and concludes that the sport he loves needs to reform, not just at the NFL and NCAA levels but also at the high school and peewee levels. Easterbrook's main objections are how football corrupts education and government, how it exploits and then jettisons young athletes, and how debilitating is the physical cost it exacts from its players. His prescribed remedies include banning organized tackle football until eighth grade, lessening the year-round schedule for school football players, vacating public subsidies and tax breaks for big-time football, factoring graduation rates into college football rankings, and mandating the use of the safest helmets. VERDICT Easterbrook presents much to consider and discuss in his diagnosis and treatment plan, which should be of interest to a broad audience. [See Prepub Alert, 5/20/13.]
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-01
Head-slaps and high-fives for the sport that dominates America's popular imagination by Atlantic Monthly contributor and ESPN.com "Tuesday Morning Quarterback" writer Easterbrook (The Leading Indicators, 2012, etc.). The author crafts a football sandwich, the spicy meat of his complaints lying between two soft-bread sections celebrating Virginia Tech, whose successful program and coach (Frank Beamer) he presents as exemplars. In the beginning, Easterbrook describes Beamer's background, temperament and approach; in the end, he chronicles Tech's 2012 Sugar Bowl overtime loss to Michigan. His patent intent is to show that success need not lie upon a foul foundation of cheating and other sorts of corruption, financial and otherwise. The "meat" chapters are the most engaging and include some details, examples and statistics that will alarm even cynics about the sport. Easterbrook probes such issues as the NFL's tax-free status (a not-for-profit!), the failures of many major college programs to help their players graduate (especially black players), the recent research about concussions (at all levels of the game), the role of football on the college campus, the sham of "showcases" for high school athletes, the infinitesimal chance a boy will make it to the NFL, the "cult" of football in school and culture, and the effects of the game on those players who don't make it (the vast majority). Some individual case studies are alarming and profoundly depressing, but--make no mistake--Easterbrook loves the game, and most of the recommendations he discusses (and lists at the end) are quixotic. Financial disclosures? Six-year scholarships for college players? Rankings to include academic records of players? Financial bonuses for coaches whose players do well academically? Not gonna happen. Moreover, the author does not aggressively examine, though he does mention, the proposition that the game's popularity is principally based on violence--would anyone watch the NFL if it were flag football? Trenchant analysis, wrenching case studies, Utopian recommendations.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781250012609
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
09/30/2014
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
349,016
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

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