The King of Sports: Football's Impact on Americaby Gregg Easterbrook
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/i>/i>… See more details below
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.
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.
- St. Martin's Press
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- 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
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