Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton

Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton

by Jeff Pearlman

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Overview

The definitive biography of Chicago Bears superstar Walter Payton.

In the twelve years since his death from cancer, Walter Payton’s legend has only grown in magnitude. The Hall of Fame running back, who broke Jim Brown’s all-time NFL rushing mark, appeared in nine Pro Bowls, won a Super Bowl ring with the 1985 Chicago Bears, and is still revered throughout the sporting landscape. Payton has become the lasting image of what’s great about football. Yet in mindlessly canonizing the man simply known as “Sweetness,” we have missed the opportunity to understand—and appreciate—one of the most uniquely complex and enigmatic superstars in the history of American sports.

No longer. Based on meticulous research and interviews with nearly seven hundred family members, friends, teammates, and various associates, Sweetness delivers an unforgettable portrait of a man who lived his life just like he played the game: at full speed. From his childhood in segregated Mississippi, to Chicago, where Payton emerged from athlete to icon as he broke the NFL’s all-time rushing record and led the Bears to Super Bowl glory; to his darker moments battling depression and adjusting to life after football, Sweetness is an eloquently written, revelatory saga of a complex, guarded superstar who died far too young.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781592407378
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/28/2012
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 183,301
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Jeff Pearlman is the author of four previous books, including two New York Times bestsellers, The Bad Guys Won! and Boys Will Be Boys. He is a columnist for SI.com as well as a contributor to The Wall Street Journal. He blogs regularly at jeffpearlman.com. Pearlman and his family live in New York.

Table of Contents

Prologue xiii

Part 1 Columbia

Chapter 1 Bubba 3

Chapter 2 Learning the Game 19

Chapter 3 Black and White 29

Chapter 4 The Emergence 38

Chapter 5 Recruitment 54

Part 2 Jackson

Chapter 6 Jackson State 65

Chapter 7 Soul 82

Chapter 8 Connie 95

Chapter 9 Heisman Hopes 107

Part 3 Chicago

Chapter 10 Going Pro 123

Chapter 11 Birth of Sweetness 140

Chapter 12 Zero Yards 158

Chapter 13 The Wake-Up Call 172

Chapter 14 The Strangest Run 186

Chapter 15 Darkness 207

Chapter 16 The Unbearable Bears 223

Chapter 17 A Rose in a Dandelion Garden 244

Chapter 16 Power 255

Chapter 19 Shuffle 280

Chapter 20 Super Letdown 304

Chapter 21 Aftermath 316

Part 4 Retirement

Chapter 22 Now What? 341

Chapter 23 A Bottomless Void 368

Chapter 24 Depression 376

Part 5 Final

Chapter 25 Sick 393

Chapter 26 The End 409

Chapter 27 Legacy 417

Chapter 28 Afterword 424

Acknowledge 431

Notes 437

Bibliography 467

Index 471

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Pearlman did not set out to expose Payton but to understand him, to identify and define the qualities that made him so appealing. He was a football-playing hero to millions, true, but he was also a human being of considerable complexity. There’s a story in how those two sides intersected, and a skilled biographer gets to that story ... If Walter Payton, magnificent football player and Chicago treasure, is enough for you, ignore the book and cherish your memories. If Walter Payton, flawed but fascinating human being, intrigues you, read it. You might come away with a greater appreciation."
The New York Times

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