January 3, 2011
What I've Been Reading
Blood, Sweat & Chalk: The Ultimate Football Playbook: How the Great Coaches Built Today’s Game, by Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated. I don't know what I really expected with this book? It was promoted hard by Sports Illustrated because one of their own writers was the author. I guess I was expecting more of an comprehensive breakdown of the different offenses and defenses throughout the history of the NFL. Instead you get a breakdown of how offenses/defenses were created and the men who created them. The amazing part is most of these offenses/defenses were created out of desperation because of advancing offenses/defenses. Gary Patterson of TCU created this weird 3-2-5 defense to stop spread offenses that are on the rise. 'Blood, Seat, & Chalk' was a very good book that I do recommend reading. Yeah it wasn't a comprehensive of the offenses/defenses, but it was a great history lesson on the men who help evolved football. (Recommendation Rating: 4)
Perfect Rivals: Notre Dame, Miami, and the Battle for the Soul of College Football, by Jeff Carroll. While 'Blood, Sweat, & Chalk' was a great book, 'Perfect Rivals' was truly a terrible book. I was looking forward to reading this book because I love college football, rivalries, and history. Then I started reading this book and much to my surprise, I hated it. I shouldn't have though. The book was about college football, rivalries, and college football history. Besides the factual and editing errors (There were several. I still can't believe the book stated Danny Ford coached at North Carolina) this book read like one big AP article. I don't think Carroll did any original reporting at all. The Miami side of the book felt copied and pasted from Bruce Feldman's book 'Cane Mutiny.' The Notre Dame section of the book had more research, but it felt copied and pasted from old South Bend Tribune. The only part of this book I liked was reading about how Notre Dame football basically became NBC property in the early 1990's, the fallout of that deal (Many independent schools like Miami or Penn State felt they had to join a conference to receive TV money), and the reactions of other schools at Notre Dame working that deal. It was truly sleazy. Is that section of the book though enough for me to suggest buying this book? Absolutely not. Save your money and don't buy 'Perfect Rivals.' (Recommendation Rating: 1)
Free Darko Presents The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History by freedarko.com. I'm a big fan or Free Darko, even though the NBA isn't one of my favorite sports. Like the website, their book was a collection of essay's surrounding the history of the NBA. Starting the invention of basketball, Free Darko takes a look at great teams (1970 Knicks), great innovations (The Sacramento Kings using the Princeton Offense in the early 00's), and important issues (99 lockout). Besides the writing which is exquisite there's some fantastic artwork to compliment the essays. Just a fantastic book. (Recommendation Rating: 5)
I'm going to try and finish two more books this week and have a review of them up by next Monday.