Blog Entry

Top Ten with a Twist: Books we want to read

Posted on: October 6, 2011 12:29 pm
It's time for a biography on Ed Sabol and his son, Steve. (US Preswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

With the controversy surrounding the new Walter Payton biography, written by Jeff Pearlman, I got to thinking about the other books we need to read but that haven’t been written yet. I’m not talking about a season in the life book of the 2010 Packers or the latest words written by Mike Ditka (at least five authored or co-authored by the Bears coaching icon), but about subjects we don’t really know and on topics we would love to explore.

For this Top Ten List with a Twist, I’m discounting what a publisher might say if he/she was presented with some of these ideas (namely, the idea that blah, blah, blah won’t sell or that nobody has ever heard of blah, blah, blah). Some of these ideas, no doubt, would work, and maybe, one day, you’ll see one of them on the shelf of your nearest book store in the cart of your page.

Without further ado, here are the Top Ten books we absolutely deserve to read.  

10. The inside story on the NFL lockout: Yeah, maybe many football fans wouldn’t care about a book like this, because they only wanted the work stoppage to end as soon as possible so they could continue to watch the game they love, but I bet it would be fascinating. What is the relationship between Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith really like? How were the compromises finally reached? Did Jerry Jones really tap his fists together and walk out of a negotiation session to make a point? For those  who reported and analyzed the entire ordeal, it would be a mind-churning look from behind the curtain.

9. Bill Belichick end-of-career autobiography: Although he almost always comes off completely uninteresting during his midweek and postgame press conferences -- hell, he eats his lunch during teleconference calls with the media! -- the recent NFL Network documentary showed that he’s an interesting dude. The fact he got a little emotional during a trip to the Meadowlands was almost shocking, and I’ve seen interviews with him before that are really, really good. If he let down his guard, like during that documentary, his autobiography would be a fascinating study of the best coach in football. There have been big-name authors who have written big-name books about Belichick, but when his career is over, I want him reflecting on the impact he’s made and the reason he did it all the first place.

8. A biography on Tom Brady’s hair: We’ve already had the obituary for Brady’s shorn locks. Next, we should have a book that tells the tale of the entire two-year history of the hair that helped Brady land that lucrative Uggs endorsement.

7. Sid Gillman biography: Gillman is the most important coach you might not remember. Unlike Paul Brown (who has a stadium named after him and a legacy in Cincinnati) or Vince Lombardi (who you might have heard a little something about) or Woody Hayes (a decent-enough coach at Ohio State) -- all of whom were Gillman contemporaries -- Gillman has fallen through the cracks of history. And considering, he’s the father of the modern passing offense, that’s a shame.

Rex and Rob Ryan (US Presswire)6. Rob/Rex Ryan quote book: This could even be made into one of those peel-a-page-every-day calendars, like the Jeff Foxworthy redneck gags or the best of the old Far Side comic strips. But if you like to laugh (or just shake your head), this book would be a big seller. You could have Rex talking about not wanting to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings or Rob discussing how Calvin Johnson would be the Cowboys No. 3 receiver behind Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. See what I mean? It’d be high hilarity.

5. Bryant McKinnie in the Blind Side, part II: Since McKinnie was the one to replace Michael Oher as the Ravens left tackle, McKinnie should have his own Michael Lewis-penned biography. I’m pretty sure McKinnie didn’t live in foster homes and on the streets before he was adopted, like Oher, but McKinnie has had struggles with his weight and he did (allegedly) spend $100,000 on a bar tab this offseason. It’s not as heartwarming as the Oher book, but a tome about McKinnie would be pretty fun.

4. The early struggles of black players: You know all about Jackie Robinson in major league baseball, but if I asked you who the broke the color barrier in the NFL, you probably wouldn’t have any idea. Hell, I read a long article about the NFL’s integration the other day, and I couldn’t tell you the guy’s name*. But this is an important -- and somewhat complicated -- history. Black players participated in pro football at the turn of the 20th century, and they also were part of teams in various professional leagues until the NFL stopped signing them in the early 1930s. It would be an interesting look at an era that, just like much of society, was decidedly unfair for anybody who wasn’t white.

*After blacks were excluded from the league in 1933, Kenny Washington was the one to break the barrier in 1946, one year before Robinson did it in baseball.

3. A Cam Newton investigation: Don’t we deserve to know who Newton’s bag man is or if there was a bag man at all? Not that it would make any difference in his pro career, but don’t you want to know if Newton’s father really demanded $180,000 from Mississippi State for Newton’s service? Maybe Auburn fans wouldn’t, but I certainly would.

2. NFL Films biography: People underestimate the importance of Ed and Steve Sabol. Proof of that was that it took so long for Ed to earn his way into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But the NFL -- and the NFL fans -- owe them a huge debt of gratitude, because the way you watch football today might not be possible if NFL Films hadn’t been created on the backs of the Sabol’s in the 1960s. I want to know how it started, the obstacles they faced in the early years and the impact the company has made to this day. It’s a book the Sabol’s deserve to have written.

1. An investigation into the rise of CTE: There have been a few journalists (the Newark Star Ledger’s Jerry Izenberg and the New York Times’ Alan Schwarz are two who come to mind) who do fine work keeping watch on the NFL’s relationship and response to the rise of head injuries that continue to devastate retired players and keep us reminded about what a brutal game football is to those who play it for your enjoyment. But from the premature death of Steelers legend Mike Webster to the shock of what Chris Henry’s brain looked like during his autopsy, from the suicide of Dave Duerson to the continued work of those who track of the rise of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, this is a book that needs to be written. And the sooner, the better.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 21, 2012 9:37 am

Top Ten with a Twist: Books we want to read

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 15, 2012 11:20 pm

Top Ten with a Twist: Books we want to read

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 31, 2011 10:00 pm

Top Ten with a Twist: Books we want to read

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Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 25, 2011 12:21 am

Top Ten with a Twist: Books we want to read

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 4, 2011 3:56 pm

Top Ten with a Twist: Books we want to read

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Since: Nov 28, 2011
Posted on: November 28, 2011 9:03 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Aug 19, 2010
Posted on: October 26, 2011 7:53 am

Top Ten with a Twist: Books we want to read

Sid Gillman was born 100 years ago today.  a Google news search yielded no articles.  pathetic.

Since: Feb 9, 2011
Posted on: October 7, 2011 10:19 am

Top Ten with a Twist: Books we want to read

I think the problem with the list is some are supposed to be funny and others are serious. The Ryan brothers, Brady and McKinnie stuff are supposed to be funny, I guess, and the other stuff appears serious.

Since: Oct 31, 2006
Posted on: October 7, 2011 9:48 am

Top Ten with a Twist: Books we want to read

spent $100,000 on bar tab?

No wonder so many of these m-o-r-o-n-s are broke when they retire.  

Since: Dec 2, 2007
Posted on: October 7, 2011 2:05 am

Top Ten with a Twist: Books we want to read

If we skip the Rob & Rex Roadshow, this is a pretty entertaining list...  But I'm tired of those two-- all attitude, no results...  Everyime they open their mouths, horrible things happen to the guys on their teams.  How 'bout they both just SHUT THE HELL UP and put up results on the field...  Take that energy that requires their mouths open all the time, and put it to good use...  Maybe put a little more effort into earning the mega $$$'s they earn, instead of making sports writers giggle? 

No excuse for the Jets last week, that was the ugliest performance I've EVER seen by a National Football League team-- in 44 years of life, Oh, and the Cowboy's two collapses already this year?  Absolutely awful...  (People put it on Romo, and his mistakes, but he puts enough points on the board to win games...  The pick-6's withstanding, it's the points getting scored against that "mean, nasty" and SOFT Rob Ryan defense that are leading to losses...)

So, shut UP, and do something to make yourselves look like lesser fools.  Nobody cares about press conferences.  It's wins we're after here.  (If you can't do that, you're probably headed for a late night, half faked, scripted goofy "reality" show about twin brothers who can't get along).

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