Big Game

Over the last couple of days I’ve read Big Game, a book about the recent travails of the NFL, and about the New England Patriots, and about the many, apparently quite repulsive, owners of the NFL franchises.

So much is odd about this. Whether it’s Americans having franchises, as opposed to the teams that Europeans have – are the Dallas Cowboys fundamentally more similar to a Kentucky Fried Chicken or a Kinko’s than to a group of people playing a match? – or the structure of the book itself, which for no apparent reason I can discern, hops back and forward in time. It doesn’t appear that we’re getting different explanations of the same event and different perspectives; it feels more like the author has randomly assembled a series of blog posts, without regard for chronology.

Getting past that, and the occasional reuse of a joke (if it was good enough to once overstate the obvious meaning of a poorly worded sentence, to do it twice will be even better, right?) it’s an enjoyable book, even if it’s not sure where it’s going.

Is it trying to talk about how awful the various, funhouse mirror distortions of humankty that own the league are? Is it trying to make clearer how much damage has been done by concussions in the NFL, and the scandal that this isn’t better dealt with? Is it a frustrated love letter to Tom Brady? Is it all of these things?

Somewhat maddening to a casual follower of American football are the references to people everyone knows about. Except me, I guess. Likewise the St Louis Rams relocating to Los Angeles. This is important, apparently, but I find it hard to track where they came from or why we really mind.

Where the book is greatest, I think, is in recording the horrible things various team- (sorry, franchise-) owners say and do. The picture painted, of emotionally stunted billionaire geriatrics with huge egos and no dress sense is funny, if constantly appalling. Certainly worth the price of admission. I’m just bitter that after all the description of matches that occurs, the Eagles’ 2018 Super Bowl victory is skipped over in just a few words. But if I wanted more on ‘my’ team, perhaps I should have written it.


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