Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times

Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of This Town, an equally merciless probing of America's biggest cultural force, pro football, at a moment of peak success and high anxiety.

Like millions of Americans, Mark Leibovich has spent more of his life than he'd care to admit tuned into pro football. Being a lifelong New England Patriots fan meant growing up with a steady diet of lovable loserdom. That is until the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era made the Pats the most ruthlessly efficient sports dynasty of the 21st century, its organization the most polarizing in the NFL, and its fans the most irritating in all of Pigskin America. Leibovich kept his obsession relatively private, in the meantime making a nice career for himself covering that other playground for rich and overgrown children, American politics. Still, every now and then Leibovich would reach out to Tom Brady to gauge his willingness to subject himself to a profile in the New York Times Magazine. He figured that the chances of Brady agreeing to this were a Hail Mary at best, but Leibovich kept trying, at least to indulge his fan-boy within. To his surprise, Brady returned the call, in the summer of 2014. He agreed to let Mark spend time with him through the coming season, which proved to be a fateful one for all parties. It included another epic Patriots Super Bowl win and, yes, a scandal involving Brady--Deflategate--whose grip on sports media was as profound as its true significance was ridiculous.

So began a four-year odyssey that has taken Mark Leibovich deeper inside the NFL than anyone has gone before. Ultimately, this is a chronicle of what may come to be seen as "peak football"--the high point of the sport's economic success and cultural dominance, but also the moment when it all began to turn. From the owners meeting to the NFL draft to the sidelines of crucial games, he takes in the show, at the elbow of everyone from Brady to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, who is cordially hated by even casual football fans to an extent that is almost weird. It is an era of explosive revenue growth, as deluxe new stadiums spring up all over the country, but also one of creeping existential fear. Football was never thought to be easy on the body--players joke darkly that the NFL stands for "not for long" for good reason. But as the impact of concussions on brains became has become the inescapable ear-ring in the background, it became increasingly difficult to enjoy the simple glory of football without the buzz-kill of its obvious toll.

And that was before Donald Trump. In 2016, Mark Leibovich's day job caught up with him, and the NFL slammed headlong into America's culture wars. Big Game is a journey through an epic storm. Through it all, Leibovich always keeps one eye cocked on Tom Brady and his beloved Patriots, through to the end of the 2017-1018 season. Pro football, this hilarious and enthralling book proves, may not be the sport America needs, but it is most definitely the sport we deserve.

Title:Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780399185427
Format Type:

    Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times Reviews

  • Richard de Villiers

    Let's start with the good stuff. Leibovich is an engaging writer, even when his subjects have little to say he still makes it interesting. The last four years, the time he dedicated to writing this bo...

  • Kristina

    You don’t have to be a rabid fan of football to enjoy Mark Leibovich’s Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times. A passing acquaintance with the game is all that is required to be drawn into this book...

  • Jim Cooper

    This book gets 5 stars from me because it's so well-written. This really isn't a book about the NFL, so much as it is a peek behind the curtain of the people who run it (the commissioner and the owner...

  • Jose Vitela

    Occasionally you come across a book (show or movie) that is bad but for some reason you're able to power through only to wonder why you didn't cut your losses early. I felt this way with this book. No...

  • Brian Calandra

    For a guy who spent four years embedded with NFL owners and athletes, Leibovitch came out with very little in the way of anecdotes except for getting wasted on Jerry Jones's bus and seeing Giselle Bun...

  • Gina Boyd

    I can’t express how much I enjoyed this book. It’s smart and funny and gossipy and solemn and the Leibovitz has enough sense to share his sheepishness about being a Masshole. I loved reading about...

  • Bobby Frederick

    Seemed disjointed and repetitive in some parts. Enjoyed some of Leibovich's roasting, but a lot of it felt forced and too snarky. Second half of the book was much better than the first....

  • Alex Hairston

    Thought the sound bites or excerpts I read in the press were all I really needed to know. I also didn't realize how New England centric this book was before I read it. ...

  • Jolene

    Rich people suck. Jerry Jones is a cartoon. The Lambeau Leap is one of the greatest traditions of human achievement. Ultimately, this book didn't really SAY anything, but I was endlessly entertained. ...

  • Chris Pippin

    I heard Leibovich discuss his book on a podcast and was really looking forward to reading it. Unfortunately, as you'll discover very early on, Leibovich is a Pats fan. This wouldn't be a problem on it...