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Bloody Sundays: Inside the Rough-and-Tumble World of the NFL Paperback – October 26, 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; Reprint edition (October 26, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060739312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060739317
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,330,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Using a structure similar to George Will's Men at Work, Freeman dedicates sections of his new book to coaches, players and executives, employing their stories as jumping off points to discuss the inner working of the NFL. Employing his insider connections and investigative journalism skills, Freeman, who covers football for the New York Times, doesn't shy away from the critical issues facing the league, such as a financial system that can leave players with little money and tenuous job security or the high-profile domestic abuse cases that have become all too common among the league's players in recent years. He explores not only the health risks to players who use their bodies as battering rams but also the health issues facing workaholic NFL coaches. Given America's obsession with celebrities' personal lives, the book's most stunning revelation comes from Steven Thompson (an alias), a gay NFL player who claims there are currently "100 to 200 gay and bisexual" players in the league. Freeman reports on all these issues with passion and compassion, almost always giving thoughtful consideration to both sides of the story while also suggesting viable solutions to the league's problems. Freeman's only fumble is his "99 Reasons Why Football Is Better Than Baseball," an indication that ubiquitous list journalism has made the jump from magazines to books. Still, Freeman's courage to tackle the sport's biggest issues and his insider's expertise make this a must read for football fanatics coast to coast.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“A must-read for fans.” (Maxim)

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Customer Reviews

It's too bad too because it had potential.
Matthew W. Paradise
For example, there is not much info on the inner workings of the NFL at the owner and commissioner level.
U. Marsolais
An interesting subject matter, but I found the writing style to be a bit dull and redundant.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By D. Sandler on January 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book hoping for a solid piece of investigative reporting regarding the most successful sports league in America, if not the world. Sadly, this book failed to live up to expectations. Parts of the book were interesting, but just about all of Freeman's pronouncements are now seriously out of date. Would anyone out there take John Gruden over Bill Belichick as coach of their football team? Freeman would. Does anyone consider the Browns to be in the top 5 of all teams in the league? Freeman also throws out serious pronouncements casually and then fails to explain. He does this with Wellington Mara, saying he is the best owner in the league. Only towards the very end of the book do we find out why.

The typographical and factual errors detract significantly from this work. As a reporter for the New York Times, how can he not possibly know where Fort Bragg is? Mike, I can tell you it ain't in Georgia. Care to guess again? Where were his editors and proofreaders? Additionally, parts of his introduction are repeated exactly word for word in other chapters, most notably the chapter on the gay player. All of this plus his atrocious grammar adds up to a book that exhibits some serious bush-league writing. It makes you wonder how this guy made it to such a prestigious newspaper such as the Times. This book leaves me scratching my head.

If that weren't enough, his last few chapters are absolutely horrendous. What was he thinking when he decided to compare football and baseball in such a juvenile way? And his list of changes he would make were he commissioner of the league are stunning in their profundity--he would welcome dogs into the press box but ban cats. Well, that is the mark of a truly great commissioner, let me tell you.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on October 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The modern NFL faces many very important issues, which are rarely covered amid the fandom and sensationalism of the mainstream sports press. Here Mike Freeman digs up some much-needed dirt on the poor mental and physical health of workaholic coaches and banged-up veteran players, racial matters and discrimination in the league, and drug use and domestic violence among trouble-prone players. Freeman also offers plenty of coverage about why the NFL is so successful, from great team owners and general managers, brilliant business practices at the league level, and many mature and charitable players. These are all things that both the fans and critics of the NFL should know more about, and Freeman is providing a valuable service by giving us both the great and not-so-great of the NFL.

Unfortunately, Freeman's writing style doesn't always measure up to the challenge, resulting in a book that often seems more like a jumble of mashed-up sports-page columns rather than the strong reporting that these subjects require. Chapters and vignettes on important issues end abruptly with few authoritative conclusions. Freeman's command of language leaves something to be desired, with unfocused run-on sentences and unimaginative word choice. Early on he criticizes the modern sports press for hyper-analyzing every single move and miniscule statistic of NFL games, but then does the same thing at several spots in the book. And the end the book deteriorates into lists of Freeman's favorite players and silly reasons why he thinks football is better than baseball. These are fan-style opinions that can be found by the thousands in chat rooms and fantasy football sites, and sadly detract from the seriousness of the issues Freeman is trying to bring to light. [~doomsdayer520~]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. J. Kwashnak VINE VOICE on February 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Now that ESPN has bowed to the pressure of the NFL and cancelled the show "Playmakers," it's left to Freeman's book to look inside the NFL and show it warts and all. A lot of attention has been given to the author's chapters on 'Steven Thompson' the pseudonym for a closeted gay football player. That chapter simply confirms what everyone already knows - that gay men are in football but they are not out nor are they likely to come out in the near future. The rest of the time Freeman draws upon his contacts and years as a reporter to analyze the people he spotlights both in an historical sense, as well as through direct access to the people and those around them. He paints pictures of people who may get the shaft in their professional lives, but who came to the game and keep going despite hardships because they truly love football. You can debate his picks for the best of all time in various positions, but you have to give Freeman the slack to express his opinions after spending time reporting on his topic, and he tries to reason out his choices. The person who does not know the NFL won't really be served by using this as an introduction, but readers familiar with the game and the players (not necessarily fanatics) will find the peek behind closed doors interesting.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By U. Marsolais on July 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is overall a good look inside some of the most well-known issues of the NFL, and some less well-known issues, but it has a couple of shortcomings.

For example, there is not much info on the inner workings of the NFL at the owner and commissioner level. There is also no information about the commercial, financial, marketing and broadcasting aspects of the sport. I believe these two aspects are very much important for the NFl but they are barely covered.

The chapters on coaches, players' health and social problems, best run and worst run franchises are very interesting. There is a lot of info on coaches lifestyle, the players health hazards (I did not know the extent to which football can destroy humans). The chapter on the Eagles and Bengals was very good, I would have liked to see more of that about other franchises.

The last two chapters are mostly disappointing. It seems the author was running out of material and decided to devote a full chapter about the greatest players of the sport, past and current; and the other chapter is simply a summary of 100 short, smack talk reasons why football is superior to baseball. These 2 chapters were shallow, and you get the impression the author was trying to simply reach a predetermined page count for the book.

Still, there is not that many books about the NFL. This one is worth the read.
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