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Boys Will Be Boys: The Glory Days and Party Nights of the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty Hardcover – September 16, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his latest effort, Pearlman (The Bad Guys Won!) tells the story of how the Dallas Cowboys went from being a league doormat to a Super Bowl–winning machine. It's the cast of characters that makes this story a page-turner, starting with controlling owner Jerry Jones; all-business coach Jimmy Johnson, who would cut a player without blinking; and star players Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith and Deion Sanders. Pearlman explores the many other people who bought into the philosophy that if you were going to be a Dallas Cowboy... you needed to live the life—and that meant, in the early '90s, plenty of infidelity, cocaine, nightly trips to gentleman's clubs and hangovers at practice. Pearlman interviewed nearly 150 members of the Cowboys organization for the book, but much of the terrific detail comes from such tangential folks as journalists, players' wives and staff at the local Cowboys restaurant. The anecdotes range from uplifting (the heartwarming story of quarterback Troy Aikman granting a wish to a dying boy) to raunchy (defensive end Chris Haley, while playing for the 49ers, often masturbated in the locker room). In the end, Pearlman has produced a narrative that is as entertaining as it is insightful. (Sept.)
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From Booklist

In February 1989, Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys, immediately fired the iconic Tom Landry, and hired Jimmy Johnson from the collegiate ranks. The team would end the 1989 season with the worst record in the league. In a city that lives and breathes the Cowboys, the natives were restless. But in short order all was right in Big D as the team, led by future Hall-of-Famers Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman, and Emmitt Smith, won three Super Bowls in four years. The on-field success was paralleled by off-field excess. Drugs, strip clubs, orgies, fights, marital infidelities, and, finally, one player stabbing another in the neck with scissors. Pearlman, who seems to revel in the seamy side of sports—his The Bad Guys Won! (2004) was an account of the equally lecherous 1986 New York Mets—interviewed players, coaches, and others while also plumbing print sources. Yes, he dishes the dirt, but he also catches the team dynamic that fostered success as well as the infighting that led to disaster. Informative as well as titillating. --Wes Lukowsky
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (September 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061256803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061256806
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jeff Pearlman is a columnist for SI.com. He has worked as as a columnist for ESPN.com and Yahoo.com, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, a features writer for Newsday and -- amazingly -- as The (Nashville) Tennessean's food and fashion writer. He is the author of two New York Times best-sellers--Boys Will Be Boys, a biography of the 1990s Dallas Cowboys, and The Bad Guys Won, a biography of the 1986 New York Mets. He is also the author of a pair of, ahem, non-New York Times' best-seller, Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Anti-Hero, and The Rocket That Fell to Earth: Roger Clemens and the Rage for Baseball Immortality. Pearlman lives in New York with his wife and two children, and enjoys Kirk Cameron films, T-shirts and the taste of gum.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Rick Shaq Goldstein on September 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When the first chapter of a non-fiction football book starts off with future Hall Of Fame receiver Michael Irvin stabbing a teammate in the neck with a scissors... and blood is shooting all over the room... and the intensity of the lurid details... on and off the field... regarding the famed "dynastic" Dallas Cowboys of the 1990's... never lets up for the next three-hundred-fifty-eight pages... you know you've got a great book in your hands. Any true football fan, regardless of what team you root for will want to read this book. There are so many riveting... outlandish... insider... stories... that you will constantly want to stop reading for a moment or two... just to call one of your buddies to tell him what you just read!

This book has it all. From the "humble" beginnings (as far as wins and losses that is... nothing about any of the key individuals in this story could ever be considered humble!) concerning the 1989 Cowboys who had a one-win fifteen-loss season... to the three-time Super Bowl Champions. The author smoothly gives you detailed background information on everyone from owner Jerry Jones to coach Jimmy Johnson to Troy Aikman/Emmitt Smith/Michael Irvin/Nate Newton/Charles Haley/Deion Sanders... and every Cowboy large... small... or in between... who effected the team on or off the field... good or bad. Absolutely no punches are pulled.

From drug busts, that included Michael Irvin and teammate Alfredo Roberts being caught with 10.3 grams of cocaine, more than an ounce of marijuana, assorted drug paraphernalia and sex toys... and oh yea... two strippers... to shocking exposes regarding eventual FIVE-TIME-SUPER-BOWL-CHAMPION Charles Haley who would expose himself... and "pleasure-himself"... in front of teammates in the locker room... training room...
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Roberto H on January 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I highly recommend this book to anyone who: a) was a big fan of the early 90's Cowboys, b) is curious about what goes on behind the scenes in the NFL, or c) is interested in the impact leadership has on organizations. This book comes up juicy in all three categories.

This book is great because it avoids the common mistake made by authors documenting certain teams. Instead of going through the boring minutiae of old games, Jeff Pearlman gives gripping, inside stories that no fan ever knew about. For example:

- Michael Irvin was the heart and soul of the team. Period.
- Nobody liked Emmitt Smith.
- Charles Haley, WTF?
- The players, for as much as they hated Jimmy Johnson, respected the heck out of him. How he shaped them psychologically and then kept them on the edge was stellar.
- Jerry Jones is a prideful retard, sure. But I never knew he was that big of one.
- Switzer was actually a pretty likable guy with whom you can really empathize. But, man, he really had no business being there.
- Skip Bayless is a massive dork.

I had a blast reading this book. Highly recommend.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Martha Frankel on September 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Almost 35 years after Peter Gent's seminal "North Dallas Forty" showed us what untamed beasts football players could be, Jeff Pearlman delivers "Boys Will Be Boys," which, not coincidentally, is also about the freewheeling, demented, and fiercely determined Dallas Cowboys, once and always dubbed "America's Team."

Except Pearlman's Cowboys are those of the 1990s, the ones who followed the firing of legendary coach Tom Landry, and who make the men of "Forty" look like altar boys.

The dean of Dallas decadence was wide receiver Michael Irvin, known as The Playmaker. "Did he love snorting coke? Yes. Did he love lesbian sex shows? Yes. Did he love sleeping with two, three, four, five (yes, five) women at the same time in precisely choreographed orgies? Yes. Did he love strip clubs and hookers and house calls from exotic dancers with names like Bambi and Cherry and Saucy? Yes, yes, yes."

But because Texas is football, Irvin's antics, including an arrest for cocaine possession and stabbing a teammate who Irvin believed dissed him by cutting in line to get a haircut, were waved away with a smile. And when Irvin helped turn the hapless Cowboys around, from 1-15 losers in 1989 to multiple Super Bowl champs by the mid-'90s, well, hookers were practically handed out with the after-game painkillers.

Pearlman, a former senior writer for Sports Illustrated and a contributor to [...] Page Two, also wrote "The Bad Guys Won!" about the 1986 Mets and "Love Me, Hate Me," about Barry Bonds. So he has some experience with talented villains you love to hate.
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Format: Hardcover
Anyone who spent any time out in clubs or had friends or relatives in either the "entertainment" industry or law enforcement in the Dallas/Ft Worth area heard stories of the excesses of Michael Irvin, Charles Haley, Deion Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Kenny Gant ("You mean to tell me there are places where women get naked? And they serve food there, too?") as well as other Dallas Cowboy football players and staff in the 1990's. The existence of a player owned "safe house" (the White House) where players and staff could indulge in drugs, alcohol, violence and a seemingly endless supply of willing women was an open secret. The near fatal DUI accident of right tackle Erik Williams and other car crashes involving players were hushed up with assistance from a compliant and dependent media. A caravan of limos ferrying "skanks" for the enjoyment of players and their guests (better to bring known women than chance the dangers of women found in clubs and hotels) to Tempe, Arizona for Super Bowl XXX. What could anyone say? Owner Jerry Jones had included his own party vehicle in the caravan...a six bed tour bus that had once been owned by Whitney Houston. The Cowboys were consumed and controlled by their giant egos and addictions.

All this excess could be forgiven, overlooked and hushed up until the Cowboys committed the unpardonable sin. The Dallas Cowboys quit winning and began to look foolish. The Cowboys began to show the effects of partying, bad coaching, foolish management decisions and lack of leadership and were being beaten on the field. Author Jeff Pearlman returns with yet another book of sports heroes gone bad: Boys Will be Boys, the Glory Days and Party Nights of the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty.
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