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You Can't Make This Up: Miracles, Memories, and the Perfect Marriage of Sports and Television Hardcover – November 18, 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 565 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“An enjoyable look at an important period in sports and television history by a man who helped shape it.” (Washington Times)

“A playful puppy of a memoir about a big dog career.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Praise for Al Michaels: “Al Michaels is my favorite. . . . He is the last of the true icons.” (Eminem, in GQ Magazine)

“Al Michaels might be the best storyteller in all of sports.” (Bill Simmons, editor-in-chief of Grantland and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Book of Basketball)

“One of my favorite guests. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve had Al Michaels on my shows” (Howard Stern)

“Al Michaels may be the best all-around play-by-play announcer ever.” (Sports Illustrated)

From the Back Cover

One of America’s most respected sportscasters—and the play-by-play voice of NBC’s Sunday Night Football—gives us a behind-the-curtain look at some of the most thrilling games and fascinating figures in modern sports.

No sportscaster has covered more major sporting events than Al Michaels. During the course of his forty-plus-year career, he has logged more hours on live primetime network television than anyone in history, having covered all four major sports championships—the Super Bowl, the World Series, the NBA finals, and the Stanley Cup final—as well as the Olympic Games, the Triple Crown, and many more. He has witnessed firsthand some of the most memorable events in sports, and in this highly personal and entertaining account, he brings them all vividly to life.

Michaels’s stories cover unforgettable chapters over the past half century—from the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics’ “Miracle on Ice” to the earthquake that rocked the 1989 World Series to the drama of what many consider the most exciting Super Bowl ever—Super Bowl XLIII between the Steelers and the Cardinals. Some of the biggest personalities on and off the field are here—Pete Rose, John Wooden, Brett Favre, Tommy Lasorda, O. J. Simpson, John Madden, Cris Collinsworth, Roone Arledge, Bill Parcells, Tiger Woods, Doc Rivers, Dennis Miller, and many, many more. Complementing access with insight, Michaels adds to the stories you thought you knew: Michael Jordan’s eyesight; Howard Cosell’s prickly, bombastic personality; even Peyton and Eli Manning’s sibling rivalry. 

From start to finish, Al Michaels gives us an up-close portrait of an industry that is—today more than ever—a vital part of our national culture.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1St Edition edition (November 18, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062314963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062314963
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (565 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Wulfstan TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover
The well done and sometimes funny autobiography of Al Michaels, who was for two decades the play by play voice of Monday Night Football- not to mention also Sunday Night, Wide World of Sports, the Olympics, and numerous World Series and Super Bowls. (whew!, this guy has been busy!).

Myself, I really enjoyed his tales of working with Dennis Miller on Mondays. Hilarious. But there's plenty of anecdotes about other celebrities- and of course the real meat is his insights and personal tales about Sports legends-John Madden, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and of course-O.J. Simpson (fascinating!) . Not just for sports fans- in fact a great read for the non-sports fan who wants to know a little bit more.

An interesting note- in this he claims to NEVER (ever) eat vegetables!
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Format: Hardcover
If you are looking for Al's biography -- then this is your kind of book. If you want some insight as to how Al feels about people he's worked with (other than Howard Cosell) or sports related issues -- then I recommend you look else where. What we have here is Al going through his life and endless pages of talking about who he has worked with and noted events he's covered. As a diehard sports fan, I've always appreciated Al's work. I was hoping Al would use this forum to express himself -- instead of the very conservative approach.
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Format: Audible Audio Edition
I opted for the Audible version of Al Michaels book and was happy I did. Ray Porter does an excellent job with the narration. Moreover, the production is jolted with the energy of Michaels himself lending his own iconic voice to the chapters on the Lake Placid Olympics and his recollections of Howard Cosell.

I gobbled up the Cosell material even though the entire chapter had been excerpted previously in Sports Illustrated, the professional home of L. Jon Wertheim, Michaels' adroit co-writer in this project. Michaels does an excellent Cosell impression (indeed, what's the point of doing that chapter if you don't plan to unfurl your Cosell?). To hear Michaels as Cosell uncork such beauties as "Know this, Pegaroo: I know who I am" is a hoot and a treat. Were there a third chapter that Michaels had chosen to narrate, I'd wished it had been the OJ chapter. Here, Michaels reveals for the first time his full role on the night the slow-motion Bronco chase. It's electric.

To hear Michaels recount his career looking back at 70 is to be stunned at just how many times he's been the main voice in our living room over the past 40 years. He was only 36 when his signature moment, The Miracle on Ice, took place. Since that time (and even before), he's headed up national broadcasts in all the major sports as well as horse racing. Of course, his long-standing tenure as the lead play-by-play on Monday Night Football and now Sunday Night Football has made him iconic.

Along the way, Al Michaels has collected some great stories. He's a great storyteller. The Audible version is the perfect format to hear what he has to say.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It feels like Al Michaels kept a well-written diary all this time, thinking that one day his journey could become a book. All his recollections are vivid and described in almost every detail. From his not-so-thrilling days as the Lakers stat reader to an absolute icon in the sports broadcasting industry, Al managed to put out a description of his career in a short length book that is worth reading every page. Best part? This book is far from a piece of egotism, ode-to-self memoir, but rather an enjoyable ride through sports history through the eyes of someone who not only enjoy sports himself, but also was there in person to witness it all.
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Format: Kindle Edition
First of all, I was surprised at the theme of YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS UP. This book is actually an autobiography, not really some type of secret, insider's gossip report. Al Michaels tells his story from his early years as a junior minor league baseball sportscaster, all the way to the top of his profession, as the play-by-play announcer on the most highly rated NFL show in the world. Each chapter in YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS UP represents a new job or locale for the author. We start off in the world of minor league baseball; by the end of the book we see Michaels at the top of his game as one of the veteran TV announcers for both NFL Monday Night Football, as well as NFL Sunday Night Football.

As a big sports fan, in his youth Michaels used some trickery to get into games for free. He tells the story where he called the box office, pretended to be a minor league player, and asked for the free tickets to be left at the box office for him. That trick scored him 2 free tickets.

The young Al Michaels was a huge fan of Vin Scully. For those readers who have heard Vin Scully on radio or television, you will know why Michaels adored him. In fact, when Michaels first got started in baseball play by play announcing, someone told him to "Just sound like Vin Scully." Well, that was certainly great advice.

The authors describe lots of crazy bloopers and funny incidents. One of the most unusual anecdotes in YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS UP is the story of Michaels with Howard Cosell, when Cosell breaks up a fist fight in a rough section of Kansas City. Driving through town, they saw a fight going on and Howard jumped out of the car to lecture the two antagonists, in a professorial tone.
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