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The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game Paperback – September 17, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. As he did so memorably for baseball in Moneyball, Lewis takes a statistical X-ray of the hidden substructure of football, outlining the invisible doings of unsung players that determine the outcome more than the showy exploits of point scorers. In his sketch of the gridiron arms race, first came the modern, meticulously choreographed passing offense, then the ferocious defensive pass rusher whose bone-crunching quarterback sacks demolished the best-laid passing game, and finally the rise of the left tackle—the offensive lineman tasked with protecting the quarterback from the pass rusher—whose presence is felt only through the game-deciding absence of said sacks. A rare creature combining 300 pounds of bulk with "the body control of a ballerina," the anonymous left tackle, Lewis notes, is now often a team's highest-paid player. Lewis fleshes this out with the colorful saga of left tackle prodigy Michael Oher. An intermittently homeless Memphis ghetto kid taken in by a rich white family and a Christian high school, Oher's preternatural size and agility soon has every college coach in the country courting him obsequiously. Combining a tour de force of sports analysis with a piquant ethnography of the South's pigskin mania, Lewis probes the fascinating question of whether football is a matter of brute force or subtle intellect. Photos. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
From Bookmarks Magazine
As in Moneyball (**** July/Aug 2003), which chronicled the strategies behind the Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane, Berkeley-based author Michael Lewis takes a personal look at a complicated game in his newest nonfiction extravaganza. Just as they embraced Moneyball, critics eagerly wrap their arms around The Blind Side. It's much more than a treatise on football; it's an exploration of the limits of conventional thinking and how strategic changes affect the value of quick-footed behemoths. However, while most reviewers are positive, something holds them back. Maybe Lewis makes it all look too easy. Or perhaps, as The New York Times charges, he takes the easy route through a complicated set of stories. That he makes it easy for his reader to comprehendand enjoyis enough for most critics to give Lewis's latest a rousing cheer.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
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Top customer reviews
In the first half of the book, Lewis weaves back and forth between the life of Oher and the evolution of football and why the left tackle is so much more important to the NFL game than it used to be. Once that introduction is done, he writes little of interest to fans of the game. The rest of the book is all on Oher's life in high school, college and then goes back his life before college. All of that is an interesting read, but not really football related.
So, if you are looking for a book on football strategy and game planning, skip this one. This is nothing like Moneyball. But if you are looking for an interesting biography about a football player, then this is a fine book.
Do not be mistaken, Lewis writing here is still excellent. The pages are informative and turn quickly. He is a masterful storyteller. The strongest parts of the book are his analysis of Lawrence Taylor, Bill Walsh and the evolution of the modern NFL game that led to the importance of left tackles like Anthony Munoz, Jonathan Ogden, and Orlando Pace.
The Michael Oher story is a lovely and heartwarming tale, but it is lessened a bit by the fact that he became (at best) an average NFL left tackle and his recent arrest stemming from an assault on an uber driver in Nashville in April, 2017. Oher is easy to root for, and Mr. Lewis does an outstanding job explaining the social forces that were stacked against Mr. Oher throughout his young life and putting them into context when comparing the experiences of many blacks and many whites in the United States. For many readers, this will be the closest they get to black poverty - Mr. Lewis has presented the issues thoughtfully.
The question about whether or not the Tuohy's role in helping him was motivated by pure goodness or a desire to see Briarcrest and Ole Miss get a star left tackle will always linger. I trust Mr. Lewis to flush out truths, and he portrays the Tuohy family as loving and sincere. Still, they did not do this with a semi-athletic star (critics of this claim will say the Oher was not on anyone's radar when the Tuohy's took him in, but super large high school sophomores that move like him easily attract lots of attention) or a non-athlete.