- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; 7/19/09 edition (August 18, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061256811
- ISBN-13: 978-0061256813
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 176 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Boys Will Be Boys: The Glory Days and Party Nights of the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty Paperback – August 18, 2009
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From the Back Cover
They were called America's Team. Led by Emmitt Smith, the charismatic Deion "Prime Time" Sanders, Hall of Famers Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin—and lorded over by swashbuckling, power-hungry owner Jerry Jones and his two hard-living coaches, Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer—the Cowboys seemed indomitable on the football field throughout the 1990s. Off the field the 'Boys were a dysfunctional circus, fueled by ego, sex, drugs, and jaw-dropping excess. What they achieved on game day was astonishing; what they did the rest of the week was unbelievable.
Boys Will Be Boys is the rollicking story of the Dallas Cowboys in their prime—a team of wild-partying, out-of-control glory-hounds that won three Super Bowls in four years and earned their rightful place in sports lore as the most beloved and despised dynasty in NFL history.
About the Author
Jeff Pearlman is a columnist for SI.com, a former Sports Illustrated senior writer, and the critically acclaimed author of Boys Will Be Boys, The Bad Guys Won!, and Love Me, Hate Me.
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Personally, my enjoyment of following professional football ended in the 1980s as the 90s ushered in the new (and ongoing) phase of big money, massive media attention and selfishness compounded by stratospheric egos; an era defined by individuals outshining teams. After reading BOYS WILL BE BOYS, I now clearly see that the seeds for this change were sown when Jerry Jones decided to purchase the Dallas Cowboys. There are plenty of examples of outrageousness associated with Super Bowl champions (the ’85 Bears come to mind), but the NFL “dynasties” associated with the 60s (the disciplined Packers), 70s (the blue collar Steelers) and 80s (the nice-guy 49ers) don’t hold a candle to the outrageous swagger associated with the Cowboys of the 90s.
While this is the first Pearlman book I’ve read, his other books reveal a penchant for tackling more controversial sports subjects (Barry Bonds and Roger Clemons, for example). I was wondering if this book on the Cowboys was going to be an opinionated hatchet job to discredit a team with a huge fan base (and a hate-base that is arguably even larger). Instead of providing raw meat to Cowboy-haters (a sure bet for a bestseller?), Pearlman offers a refreshingly fair analysis of the 90s Cowboys that heaps equal doses of praise and scorn. Looking at this team and all its parts (players, coaches and owner) was like opening-up and examining an overstuffed Chipotle burrito … a messy pile of meat, rice and beans neatly wrapped by a soft tortilla. Starting with Jerry Jones purchasing the Cowboys, readers are taken on an entertaining ride that accounts for a good amount of football (three Super Bowl wins) and a whole lot of drama and decadence … a “sports-opera”. Many may know the framework of this dynamic team; its foundation is comprised of household names and sports legends (Jimmy Johnson, Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, etc.). But, rather than simply telling a story of how these men contributed to Dallas’ success, Pearlman weaves mini-biographies of each individual added to the storyline … revealing and intimate, these background stories certainly add depth to the book and explain (not justify) so much of the headline-making behavior I always associated with this team. I had no idea how bad the childhoods were for so many players and especially coach Barry Switzer.
Pearlman pulls most of his material from a large number of former Cowboy players. But, there is a noticeable absence of certain names from his pool of sources, names that comprise a bulk of the book’s content: Jimmy Johnson, Jerry Jones, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Deion Sanders and Charles Haley. With that being said, contributions from Michael Irvin and Barry Switzer certainly add a degree of credibility (which is important, considering the scandalous nature of so many off-field events being detailed often included them).
So what was so appealing about BOYS WILL BE BOYS? What I enjoyed so much about this book was that I received a better understanding of what those Cowboy teams were really all about … the good and the bad. While I remember snickering about the Cowboys 1-15 record in Johnson’s first season as coach, I appreciated reading how Johnson turned things around so quickly with his respected, but ill-received heavy-handed coaching style. Additionally, there is plenty of football discussed, including candid peer-commentary detailing the varying degrees of talent and work ethic of teammates. It is truly interesting how such a diverse group of players functioned so well (for a while) and how things started to unravel at the seams when Switzer replaced Johnson as the coach and an undisciplined team won a Super Bowl on sheer talent. Unlike other accounts of storied teams, those Cowboys seemed to celebrate their success, fame and wealth like no other and it eventually caught up with them (retribution). The mix of athletic achievement, big money, egos, drugs, alcohol, hookers, personality disorders and tension are the ingredients that make this book hard to put down. It is evident that the ego-driven Jerry Jones and the larger-than-life personas of “Prime Time”, Irvin and others are responsible for ushering in the materialistic, greedy and gaudy nature that constitutes the NFL we know today.
It really doesn’t matter if you love or hate the Cowboys to enjoy BOYS WILL BE BOYS … I don’t even think it matters whether or not you like football. This book is simply a well-written and entertaining group of stories that reveals what really lurks behind the façade of glory associated with winning big in (American) professional sports.
I am likely not the intended market for this book so take these comments with a grain of salt. However, being a sports nut and having read and enjoyed books such as the Jordan Rules (Sam Smith), Dream Team (Jack McCallum), the Book on Basketball (Bill Simmons and Golf Books by Bob Rotella, I will likely continue to read similar books in the future.
Especially comical is the "Praise" summary just inside the front cover:
"Jeff Pearlman does a masterful job of exposing the '90s Cowboys as shameless frauds and adulterers, sex addicts, and drug fiends." - John Gonzalez, Philadelphia Inquirer
Gonzalez' s full quote reads: "I would have given my left n*t for just ONE of those Cowboys' Super Bowl Trophies. I'm soooooo jealous!"