Football for a Buck: Book summary and reviews of Football for a Buck by Jeff Pearlman

Football for a Buck

The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL

by Jeff Pearlman

Football for a Buck by Jeff Pearlman X
Football for a Buck by Jeff Pearlman

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About this book

Book Summary

From a multiple New York Times bestselling author, the rollicking, outrageous, you-can't-make-this-up story of the USFL.

The United States Football League - known fondly to millions of sports fans as the USFL - was the last football league to not merely challenge the NFL, but cause its owners and executives to collectively shudder. It spanned three seasons, 1983-85. It secured multiple television deals. It drew millions of fans and launched the careers of legends. But then it died beneath the weight of a particularly egotistical and bombastic owner - a New York businessman named Donald J. Trump. The league featured as many as 18 teams, and included such superstars as Steve Young, Jim Kelly, Herschel Walker, Reggie White, Doug Flutie and Mike Rozier.

In Football for a Buck, the dogged reporter and biographer Jeff Pearlman draws on more than four hundred interviews to unearth all the salty, untold stories of one of the craziest sports entities to have ever captivated America. From 1980s drug excess to airplane brawls and player-coach punch outs, to backroom business deals, to some of the most enthralling and revolutionary football ever seen, Pearlman transports readers back in time to this crazy, boozy, audacious, unforgettable era of the game. He shows how fortunes were made and lost on the backs of professional athletes and also how, thirty years ago, Trump was a scoundrel and a spoiler.

For fans of Terry Pluto's Loose Balls or Jim Bouton's Ball Four and of course Pearlman's own stranger-than-fiction narratives, Football for a Buck is sports as high entertainment - and a cautionary tale of the dangers of ego and excess.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This is an excellent book for football junkies, but it's just as enthralling for a general audience." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Wonderful anecdotes ... Fascinating and hilarious reading on a half-dozen levels. Just great for football fans who like to laugh." - Booklist

"Gridiron fans of all stripes will find this a fascinating exercise in the collision of money, entertainment, politics, and ego." - Kirkus

"[D]eeply reported, deftly told, smart, hilarious, sad, riveting - and prescient...Pearlman captures the troubled lavishness of mid-80s America and foreshadows so many of the issues that professional football - and the country - are experiencing today. Oh, and there's a lot of sex and drugs." - Seth Wickersham, ESPN The Magazine senior writer

"If foreshadowing was passing yards this book would be Jim Kelly. A definitive history of a wild and wooly football league fondly remembered three decades after its demise; but also a definitive preview to the 45th president." - L. Jon Wertheim, Sports Illustrated

"When I started this book, I wasn't interested in the USFL. By the time I fished it, I wanted a sequel, a USFL movie, and Tampa Bay Bandits action figures. Jeff Pearlman's joy for this wild old league is contagious as hell. Great read. I'm in. GO MAULERS!!" - Kyle Brandt, co-host of NFL Network's Good Morning Football

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Author Information

Jeff Pearlman

Jeff Pearlman is the New York Times best-selling author of eight books, including The Bad Guys Won!, Boys Will Be Boys, Showtime, Sweetness and Gunslinger. He lives in Southern California with his wife Catherine and children, Casey and Emmett. He is the host of the Two Writers Slinging Yang podcast and blogs regularly at jeffpearlman.com.

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