Things I've Learned from Watching the Browns

Terry Pluto - 2010
    In his latest tome, he bares his chest about why C-Town's football faithful can't give up on their hometown favorites. (P.S. Not to rub it in, but over the last seven seasons, the Brownies record has been 38-74. Now that's true fan love.)

Raw: My 100% Grade-A, Unfiltered, Inside Look at Sports

Colin Cowherd - 2015
    But Colin Cowherd knows what really goes on—and he’s not afraid to share the vivid details of everything ESPN doesn’t show. From hotel parties for athletes and other industry professionals, to gossip from the road between games, to what happens behind closed doors, Cowherd—who has interviewed everyone from President Barack Obama to Kate Upton—draws on personal experiences to offer you an exclusive look into the rarefied, outrageous, ego-mad sports world. With unparalleled candor and the signature, brazen voice his fans have come to know and love, Cowherd offers a unique vantage point of places and events otherwise curtained to the general sports audience, while weaving in his opinions on aspects of competition, tradition, and all things refereed. If you want honest, unvarnished opinions on current sports rivalries, scandals, and statistics, it’s all in Raw—from one of America’s most outspoken sports broadcasters on air today.

On the Clock: The Story of the NFL Draft

Barry Wilner - 2015
    No passing, running, tackling, or kicking. Hey, there isn't even a field. Yet the draft has become more popular than many other sporting events, including the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL) playoff games, against which it goes head-to-head for viewers. In fact, the draft has spawned its own cottage industry in which names such as Gil Brandt, Mel Kiper, Jr., and Mike Mayock become as well-known as any of the first-round selections.In On the Clock, Ken Rappoport and Barry Wilner chronicle the history of the proceedings. The veteran sports writers take you from the first grab bag in 1936, when Philadelphia chose Heisman Trophy winner Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago and saw him decline to play in the NFL, to the 2014 draft—considered one of the deepest in talent ever.Along the 78-year journey, learn about the competitions for the top overall spot (Peyton Manning vs. Ryan Leaf), the unhappy No. 1s (John Elway and Tom Cousineau), the big flops (JaMarcus Russell) and the late-rounders-turned-superstars (Tom Brady).Meet the draft wizards, from Paul Brown to Bill Walsh and Jimmy Johnson. And the draft whiffs that cost personnel executives their jobs.On the Clock takes you behind the scenes at one of pro football’s yearly major events. Barry Wilner has been a sportswriter for the Associated Press since 1975. He has covered virtually every major sporting event, including twelve Olympics, nine World Cups, twenty-six Super Bowls, the World Series, and the Stanley Cup finals, and has written thirty-nine books. He lives in Garnerville, New York.Ken Rappoport is the author of more than sixty sports books for adults and young readers. Working for the Associated Press in New York for thirty years, he has written about every major sport. His assignments included the World Series, the NBA Finals, and, as the AP’s national hockey writer, the Stanley Cup Finals and the Olympics. He lives in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey.

The Curse: The Colorful & Chaotic History of the LA Clippers

Mick Minas - 2016
    Author Mick Minas goes behind the scenes-- interviewing players, coaches, and front office personnel--to create the first in-depth look at the history of the Clippers.The Curse is filled with drama: the unauthorized relocation of the franchise that led to the NBA filing a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the Clippers, the disruption of the team's first playoff appearance by the Los Angeles riots, the bold but unsuccessful attempt to sign Kobe Bryant at the peak of his career, and the scandal that ultimately resulted in owner Donald Sterling being banned from the NBA for life. Featuring some of basketball's biggest names, including World B. Free, Elgin Baylor, Danny Manning, Doc Rivers, Larry Brown, Dominique Wilkins, Elton Brand, Baron Davis, Blake Griffin, and Chris Paul, The Curse delves into the disasters of the past and the complications of the present. This is the definitive history of the NBA's most dysfunctional franchise.

The 100 Greatest Players In NHL History (And Other Stuff): An Arbitrary Collection of Arbitrary Lists

Greg Wyshynski - 2017
    Then check out their other lists and insights from the first 100 years of the NHL, including: - The Top 10 Ways The NHL Will Be Different in 25 Years - The Top 10 Most Questionable Decisions Under Gary Bettman - The 10 Worst Teams In NHL History - And the biggest gripes the authors had with each other’s rankings All of this makes THE 100 GREATEST PLAYERS IN NHL HISTORY (AND OTHER STUFF) a must-read for sports fans who love raging debates and the glorious weirdness of hockey!

Death Comes to Happy Valley: Penn State and the Tragic Legacy of Joe Paterno

Jonathan Mahler - 2012
    The winningest coach ever in college football, crafter of The Grand Experiment that put honor and academics above all else, finished his days under the dark cloud of shame and unspeakable child abuse. How? Why? What mix of fandom, ego, and unfettered power brought Penn State and its beloved coach to this? Just days after Paterno’s death comes this insightful look at the rise of Penn State under the 46-year reign of the man affectionately known as Joe Pa. Acclaimed writer Jonathan Mahler, author of the bestseller "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx is Burning", has been immersed in reporting the Paterno saga since the scandal broke last fall. His penetrating narrative traces the arc of Paterno’s career from dogged Ivy League quarterback to visionary coach to unassailable icon. Over the years, as his fame and reputation grew, Happy Valley (as State College, Pennsylvania, was often called) morphed into the realm of Paterno; the chant “We Are Penn State” could just as easily have been “We Are Coach Paterno.” It was perhaps inevitable that what Mahler calls “a slow rot” began to pervade Joe Pa’s football program, culminating with the horrific scandal that rocked Penn State and forever altered the Paterno story. "As it all unraveled," Mahler writes, "he seemed to resemble less his hero Aeneas, building a new nation—Penn State Nation—in Happy Valley, than King Lear, clinging stubbornly to the throne when he no longer had the judgment required to remain in it, then succumbing to the grief and anguish that accompanied the collapse of everything he had so painstakingly built."Mahler’s admiring yet honest assessment shows what can happen when a school, and an entire community, falls under a cult of personality. Part eulogy, part post-mortem, part wise appraisal, "Death Comes to Happy Valley" is a thoughtful farewell to the larger-than-life man who was, in fact, merely mortal.***"An elegant book with a perfect ratio of reportage, biography and criticism. It gently pulls Joe Pa off the pedestal upon which he has long stood." — Dwight Garner, The New York Times***Jonathan Mahler is a contributing writer to the "New York Times Magazine" and the author of the bestselling "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City" (the basis for the ESPN mini-series “The Bronx Is Burning”) and "The Challenge: How a Maverick Navy Officer and a Young Law Professor Risked Their Careers to Defend the Constitution—and Won."

Drive for Five: The Remarkable Run of the 2016 Patriots

Christopher Price - 2017
    They become larger than life and bigger than anyone ever thought possible, leaping off the field, the court, or the diamond and into the annals of not only history, but the very fabric of the American milieu. We all just witnessed such a moment on February 5th, 2017, when the New England Patriots battled back from the largest deficit in Super Bowl history to once again become world champions and secure Tom Brady's legacy as the greatest quarterback of all time.Amid a season of controversy, turmoil, and the most tumultuous political climate of our lifetime, the Patriots won. In spite of becoming entangled in the national spotlight on several occasions, the Patriots won. And in spite of being faced with any number of circumstances that would sink almost every other franchise in the NFL, the Patriots won.The season began with the fallout around Deflategate and losing their MVP-caliber quarterback for the first four games of the season, but honestly, the Deflategate saga was just a small part of it all.This is the story of how the Patriots rallied together as a team to surpass their obstacles on and off the football field and how that led to a remarkable run to the title - and the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.Complete with player interviews, behind-the-scenes stories never told before, and content provided by Patriots players themselves, Drive for Five provides a unique level of insight and access to the story behind the legendary New England Patriots' 2016 season.

Feed The Beast: Jon Parkin

Jon Parkin - 2018
    Overpaid. Ungrateful. Removed from reality. These words are often used to describe modern day footballers. None of them apply to Jon Parkin. The South Yorkshire boy has seen and done it all in a footballing life that peaked with promotion to the Premier League and plummeted to the National League North, taking in spells with no fewer than 14 different clubs. His story is one of a natural goalscorer whose talent is always in demand. His unconventional frame and liking for a lager or ten meant pre-season was always a struggle. His straight-talking style and knack of finding himself in trouble resulted in countless bust-ups with managers. But when patience, cash or contracts ran out, there was always another club ready to take a chance on him. Along the way there have been battles with booze, betting and depression. Marital breakdown and brushes with the law didn’t help, while thousands of motorway miles were covered in a bid to stay in touch with his Barnsley roots and his beloved son. There’s also been plenty of mischief. One holidaymaker in Magaluf won’t easily forget what she found in Parkin’s bath while there’s a golf towel in a hospital car park that nobody would want to find. FEED THE BEAST will feed your curiosity about the real life of a footballer.

The Rocky Road

Eamon Dunphy - 2013

Barça: The Illustrated History of FC Barcelona

Guillem Balagué - 2016
    It is not just that the team has won everything there is to win, it is that they do it with a style rarely seen in the world of soccer. They have excited fans not just in Catalonia, but all around the globe, making household names of Xavi, Messi, Iniesta, Ronaldinho, Romario, Maradona, Cruyff, and many more over more than a century of soccer excellence. This book traces the club's history from its formation in 1899, the trials and tribulations of growth, the battle to emerge from the shadow—politically and sportingly—of Madrid, the blossoming of the club in the 1970s, European glory in the 1980s and 1990s, and now this juggernaut of soccer that brushes aside all-comers. Features on the legends of Barcelona give deeper insight into the clubs key players and the lively, informative text is brought to life by dramatic action images.

The Breakaway: The Inside Story of the Wirtz Family Business and the Chicago Blackhawks

Bryan Smith - 2018
    As chronic losers playing to a deserted stadium, they were worse than bad—they were irrelevant. ESPN named the franchise the worst in all of sports. Rocky's resurrection of the team's fortunes was—publicly, at least—a feel-good tale of shrewd acumen. Behind the scenes, however, it would trigger a father, son, and brother-against-brother drama of Shakespearean proportions. The Breakaway reveals that untold story. Arthur Wirtz founded the family's business empire during the Depression. From roots in real estate, "King Arthur" soon expanded into liquor and banking, running his operations with an iron hand and a devotion to profit that earned him the nickname Baron of the Bottom Line. His son Bill further expanded the conglomerate, taking the helm of the Blackhawks in 1966. "Dollar Bill" Wirtz demanded unflinching adherence to Arthur's traditions and was notorious for an equally fierce temperament. Yet when Rocky took the reins of the business after Bill's death, it was an organization out of step with the times and financially adrift. The Hawks weren't only failing on the ice—the parlous state of the team's finances imperiled every facet of the Wirtz empire. To save the team and the company, Rocky launched a radical turnaround campaign. Yet his modest proposal to televise the Hawks' home games provoked fierce opposition from Wirtz family insiders, who considered any deviation from Arthur and Bill's doctrines to be heresy. Rocky's break with the edicts of his grandfather and father led to a reversal for the ages—three Stanley Cup championships in six years, a feat Fortune magazine called "the greatest turnaround in sports business history." But this resurrection came at a price, a fracturing of Rocky's relationships with his brother and other siblings. In riveting prose that recounts a story spanning three generations, The Breakaway reveals an insider's view of a brilliant but difficult Chicago business and sports dynasty and the inspiring story of perseverance and courage in the face of intense family pressures.

The Grim Reaper: The Life and Career of a Reluctant Warrior

Stu Grimson - 2019
    They all grew up dreaming of skating in the big league as stars. Then one day, a coach tells them the only way to make it is to drop the gloves. And every guy says the same thing: I'll do whatever it takes to play in the NHL.Not Stu Grimson, though. When he was offered a contract to patrol the ice for the Calgary Flames, he said no thanks, and went to university instead. And that's the way Grimson has approached his career and his life: on his own terms. He stared down the toughest players on the planet for seventeen years, while working on his first university degree. He retired on his own terms, and went on to practice law, including a stint as in-house counsel for the NHLPA.This has put him in a unique position when it comes to commenting on the game. He's seen it from the trenches, and he's seen it from the courtroom. This puts him in the eye of the storm surrounding fighting and concussions. And he handles that the way he does everything: on his own terms. When Don Cherry called him out on televison, it was the seemingly indominable Cherry who backed down. Hockey fans will be fascinated by his data-driven defence of fighting.But in the end, this is not a book about fighting and locker-room stories. It's the story of a young man who ultimately took on the toughest role in pro sports and came out the other side. Where many others have not.

Shay – Any Given Saturday: : The Autobiography

Shay Given - 2017
     He has played in World Cups and FA Cup finals; shared a dressing room with football greats like Roy Keane, Alan Shearer and Robbie Keane and worked under celebrated managers like Kenny Dalglish, Bobby Robson and Martin O’Neill. But Shay has had to show courage and strength of mind to get where he wanted in life. At four years old, he cruelly lost his mother to cancer at the age of just 41. Mum Agnes’s dying wish was that Dad Seamus would keep the family together. Seamus kept his word and the Given clan watched with pride as Shay forged a record-breaking career in the sport he loved. From Donegal to Saipan, Glasgow to Wembley and Tyneside to Paris, it’s been some journey. Shay has seen it all. Glorious highs and desperate lows. Dressing room wind-ups and team-bonding punch-ups. Brutal injuries and crippling self-doubt. Along the way, he has made so many friends. When one of his closest pals, Gary Speed, died suddenly in 2011, he was devastated. He played on, doing the only thing he knew to get him through the pain – pulling on a shirt and a pair of gloves. Shay loves football – for him, nothing can beat the buzz of a Saturday afternoon or the thrill of a big match night under lights. But he has never lost touch with the fans who make the game what it is. Entertaining, opinionated and inspirational, his long-awaited autobiography ANY GIVEN SATURDAY features a stellar cast of famous football names from the past 25 years. It tugs at the heart strings, bubbles with banter and lets slip secrets behind the big stories. This is a rare journey behind the scenes as told by one of our own.

Committed: Confessions of a Fantasy Football Junkie

Mark St. Amant - 2004
     As seen on ESPN's Cold Pizza Fantasy football -- one of America's most popular, and profitable, virtual pastimes -- became a way of life for sports humorist and author Mark St. Amant. Utterly fed up with never having won his league championship, St. Amant abandoned a successful advertising career to make fantasy football his full-time job, embarking on a sprawling reconnaissance mission to discover what really makes this game, and its 20 million players, tick. Committed is the result of St. Amant's ranting, relentless, and strategic pursuit of his own obsession. In this wickedly funny and deeply informative work, St. Amant offers readers an all-access sideline pass to his wild, unprecedented fantasy football season, and to the hobby itself. From its humble beginnings in a New York hotel in 1962 to a multibillion-dollar business today, from local and online leagues to high-stakes, cutthroat Las Vegas competitions, St. Amant lays bare the facts, figures, and fanaticism of fantasy football in all its multidimensional glory.

Catch 22: My Battles, in Hockey and Life

Rick Vaive - 2020
    He did it three years in a row (only two others have scored 50 since) before being unceremoniously stripped of his captaincy and traded out of town, and he did it for a promising team that was nonetheless largely stuck at the bottom of the standings. So why isn't his number 22 hanging from the rafters of the Leafs' rink and his name as revered in Leafs lore as Gilmour, Sundin and Clark?You could blame it on a team that lost far more than it won. You could blame Harold Ballard and his erratic ownership. You could blame the fans, the media...Rick Vaive doesn't blame anybody. Sometimes, life just doesn't go your way. He'd know. Growing up in a household plagued by alcoholism, the gifted young hockey player took shelter in the company of his grandmother and a blind and severely disabled uncle. Rick learned quickly that there are more valuable things in life than hockey. Even after his promising coaching career stopped dead when it ran into Don Cherry in Mississauga--one of the worst seasons in Ontario junior hockey history--he still doesn't point fingers. Life is too sweet for regrets, but learning that lesson can be one hell of a ride.