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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Book Championship Series: Go Long! by Jerry Rice


 Let me just start by saying that Moneyball is fantastic.  Personally I love the NFL Draft so reading about the baseball draft and Billy Beane exploiting the inefficiencies in the market for players was very exciting.  Michael Lewis is a fantastic writer and he has really conveyed what the mood was like in the clubhouse during those years with the Oakland A's.  If you like Baseball, team building, advanced statistics prevailing over common knowledge then you will love this book.  I particularly enjoyed learning about all the different and actually useful baseball statistics being used today such as On Base Percentage and Defense Independent Pitching Statistic that make far more sense than things like Batting Average and Earned Run Average.

After finishing Moneyball last week I decided to jump right into Go Long! by Jerry Rice. Jerry Rice has been my favorite football player ever since I knew what football was.  While growing up I played football for 13 years and I was always a Tight End or Wide Receiver because I liked catching passes like Rice.  Of course I also wore #80 whenever I had the ability to choose my own number.  Jerry was a guy that I admired for his incredible ability to make really difficult plays look effortless, his unbelievable production, and his staunch focus on being a positive role-model.  There hasn't been a player since to combine those attributes as well as Rice did.  


Well you can imagine that when I saw his book for sale at the local Barnes & Noble a few weeks ago I snatched it right up.  On sale too!  This book gives a great inside perspective on why Jerry is such a driven individual.  It is also a great example of why people who are not professional writers need them to help write autobiographies.  Don't get me wrong, I loved reading every detail of this book but some of the passages really didn't make any sense and it almost seemed like this book is actually targeted to younger kids.  Jerry harps on morals and gives life lessons to the reader repeatedly.  He is also highly critical of teammates, like Steve Young, for no apparent reason.  

He devoted almost a third of the book to his experience in Dancing with the Stars which was disappointing to me because he is a football player not a dancer.  I guess it makes sense because the book was written shortly after the show ended but come on.  The guy is possibly the greatest football player of all time and one third of his autobiography is about the 6 months that he danced on a reality show?  Although I was generally disappointed by the book, I'm still a huge Jerry Rice fan and would absolutely read another autobiography if he decides to write a more comprehensive one.


Go Long! is only about 150 pages of 3rd grade level reading, so I finished it over the weekend.  Next up is Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer.  



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