DUANE THOMAS AND THE FALL OF AMERICA'S TEAM by Duane & Paul Zimmerman Thomas
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DUANE THOMAS AND THE FALL OF AMERICA'S TEAM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Although the taciturn Thomas gets equal billing here as co-author, he is actually just along for the ride as Zimmerman, author of The Last Season of Weeb Ewbank (1974), uses a visit with the former football running back at a Dallas Cowboys' camp as a jumping-off point for an ironic look at Thomas' self-reconstruction--and the Cowboys' apparent self-destruction. It turns out that the troubled young man who, during his two years with the Cowboys' Superbowl teams of 1971 and 1972, set a new standard of brevity (answering a Tom Brookshier question, ""Are you really that fast?,"" Thomas' famous reply was, ""Evidently"") was actually keeping a 200-page journal into which he poured all the feelings and words that he refused to let out in conversation. Some of his entries detail his enmity for Cowboy bigwigs (Tom Landry: ""an illusionist who used Christianity for his own vanity, greed, and power""; Tex Schramm: ""a horse-trading mentality""; Gil Brandt: ""no integrity and no alliance to anything but power and money. . .a liar""). Other entries are deeply personal: ""Out of all the conflict and fear in this world, silence was my way of creating a perfect place within myself""; ""Personal vanity is a disease. . .love the sport in yourself, not yourself in the sport."" Zimmerman evokes the down-and-out years of Thomas, as he bounced around the NFL and the World Football League, then failed at several business ventures. But, in the end, the irony remains: as ""the weak one was becoming strong, the strong one was on the verge of a great slide. . .they passed each other in transit."" In this unusually revealing sport book, Thomas comes across as a likable person through many moments that have about them almost the ring of poetry. One of the best football books of the season.

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1988
Publisher: Warner