Football writer and New York Daily News columnist Myers (Brady vs Manning: The Untold Story of the Rivalry that Transformed the NFL, 2015, etc.) looks at how fathers shape the on-field habits of their quarterback sons.
Is there a formula for nurturing a winning quarterback? No, at least not one that can be discerned in this book. Indeed, the author rather wanly notes, “there is more than one way to raise a quarterback.” In this gathering of profiles of some of the usual suspects, including Eli Manning and Joe Montana, Myers observes that some fathers make great sacrifices to be on hand for their boys as they grow into the sport, while others stay at some distance in order not to be stage fathers. None are completely disengaged, at least not in this collection, and some far from it. As the author writes in the opening profile, Jim Harbaugh’s father, Jack, was a one-man cheerleading squad, coach, and catch partner all in one, while, in a later profile, he notes that Jameis Winston’s dad, a highway maintenance worker, had his son playing tackle football at the age of 4. Throughout, the writing is pedestrian but rah-rah: “Jameis is his football stage name. Just like how Tom Brady is never called ‘Tommy’ in the media or by Patriots fans, but his parents, his wife, his sisters, and his closest friends all call him Tommy.” The stories are pleasant enough but not terribly revealing; the most engaging, if perhaps a touch mean, is a look at how the genius QB gene seems to have skipped generations in the case of Joe Montana’s sons. There’s just not much depth here, and one can only imagine what, say, Frank Deford might have made of the same material in seeking out what lesser dads might do to goose their sons along.
No better and no worse than the human-interest sports profiles on a local TV channel.