Based on a series of articles in Sports Illustrated, a solid, if hardly startling, review of the excessive violence, the commercialism, and the galloping Lombardoism of football at all levels. If football doesn't shape up, Underwood suggests, it could become too violent, expensive, and boring to compete with cleaner, faster games like soccer. On the pro level, such vicious techniques as the hayhook, the clothesline, clubbing, ear-holing, spearing, and butt-blocking are not only practiced, but taught. The problem is that they're legal (and, unfortunately, not all fully explained here). The helmet, moreover, has turned into a lethal weapon responsible for 29 percent of serious brain and spinal injuries. The face mask, instead of saving teeth, has become a handle to crack vertebrae. Artificial playing surfaces, supposed to prevent injuries, have been found to be more dangerous than grass in 17 out of 17 categories studied. Meanwhile the NFL, lulled by huge profits, does nothing. Despite some repetitiousness and some excess outrage, the best all-round appraisal of the current scene--with repercussions down to the Little League level.