THE SUPER BOWL

CHASING FOOTBALL IMMORTALITY

From the Spectacular Sports series

A memorable and thought-provoking work of sportswriting that transcends the excitement of championship games.

Although the Super Bowl is at the hub of Doeden’s story, he also follows the evolution of professional football from mud bath to cultural institution and beyond.

It wasn’t until the 1920s that the sport rose above the status of Midwestern semipastime. It was during that decade, Doeden explains, that the owners of the 11 professional teams created what was to become the National Football League. Of equal importance, writes Doeden, a championship game was established. It didn’t matter that it was held on a field that was 20 yards short “and hadn’t been properly cleaned after a circus had been in town.” Still, “it didn’t take the league long to discover that playoff games made a lot of money.” Doeden easily negotiates all the brouhaha surrounding the upstart American Football League and the inevitable path to a clash between the two leagues. Sidebars complement the accounts of great contests, memorable plays, and halftime extravaganzas (tactfully dodging the wardrobe malfunction). Doeden doesn’t mince words when it comes to chronic traumatic encephalopathy: “A 2016 study showed that 40 percent of retired NFL players showed some sign of brain injury.” His big question is equally frank: “How far can the rule changes go before the game itself stops resembling the game that fans love?”

A memorable and thought-provoking work of sportswriting that transcends the excitement of championship games. (Nonfiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-2754-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

PLAY LIKE A GIRL

A sincere, genuine, and uplifting book that affirms the importance of being true to yourself.

Middle school drama hits hard in this coming-of-age graphic memoir.

Natural competitor Misty has faced off against the boys for years, always coming out on top, but now they’re moving on without her into the land of full-contact football. Never one to back away from a challenge, Misty resolves to join the team and convinces her best friend, Bree, to join her. While Misty pours herself into practicing, obviously uninterested Bree—who was motivated more by getting to be around boys than doing sports—drifts toward popular queen bee Ava, creating an uneasy dynamic. Feeling estranged from Bree, Misty, who typically doesn’t think much about her appearance, tries to navigate seventh grade—even experimenting with a more traditionally feminine gender expression—while also mastering her newfound talent for tackling and facing hostility from some boys on the team. Readers with uncommon interests will relate to the theme of being the odd one out. Social exclusion and cutting remarks can be traumatic, so it’s therapeutic to see Misty begin to embrace her differences instead of trying to fit in with frenemies who don’t value her. The illustrations are alive with color and rich emotional details, pairing perfectly with the heartfelt storytelling. The husband-and-wife duo’s combined efforts will appeal to fans of Raina Telgemeier and Shannon Hale. Main characters present as White; some background characters read as Black.

A sincere, genuine, and uplifting book that affirms the importance of being true to yourself. (Graphic memoir. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-306469-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

THE GREATEST FOOTBALL TEAMS OF ALL TIME

A football fan’s treasure trove of magic seasons and moments.

Storied football teams are ranked and compared.

After an introduction that establishes the subjectivity of any sort of greatest rankings (“Because the only thing better than watching football is arguing about it afterward”) and defines the familiar-to-sports-fans acronym G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time), this book sets out to build cases for which teams (and players) were the best. An unsurprisingly NFL–heavy book, the first chapter covers 20 top NFL teams season by season; this makes up roughly the first half of the book. The selected seasons range from 1940 (the Bears) to 2016 (the Patriots), with some franchises appearing more than once. Alongside narrative highlights of the team’s season, each set of two spreads includes sidebars covering impressive team statistics and interesting anecdotes (such as the first player to dump Gatorade on a coach, strange sports superstitions, and a prank involving an alligator in a shower). The second chapter breaks from the team focus to select individual NFL players at each position, and the third chapter branches out to single-season college teams (limited to 10, which is sure to disappoint readers from unrepresented college football towns). Then the book returns to the NFL with blurbs about the best year for each franchise, takes a break to highlight a single team from a handful of other leagues (including Canadian and a women’s league), before returning to the NFL for a collection of top-10 lists by team stats.

A football fan’s treasure trove of magic seasons and moments. (index) (Nonfiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68330-072-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Sports Illustrated Books

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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