NFL insider Green brings together his two heroes—Ty (Football Hero, 2008) and Troy (Football Champ, 2009)—in this gridiron mystery focused on teen football phenoms.
The action takes place during a seven-on-seven tournament for middle-school athletes held during Super Bowl week. As often happens in Green’s tales, there are bad guys from the mob attempting to gain an illicit edge. Both Ty and Troy are targets of the D’Amico family, which requires that FBI agents play a role in guarding Ty while his brother, professional receiver Thane, recovers from a devastating knee injury. Ty is the featured character for the most part, but both Troy and Tate, a female friend, have a role to play. The football insights are the best part, as both professional games and seven-on-seven play are described in satisfying detail. All the other shenanigans are icing, and fairly non-essential icing at that. None of the fabulous lifestyle of limos, fancy hotels and big houses is hard to believe, but it distances readers from the characters, as do the overblown plot and inept cartoon mobsters. While mention is made of middle-school life, emphasis is on the game, and using real NFL famous names add spice. Acquaintance with the earlier titles is helpful, but Green recaps well enough that it’s not necessary.
Football fanatic fare. (Sports fiction. 10-14)