Reviewed by Chuck Dayton
This is a treatise written by a
journalist and former sports reporter and play-by-play man. It is his ruminations about his fanatical
habits of watching football and being a fan of the game since early childhood. This book is neither long nor complicated,
but the end result of reading it may be both long and complicated for the
I am a football fan, of course, as any
family member will attest. I have given
some thought through the years to the sham of college football, but that hasn’t
deterred me from being a Hawkeye fan or watching NFL games on TV. I will say up front that my fandom and
viewing habits have not yet changed since I read this book, but I am still
thinking the over the issues which are presented here.
Almond divides his concerns over football
into chapters addressing each of them.
His major moral questions center around head injuries and concussions at
all levels of the game, money and tax issues associated with the professional
game, the continuous charade of the “student-athlete” in the college game, the
“rape culture” that surrounds both college and professional players, and the
general and overall affect a game of aggression and violence has on society in
Almond makes some sweeping
recommendations in the epilogue of the book.
Among others, they include: revoke the NFL’s non-profit status – let
them pay taxes!; enforce a weight limit on players; include graduation rates in
a college team’s national ranking; and require a 3.0 GPA to play varsity
football. In another part of the book,
he also argues for the disengagement of football from universities and
substituting clubs (at NFL expense), which is the European model for sport.
This book has some food for
thought. Mr. Almond has stopped watching
all football as a result of his research.
He also admits that most who read this book conclude he is crazy! Each person, after reading what is presented
here, can make a decision for her or himself about the future of football in
their individual life.