Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Super Bowl Monday

Super Bowl Monday: from the Persian Gulf to the shores of west Florida: The New York Giants, the Buffalo Bills, and Super Bowl XXV
by Adam Lazarus
Lanham, Md. : Taylor Trade Pub., 2011.

*NOTE: This review refers to the book I received through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. As per the rules, I receive a free book in return for a review, and whether it's positive or negative has no affect on my receiving books in the future.*

Super Bowl XXV was held at the end of the 1990 season, a fantastic game between the Buffalo Bills - the new team on the block with a dynamic offense - and the New York Giants - the old guard, big on defense and a running game. Headed up by Jim Kelly and backup quarterback Jeff Hostetler, these teams competed in an exciting, closely contested game devoid of turnovers.

The subtitle "From the Persian Gulf to the Shores of West Florida: The New York Giants, the Buffalo Bulls, and Super Bowl XXV" is a little misleading. The Persian Gulf War is more of a backdrop, going on behind the scenes, and affecting the game in such ways as increasing security, and the discussion over whether or not the game should go on during a war. Really, it's all about the football. Lazarus begins by showing Hostetler and Kelly rising through the ranks in college to play in the NFL, overviews the season and playoffs, before diving in to the heart of the narrative: Super Bowl XXV. The play-by-play of this game is at the heart of the book and where Lazarus' writing really shines. He throws in other things, too, such as flashbacks to previous Super Bowls and a chapter on the assistant coaches working with the Giants who would go on to have fantastic careers of their own (Belichick and Coughlin, anyone?), but I found this gave the narrative a staccato rhythm, instead of building up momentum to the final play of the game. Also, he goes on a bit too long in the final chapters of "after" the big game, and I started to lose interest. Lazarus has clearly done his research and extensive interviews in 2010, so the inclusion of players' and coaches' reminiscences add a lot. If you're a Giants or a Bills fan - or even if you're just a football fan - it's worth a look.

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