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Publisher's Summary

From the number one New York Times best-selling author of This Town, an equally merciless probing of America's biggest cultural force, pro football, at a moment of peak success and high anxiety

Like millions of Americans, Mark Leibovich has spent more of his life tuned in to pro football than he'd care to admit. Being a lifelong New England Patriots fan meant growing up on a steady diet of lovable loserdom. That is until the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era made the Pats the most ruthlessly efficient and polarizing sports dynasty of the modern NFL, and its fans the most irritating in all of Pigskin America. Leibovich kept his obsession quiet, making a nice career for himself covering that other playground for rich and overgrown children, American politics. Still, every now and then Leibovich would reach out to Tom Brady to gauge his willingness to subject himself to a profile. He figured that the chances of Brady agreeing were a Hail Mary at best, but Brady returned Mark's call in summer 2014 and kept on returning his calls through epic Patriots Super Bowl victory and defeat, and a scandal involving Brady - Deflategate - whose grip on sports media was as profound as its true significance was ridiculous. 

So began a four-year odyssey that took Mark Leibovich deeper inside the NFL than anyone has gone before. From the owners' meeting to the draft to the sidelines of crucial games, he takes in the show at the elbow of everyone from Brady to big-name owners to the cordially despised NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell. Ultimately, Big Game is a chronicle of "peak football" - the high point of the sport's economic success and cultural dominance but also the time when the dark side began to show. It is an era of explosive revenue growth but also one of creeping existential fear. Players have long joked that NFL stands for "not for long", but as the true impact of concussions becomes inescapable background noise, it's increasingly difficult to enjoy the simple glory of football without the buzzkill of its obvious consequences.

And that was before Donald Trump. In 2016, Mark's day job caught up with him, and the NFL slammed headlong into America's culture wars. Big Game is a journey through an epic storm. Through it all, Leibovich always keeps one eye on Tom Brady and his beloved Patriots, through to the 2018 Super Bowl. Pro football, this hilarious and enthralling book proves, may not be the sport America needs, but it is most definitely the sport we deserve.

©2018 Mark Leibovich (P)2018 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    52
  • 4 Stars
    41
  • 3 Stars
    12
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    3

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    56
  • 4 Stars
    26
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    3
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    3

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    46
  • 4 Stars
    29
  • 3 Stars
    16
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    3
Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Average, overall

narrator clearly had never watched football and couldn't pronounce names. Story was too short-sighted. average overall

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I think you need to change the title

While I really enjoyed listening to this book, I think it was given the wrong title. It should be The Life and Times of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great read; funny and sarcastic

Gives us a peek behind the curtain of the NFL, told with a love of the game and a disdain for the league. Mostly about football as a business, with a lot of time spent on Tom Brady. A lot like This Town, a book on the Washington D.C. political scene by the same author. Except the author loves football while thinking much less of D.C. The same narrator for both books too, which is great because he performs with a dry humor and deep sarcasm befitting the subject.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Glib snark from a Patriot fan with an axe to grind

If you're a self-hating Patriot fan, you might enjoy this. If you're just an average football fan, I can't recommend it at all.

Major themes are Deflategate, Roger Goodell is a twit, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (Concussions), Tom Brady is a shallow health nut, Roger Goodell is a twit, Deflategate, Trump, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (Concussions), clownish team owners, Roger Goodell is a twit, Deflategate. In other words, not much football to see here.

Narrator was solid though.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Reader needs to learn names

Barrett incorrectly states names dozens of times. Enjoyed the content but Leibovich misstated purpose for anthem protests - it’s not against the anthem, it’s against police brutality and for civil rights.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating Look behind the Shield

Wow! I pre-ordered this book, loaded it early one Thursday morning and finished it Sunday afternoon (incidentally, on my way home from the Patriots' season opener). I couldn't turn it off. This author somehow secured unprecedented access behind the scenes in NFL meetings, with the commissioner, and with key owners like Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones. He blends a lot of information into a very readable/listenable analysis of the NFL.

The book examines on-the-field issues, players safety (particularly CTE), the business side of the sport, and, as a result of the 2016 election, the spillover of politics into the pro football. It sounds like a hodge-podge of topics, but Leibovich blends them together in a compelling narrative.

Revenue projections. The politics and economics of the relocation of the Rams,Chargers, and Raiders franchises. Brady family dynamics as they relate to the QB's career, legacy, and treatment by the Patriots. Ownership power struggles. the commissionerr's relationship with owners. National-anthem protests, the president, owners, the commissioner, and the reaction of fans. It's all in here.

Jerry Jones steals the show. First, his comment on the $250 per bottle booze that he drinks. His comment was something like (remember, I listened to the book, so I can't refer back to print), "It's not the cost of the bottle itself that most people can't afford. It's what they do after consuming the bottle that gets them into financial trouble." Second, you won't believe how excited he used to become when he sold shoes. It's pretty vivid.

This book is a must-read for NFL fans.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting but just short of great

Interesting look into the NFL but wish I had known the author was a Patriots fan beforehand. Books is very Patriots-centric and if there is one team whose media coverage has reached over saturation, it's them.

Not my favorite narrator either.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

No Point!

Writer jumps from topic to topic leaving the reader searching for what the purpose of the book is. Toward the ending you start to feel the point of the book is to take shots at everyone discussed in the book. Has little nice words to say about anyone. Writer also displays his true hatred of Trump.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent insider view of the NFL

This is a great look of the power and strife within the NFL In particular the patriots and the owners of the NFL teams lots of fun good reporting and a lot of tongue in cheek fun nuggets.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Nothing New Here

If you follow the NFL there is nothing in this book you don’t already know.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Josh N.
  • 10-16-18

Average, overall

narrator clearly had never watched football and couldn't pronounce names. Story was too short-sighted. average overall

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tim Agazio
  • 10-15-18

I think you need to change the title

While I really enjoyed listening to this book, I think it was given the wrong title. It should be The Life and Times of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Randy Chinn
  • Davis, Ca
  • 09-28-18

Great read; funny and sarcastic

Gives us a peek behind the curtain of the NFL, told with a love of the game and a disdain for the league. Mostly about football as a business, with a lot of time spent on Tom Brady. A lot like This Town, a book on the Washington D.C. political scene by the same author. Except the author loves football while thinking much less of D.C. The same narrator for both books too, which is great because he performs with a dry humor and deep sarcasm befitting the subject.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Brett
  • 09-18-18

Glib snark from a Patriot fan with an axe to grind

If you're a self-hating Patriot fan, you might enjoy this. If you're just an average football fan, I can't recommend it at all.

Major themes are Deflategate, Roger Goodell is a twit, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (Concussions), Tom Brady is a shallow health nut, Roger Goodell is a twit, Deflategate, Trump, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (Concussions), clownish team owners, Roger Goodell is a twit, Deflategate. In other words, not much football to see here.

Narrator was solid though.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-16-18

Reader needs to learn names

Barrett incorrectly states names dozens of times. Enjoyed the content but Leibovich misstated purpose for anthem protests - it’s not against the anthem, it’s against police brutality and for civil rights.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • William G. Stuart
  • Massachusetts, USA
  • 09-10-18

Fascinating Look behind the Shield

Wow! I pre-ordered this book, loaded it early one Thursday morning and finished it Sunday afternoon (incidentally, on my way home from the Patriots' season opener). I couldn't turn it off. This author somehow secured unprecedented access behind the scenes in NFL meetings, with the commissioner, and with key owners like Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones. He blends a lot of information into a very readable/listenable analysis of the NFL.

The book examines on-the-field issues, players safety (particularly CTE), the business side of the sport, and, as a result of the 2016 election, the spillover of politics into the pro football. It sounds like a hodge-podge of topics, but Leibovich blends them together in a compelling narrative.

Revenue projections. The politics and economics of the relocation of the Rams,Chargers, and Raiders franchises. Brady family dynamics as they relate to the QB's career, legacy, and treatment by the Patriots. Ownership power struggles. the commissionerr's relationship with owners. National-anthem protests, the president, owners, the commissioner, and the reaction of fans. It's all in here.

Jerry Jones steals the show. First, his comment on the $250 per bottle booze that he drinks. His comment was something like (remember, I listened to the book, so I can't refer back to print), "It's not the cost of the bottle itself that most people can't afford. It's what they do after consuming the bottle that gets them into financial trouble." Second, you won't believe how excited he used to become when he sold shoes. It's pretty vivid.

This book is a must-read for NFL fans.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-29-18

Interesting but just short of great

Interesting look into the NFL but wish I had known the author was a Patriots fan beforehand. Books is very Patriots-centric and if there is one team whose media coverage has reached over saturation, it's them.

Not my favorite narrator either.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Wade Tenholder
  • 09-28-18

No Point!

Writer jumps from topic to topic leaving the reader searching for what the purpose of the book is. Toward the ending you start to feel the point of the book is to take shots at everyone discussed in the book. Has little nice words to say about anyone. Writer also displays his true hatred of Trump.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • BJD
  • 09-11-18

Excellent insider view of the NFL

This is a great look of the power and strife within the NFL In particular the patriots and the owners of the NFL teams lots of fun good reporting and a lot of tongue in cheek fun nuggets.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Christopher Rummel
  • 09-06-18

Nothing New Here

If you follow the NFL there is nothing in this book you don’t already know.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful