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Football for a Buck

The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL
Narrated by: Joel Richards
Length: 14 hrs and 13 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (89 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

The United States Football League was the last football league to not merely challenge the mighty NFL but also to cause it to collectively shudder. It spanned three seasons, featured as many as 18 teams, secured multiple television deals, drew millions of fans, and launched the careers of legends - but then it died beneath the weight of a particularly egotistical and bombastic owner, a New York businessman named Donald Trump.

In Football for a Buck, Jeff Pearlman draws on more than 400 interviews to unearth all the salty, untold stories of one of the craziest sports entities to have ever captivated America. From 1980s drug excess to some of the most enthralling and revolutionary football ever seen, Pearlman transports listeners back in time to this crazy, boozy, audacious era of the game. He shows how fortunes were made and lost and how, 30 years ago, Trump was a scoundrel and a spoiler. This is sports as high entertainment - and a cautionary tale of the dangers of ego and excess.

©2018 Jeff Pearlman (P)2018 Dreamscape Media, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    68
  • 4 Stars
    18
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    45
  • 4 Stars
    21
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    2

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    75
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

You have to hear it to believe it. Incredible!

I heard an NPR interview about this book and it was incredibly interesting. I knew nothing of this league but was pulled in immediately. I was surprised how many of the coaches and players I had heard of before and continued to be surprised as the outlandish stories kept coming in. Such a great voice performance and story, I listened to the whole thing in a few days straight. If you like football in any capacity I think you will enjoy this book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Ahhh the USFL

Recently. My sixth grade teacher sent me a picture of an art project I did in her class that was centered around my obsession with the LA Express and the USFL. I was 12 when the USFL started and loved the idea that I could watch football in the spring, so when this book came out I was so excited to give it a listen. And Mr.Perlman did not let me down. He covered every aspect of the league and I’m sure he has enough material to write a second book.
This book is thorough and really well written. I enjoyed reading it and loved when he made it personal to him and his family. The cast of characters that made the USFL was thoroughly captured. You will find yourself pulling for odd ball players and finding connections to your own NFL team. As a die hard LA Rams fan, I can’t believe I ever cheered for Steve Young but the 13 year old in me reminded that I totally loved the guy! Who wouldn’t when he’s on your team! Thanks for reminding me of all the amazing memories I had as a kid, and making me think that Leigh Steinberg really served Steve Young wrong by having him sign an annuity with a upstart league like the USFL!
This is a great read for any football junkie!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Wildly Entertaining, But Informs the Present Day

I have read all of Pearlman's books, and this was perhaps the most enjoyable. First, the passion and enthusiasm of the USLF players, coaches, and executives come through the narrative as revealed by the hundreds of interviews he conducted. But his work also reveals the true destroyer of the league: Donald Trump. Naysayers will attack him as being anti-Trump but there is ample evidence provided by Pearlman that any analysis of the downfall of the USFL has to come to the conclusion that Trump's insistence on moving to a fall schedule, with the intent of suing the NFL for antitrust, ruined the league. His account aligns with scholarly studies of Trump in his formative years.
Politics aside, readers can see this book as sports in its purest form: playing a game for sake of playing a game. There was little reason for most of the players to put themselves on the field but for pure joy of competing and the comradery of the huddle. This book also illuminates the culture of the 1980s, similar to his previous book, Showtime. Pearlman is a sportswriter of the old school; a diligent researcher and interviewer. But he writes with humor and empathy, and does justice to a an idea that could have worked but for hubris and greed. Sports is a lens onto society, and one does not have to be a sports fan to enjoy and learn from this book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ben
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • 11-25-18

Amazing book for any football fan

This is an amazingly well done book. Both funny and interesting, this book is filled with great stories and is a must read/listen for football fans

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

Great book about The USFL

Great account of the USFL. The narrator could have done a better job knowing the pronunciation of certain player names, like Bobby Hebert and knowing wins and losses (13-3 record) are read 13 and 3, instead of 13 to 3. Otherwise, great historical account recommended for football fans and anyone that wants to get a glimpse of how Donald Trump conducts his affairs. He’s the same person now as he was in the 80s.

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

great football history!

loved it, this story has been lost in football history and need to be revisited on a regular basis.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Funny and Fascinating

This is without a doubt the funniest and craziest sports story I have ever heard.

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

Great Story, Poor Narration

This is a very interesting history of the fascinating but ultimately doomed United States Football League. Jeff Pearlman captures so many excellent stories, and definitely adds new information to the canon beyond that found in previous books on the league and the ESPN 30 for 30 video. The narration, though, is really distracting due to numerous pronunciation errors (Mike "RO-zher" rather than "ro-ZEER", coach Jack "PAR-dee" rather than "par-DEE", QB Bobby "HEE-bert" rather then "AY-bair" etc, etc, etc). And, if you are reading a sports book, you should know that when you see a team's record written as 8-10, that is read "8 and 10" rather than "8 to 10." I know, little things, but they are distracting and detract from an excellent story.

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

if you love football you'll love it

great book. funny and entertaining stories of the usfl and the rise and fall of the league.

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

Not Enough Pages

I wish there were more pages. I enjoyed it a great deal, and I am sorry it didn't last longer. I enjoyed the USFL when it was here in Arizona. At the time, we only had one professional team -- the Phoenix Suns. Having the Arizona Wranglers/Outlaws/Whatevers gave sports fans in the Valley something to cheer. I just enjoyed having spring football. This book is interesting, funny and sad, and just very, very interesting. It also accurately describes drumpf as a stupid businessman, and unfortunately, an even stupider leader of this country. G-d help us all!

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tanya White
  • Torrance, CA
  • 09-27-18

You have to hear it to believe it. Incredible!

I heard an NPR interview about this book and it was incredibly interesting. I knew nothing of this league but was pulled in immediately. I was surprised how many of the coaches and players I had heard of before and continued to be surprised as the outlandish stories kept coming in. Such a great voice performance and story, I listened to the whole thing in a few days straight. If you like football in any capacity I think you will enjoy this book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tommy Monje
  • 10-11-18

Ahhh the USFL

Recently. My sixth grade teacher sent me a picture of an art project I did in her class that was centered around my obsession with the LA Express and the USFL. I was 12 when the USFL started and loved the idea that I could watch football in the spring, so when this book came out I was so excited to give it a listen. And Mr.Perlman did not let me down. He covered every aspect of the league and I’m sure he has enough material to write a second book.
This book is thorough and really well written. I enjoyed reading it and loved when he made it personal to him and his family. The cast of characters that made the USFL was thoroughly captured. You will find yourself pulling for odd ball players and finding connections to your own NFL team. As a die hard LA Rams fan, I can’t believe I ever cheered for Steve Young but the 13 year old in me reminded that I totally loved the guy! Who wouldn’t when he’s on your team! Thanks for reminding me of all the amazing memories I had as a kid, and making me think that Leigh Steinberg really served Steve Young wrong by having him sign an annuity with a upstart league like the USFL!
This is a great read for any football junkie!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ericha Loosbrock
  • 09-22-18

Wildly Entertaining, But Informs the Present Day

I have read all of Pearlman's books, and this was perhaps the most enjoyable. First, the passion and enthusiasm of the USLF players, coaches, and executives come through the narrative as revealed by the hundreds of interviews he conducted. But his work also reveals the true destroyer of the league: Donald Trump. Naysayers will attack him as being anti-Trump but there is ample evidence provided by Pearlman that any analysis of the downfall of the USFL has to come to the conclusion that Trump's insistence on moving to a fall schedule, with the intent of suing the NFL for antitrust, ruined the league. His account aligns with scholarly studies of Trump in his formative years.
Politics aside, readers can see this book as sports in its purest form: playing a game for sake of playing a game. There was little reason for most of the players to put themselves on the field but for pure joy of competing and the comradery of the huddle. This book also illuminates the culture of the 1980s, similar to his previous book, Showtime. Pearlman is a sportswriter of the old school; a diligent researcher and interviewer. But he writes with humor and empathy, and does justice to a an idea that could have worked but for hubris and greed. Sports is a lens onto society, and one does not have to be a sports fan to enjoy and learn from this book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ben
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • 11-25-18

Amazing book for any football fan

This is an amazingly well done book. Both funny and interesting, this book is filled with great stories and is a must read/listen for football fans

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-13-18

Great book about The USFL

Great account of the USFL. The narrator could have done a better job knowing the pronunciation of certain player names, like Bobby Hebert and knowing wins and losses (13-3 record) are read 13 and 3, instead of 13 to 3. Otherwise, great historical account recommended for football fans and anyone that wants to get a glimpse of how Donald Trump conducts his affairs. He’s the same person now as he was in the 80s.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • tom hereley
  • 11-04-18

great football history!

loved it, this story has been lost in football history and need to be revisited on a regular basis.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 11-04-18

Funny and Fascinating

This is without a doubt the funniest and craziest sports story I have ever heard.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • D. J. Chaffin
  • 10-28-18

Great Story, Poor Narration

This is a very interesting history of the fascinating but ultimately doomed United States Football League. Jeff Pearlman captures so many excellent stories, and definitely adds new information to the canon beyond that found in previous books on the league and the ESPN 30 for 30 video. The narration, though, is really distracting due to numerous pronunciation errors (Mike "RO-zher" rather than "ro-ZEER", coach Jack "PAR-dee" rather than "par-DEE", QB Bobby "HEE-bert" rather then "AY-bair" etc, etc, etc). And, if you are reading a sports book, you should know that when you see a team's record written as 8-10, that is read "8 and 10" rather than "8 to 10." I know, little things, but they are distracting and detract from an excellent story.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-23-18

if you love football you'll love it

great book. funny and entertaining stories of the usfl and the rise and fall of the league.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • steve finkelstein
  • 10-22-18

Not Enough Pages

I wish there were more pages. I enjoyed it a great deal, and I am sorry it didn't last longer. I enjoyed the USFL when it was here in Arizona. At the time, we only had one professional team -- the Phoenix Suns. Having the Arizona Wranglers/Outlaws/Whatevers gave sports fans in the Valley something to cheer. I just enjoyed having spring football. This book is interesting, funny and sad, and just very, very interesting. It also accurately describes drumpf as a stupid businessman, and unfortunately, an even stupider leader of this country. G-d help us all!

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tanya White
  • Torrance, CA
  • 09-27-18

You have to hear it to believe it. Incredible!

I heard an NPR interview about this book and it was incredibly interesting. I knew nothing of this league but was pulled in immediately. I was surprised how many of the coaches and players I had heard of before and continued to be surprised as the outlandish stories kept coming in. Such a great voice performance and story, I listened to the whole thing in a few days straight. If you like football in any capacity I think you will enjoy this book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tommy Monje
  • 10-11-18

Ahhh the USFL

Recently. My sixth grade teacher sent me a picture of an art project I did in her class that was centered around my obsession with the LA Express and the USFL. I was 12 when the USFL started and loved the idea that I could watch football in the spring, so when this book came out I was so excited to give it a listen. And Mr.Perlman did not let me down. He covered every aspect of the league and I’m sure he has enough material to write a second book.
This book is thorough and really well written. I enjoyed reading it and loved when he made it personal to him and his family. The cast of characters that made the USFL was thoroughly captured. You will find yourself pulling for odd ball players and finding connections to your own NFL team. As a die hard LA Rams fan, I can’t believe I ever cheered for Steve Young but the 13 year old in me reminded that I totally loved the guy! Who wouldn’t when he’s on your team! Thanks for reminding me of all the amazing memories I had as a kid, and making me think that Leigh Steinberg really served Steve Young wrong by having him sign an annuity with a upstart league like the USFL!
This is a great read for any football junkie!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ericha Loosbrock
  • 09-22-18

Wildly Entertaining, But Informs the Present Day

I have read all of Pearlman's books, and this was perhaps the most enjoyable. First, the passion and enthusiasm of the USLF players, coaches, and executives come through the narrative as revealed by the hundreds of interviews he conducted. But his work also reveals the true destroyer of the league: Donald Trump. Naysayers will attack him as being anti-Trump but there is ample evidence provided by Pearlman that any analysis of the downfall of the USFL has to come to the conclusion that Trump's insistence on moving to a fall schedule, with the intent of suing the NFL for antitrust, ruined the league. His account aligns with scholarly studies of Trump in his formative years.
Politics aside, readers can see this book as sports in its purest form: playing a game for sake of playing a game. There was little reason for most of the players to put themselves on the field but for pure joy of competing and the comradery of the huddle. This book also illuminates the culture of the 1980s, similar to his previous book, Showtime. Pearlman is a sportswriter of the old school; a diligent researcher and interviewer. But he writes with humor and empathy, and does justice to a an idea that could have worked but for hubris and greed. Sports is a lens onto society, and one does not have to be a sports fan to enjoy and learn from this book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ben
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • 11-25-18

Amazing book for any football fan

This is an amazingly well done book. Both funny and interesting, this book is filled with great stories and is a must read/listen for football fans

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-13-18

Great book about The USFL

Great account of the USFL. The narrator could have done a better job knowing the pronunciation of certain player names, like Bobby Hebert and knowing wins and losses (13-3 record) are read 13 and 3, instead of 13 to 3. Otherwise, great historical account recommended for football fans and anyone that wants to get a glimpse of how Donald Trump conducts his affairs. He’s the same person now as he was in the 80s.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • tom hereley
  • 11-04-18

great football history!

loved it, this story has been lost in football history and need to be revisited on a regular basis.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 11-04-18

Funny and Fascinating

This is without a doubt the funniest and craziest sports story I have ever heard.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • D. J. Chaffin
  • 10-28-18

Great Story, Poor Narration

This is a very interesting history of the fascinating but ultimately doomed United States Football League. Jeff Pearlman captures so many excellent stories, and definitely adds new information to the canon beyond that found in previous books on the league and the ESPN 30 for 30 video. The narration, though, is really distracting due to numerous pronunciation errors (Mike "RO-zher" rather than "ro-ZEER", coach Jack "PAR-dee" rather than "par-DEE", QB Bobby "HEE-bert" rather then "AY-bair" etc, etc, etc). And, if you are reading a sports book, you should know that when you see a team's record written as 8-10, that is read "8 and 10" rather than "8 to 10." I know, little things, but they are distracting and detract from an excellent story.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-23-18

if you love football you'll love it

great book. funny and entertaining stories of the usfl and the rise and fall of the league.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • steve finkelstein
  • 10-22-18

Not Enough Pages

I wish there were more pages. I enjoyed it a great deal, and I am sorry it didn't last longer. I enjoyed the USFL when it was here in Arizona. At the time, we only had one professional team -- the Phoenix Suns. Having the Arizona Wranglers/Outlaws/Whatevers gave sports fans in the Valley something to cheer. I just enjoyed having spring football. This book is interesting, funny and sad, and just very, very interesting. It also accurately describes drumpf as a stupid businessman, and unfortunately, an even stupider leader of this country. G-d help us all!