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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 (189 ratings)

Regular price: $29.95

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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

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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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

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Lotta fun but another sports audiobook marred

Seriously can we get a tutorial for sports book narrators on when to say “and” vs. “to” and other terminology basics!? This guy’s voice isn’t bad but teams are always winning games “21 and 14” or have a record of “10 to 8” and the dozens of mistakes like this temporarily drive me nuts by taking me out of the book. The book itself is a lot of fun. At times bits could have been edited better, and you’d like to have a bit more reporting on HOW Trump took the league down and the parallels to today but those are nitpicks. A great project that gives the history of the league with a ton of great colour interviews to flesh out the feel. An entertaining and informative read. Would definitely read another Pearlman book in the future!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Awesome content ruined a bit by the narrator

If I could give 6 or 7 starts to the story and content of this I would, love the behind the scenes stories and operations of the USFL, of which i was too young to have grasped when it was happening at the time. The *ONLY* thing about the book that knocks down the rating is the narrator. And by that I mean only a couple minor things. His voice and mannerisms were great. BUT, my god, how can he not know the basic way of saying a team's record. Everyone knows 14-4 is '14 and 4' , not '14 to 4'. It was so so annoying I almost contemplated turning it off. Slightly less annoying was the pronunciation of a prominent player of the early times, Bobby Hebert. It's pronounced 'A-bear' , not 'hee-bert'. :)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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

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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

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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won't be sorry

FANTASTIC every bit of it, really wish the USFL could have stayed around - the NFL is really boring

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TOUCHDOWN!

I loved the USFL! I remember going to all the AZ Wrangler games as a boy and was sad to see it end. What a great book full of crazy stories! Made me laugh out loud, cringe, and left me shaking my head. Great book if you love football and awesome narration.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Blast from the past with some great stories !

From Hall of Gamers to people you have never heard of ...oh and the President of the United States. This book is a fun and rather interesting read for all.

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  • Reggie
  • BRATTLEBORO, VT, United States
  • 02-21-19

You'll Never Guess the Villain

This is all you want from a sports book. It's funny and informative; witty and occasionally poignant; well-researched with a dash of conjecture and a pinch of speculation. Pearlman does slander our lord and savior, Donald Trump, by relaying the many blasphemies of his fellow USFL owners, while chronicling Trump's role in the league's demise (which is why I'll be giving this book 1-star, obviously) but otherwise it's pretty good.

A note for non-football fans: like a good, self-contained movie or book sequel, an encyclopedic knowledge of its antecedents (in this case, the sport of football) isn't necessary to enjoy the book. This isn't an esoteric, "X" and "O" football book, it's a story of ambition and entrepreneurship; of heroes and villains (you'll never guess who the villain is. Kidding. You'll totally guess.) and of eventual greed and idiocy and ultimate pathos. It's also really funny.

And I'd be remise not to put in a good word for Joel Richards. I thought the narration was fantastic. I thought he nailed Pearlman's tone and dry humor. There's a couple spots where Richards' delivery even coaxed a laugh from the text that may have otherwise passed under the radar of a reader.

I'm an audiobook junkie who has strong opinions about readers. I can understand not liking a narrator, but objectively, Joel Richards is not a 1-star narrator. At no point was I distracted by his pronunciation of names (of the the names I knew, Richards pronunciation was consistent with what I've heard) and speaking a team record like 10 - 2 as, "ten to two," rather than "ten and two," struck me as more novel than annoying.