Boys Will Be Boys

Like most guys, I'm a big sports fan. If you've been following this blog for a while, you are aware that I'm a huge NFL football fan. Along with NHL hockey and boxing, football is undeniably one of my favorite sports.

My first ever "How 'bout them Cowboys!" post shocked New York Giants-loving GRRM and led to our now popular football wager. Took me three years, but I'm proud of the fact that I'll finally be masacred in the next ASOIAF book!

The Dallas Cowboys. No team in NFL history has engendered so much love and so much hate. Let's face it: You're either a fan of America's Team, or you despise them with a passion. And yet, love 'em or hate 'em, in their heydays of the early 90s they steamrolled through the competition, accomplishing what no team had ever done before -- winning three Super Bowls in four years.

When I saw Jeff Pearlman's NYT bestseller Boys Will Be Boys: The Glory Days and Party Nights of the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty on the bargain table of my local Indigo bookstore, I couldn't resist. I had heard that the book did lay bare all the dirt (and believe me, there is some stuff in there even I didn't know), but that Pearlman also included a panoply of insightful and heartwarming anecdotes.

Here's the blurb:

They were America's Team—the high-priced, high-glamour, high-flying Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s, who won three Super Bowls and made as many headlines off the field as on it. Led by Emmitt Smith, the charismatic Deion "Prime Time" Sanders, and Hall of Famers Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin, the Cowboys rank among the greatest of all NFL dynasties.

In similar fashion to his New York Times bestseller The Bad Guys Won!, about the 1986 New York Mets, in Boys Will Be Boys, award-winning writer Jeff Pearlman chronicles the outrageous antics and dazzling talent of a team fueled by ego, sex, drugs—and unrivaled greatness. Rising from the ashes of a 1–15 season in 1989 to capture three Super Bowl trophies in four years, the Dallas Cowboys were guided by a swashbuckling, skirt-chasing, power-hungry owner, Jerry Jones, and his two eccentric, hard-living coaches, Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer. Together the three built a juggernaut that America loved and loathed.

But for a team that was so dominant on Sundays, the Cowboys were often a dysfunctional circus the rest of the week. Irvin, nicknamed "The Playmaker," battled dual addictions to drugs and women. Charles Haley, the defensive colossus, presided over the team's infamous "White House," where the parties lasted late into the night and a steady stream of long-legged groupies came and went. And then there were Smith and Sanders, whose Texas-sized egos were eclipsed only by their record-breaking on-field perfomances.

With an unforgettable cast of characters and a narrative as hard-hitting and fast-paced as the team itself, Boys Will Be Boys immortalizes the most beloved—and despised—dynasty in NFL history.

Former Sports Illustrated senior writer Jeff Pearlman came up with a gem of a book, one that every NFL fan should enjoy, regardless of whether you love or hate the Dallas Cowboys. With a rise-and-fall narrative structure, Boys Will Be Boys is entertaining, sometimes shocking, and even inspiring.

Given the size of the egos, both in the front office and on the football field, it was evident that the Dallas Cowboys would eventually self-destruct. Pearlman interviewed 146 Dallas players, coaches, and administrators in order to write this book. The amount of details, both mundane and eye-popping, is staggering. Realizing just how dysfunctional that team truly was, it defies comprehension that they could play to such a high level on any given Sunday. Already considered one of the very best teams in the history of the league, one has to wonder just how great they would have been had they not partied as much as they did?

Though we've all seen them kicking ass on the gridiron, Pearlman offers a behind-the-scenes look at such players like Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, and Deion Sanders. But we also learn a lot about owner Jerry Jones, coach Jimmy Johnson, and players such as Nate Newton, Jay Novacek, Alvin Harper, Kevin Smith, Clayton Holmes, Darren Woodson, Leon Lett, Charles Haley, Kenny Gant, and more; all of whom helped create that football dynasty.

As I said, given the amount of sex, drugs, and partying involved, I can't quite believed that the Cowboys performed in a way that allowed them to dominate the NFL and capture three Vince Lombardi trophies. With more focus, they could certainly have become the most storied franchise in the history of the NFL. Then again, that's not the Dallas Cowboys way. What would be a Dallas season without its share of controversies, right!?!

In 2007, at his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony, I remembered being shocked at seeing the once flamboyant and trashtalking Michael Irvin breaking down and crying and asking forgiveness. Oh, most players shed tears at the ceremony, of course. But Irvin's breakdown ends Pearlman's book in a very touching way. And now that all the dirt revolving around the team has been revealed, it helps you understand just why Michael Irvin reacted the way he did.

And if you are wondering how the players got away with everything, Kevin Smith, former Cowboys cornerback, said it best:

Super Bowls act as a big headache pill for the city of Dallas. No matter how we
behaved, no matter how many things we did wrong, the people would forgive us.
Why? Because we gave them Super Bowls.

But the best quote belongs to Nate Newton, regarding the infamous White House:

We've got a little place over here where we're running some whores in and out,
trying to be responsible, and we're criticized for that, too.

If you're a football fan, I suggest you get a copy of this book. As far as non-fiction sports books go, it's about as good as it gets!

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

6 commentaires:

murf99 said...

Sounds interesting although I've never been a huge kuh-boys fans. I am a NFL fanatic so maybe I'll pick it up anyway. Any links available to the GRRM betting threads?

Mitch said...

Check out the last three years during the NFL season (September to January). There were weekly updates as Pat and GRRM went head to head.

By winning the bet this year, GRRM will base a character on Pat and kill him horribly in the next ASOIAF book.

brainshades said...

This is a great insiders look into the Cowboys organization during the 90's Dynasty era. The fallout with Jimmy and Jerry, Barry Switzer, Charles Haley (shocking stuff on him), and the whole "white house" scandal is all covered pretty well in this book.

I live in the DFW area and I can tell you that we basically knew nothing about what was going on behind the scenes during those halcyon days - but the players were right... we didn't care even after the stories broke. As long as they were winning, they could do just about anything they wanted to... just about.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of "the boys" they are demolishing the old Texas Stadium this Sunday morning at 6am Central. It is being covered live by all the Dallas TV networks, and people are allowed to tailgate to watch it go down starting at 2am.

Anonymous said...

Hey there, what with fantasy and elite sport being an unusual mix, hopefully you all enjoy this footage.
The bloke got back up and came back on 30 minutes later.
Would be awesome if this sport took off in the states! Imagine the talent pool!

S-O-S1999 said...

Interesting blog, I am not really a big sports fan but I have to admit that your blog is super cool. I just hope that I am at the right blog. you never know what kind of people could be out there