What they’re saying about “Boys Will Be Boys”
The Cowboys of the 1990s had everything: great players, great characters, great parties, great hair. Now, finally, they have the great writer to tell their story. Jeff Pearlman has written a rip-roaring book filled with terrific reporting and vibrant prose. To appreciate football’s modern era in all it’s crazy glory, you’ve got to read this book. “Boys Will Be Boys” is a flat-out winner.”
“I thought every piece of juicy detail about the Cowboys’ ’90s Super Bowl teams had come out. Hardly. Pearlman’s peerless reportingâ€”no rock unturned … literally!â€”strings one deadly anecdote after another until you realize that not only can you believe how crazy these guys were … you can’t believe how crazy you are for still cheering for them.”
â€” Will Leitch, author of “God Save The Fan” and founder of Deadspin.com
“It’s tempting to call Boys Will Be Boys the real-life sequel to North Dallas Forty. But in fact, it’s more than that. With immaculate reporting, Jeff Pearlman has constructed a marvelous rise and fall narrative. Here’s the truth about America’s Team delivered in a profane page-turnerâ€”entertaining, enlightening, and where you least expect it, inspiring. Put another way: this book rocks.”
“Just when I thought I knew all the inside info from the glory days of the 90s, along comes Jeff Pearlman with this look back. A great read.”
“Jeff Pearlman is an insider’s insider. With vivid details that place you in the Dallas huddleâ€”and in the team hotel roomsâ€”Pearlman expertly peels the hedonistic layers off the unforgettable characters of the dynastic Cowboys, taking you on a raucous and reflective joyride behind the color, chaos and karma of America’s team in the ’90s.”
â€” Selena Roberts, Sports Illustrated
“In his latest effort, Pearlman (The Bad Guys Won! ) tells the story of how the Dallas Cowboys went from being a league doormat to a Super Bowl-winning machine. It’s the cast of characters that makes this story a page-turner, starting with controlling owner Jerry Jones; all-business coach Jimmy Johnson, who would cut a player without blinking; and star players Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith and Deion Sanders. Pearlman explores the many other people who bought into the philosophy that “if you were going to be a Dallas Cowboy… you needed to live the life”-and that meant, in the early ’90s, plenty of infidelity, cocaine, nightly trips to gentleman’s clubs and hangovers at practice. Pearlman interviewed nearly 150 members of the Cowboys organization for the book, but much of the terrific detail comes from such tangential folks as journalists, players’ wives and staff at the local Cowboys restaurant. The anecdotes range from uplifting (the heartwarming story of quarterback Troy Aikman granting a wish to a dying boy) to raunchy (defensive end Chris Haley, while playing for the 49ers, often masturbated in the locker room). In the end, Pearlman has produced a narrative that is as entertaining as it is insightful.”
“ESPN.com columnist Pearlman (Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Antihero, 2007, etc.) offers a behind-the-scenes look at the on-field excellence and off-field shenanigans of Americaâ€™s Team during its 1990s heyday.
“Itâ€™s a poorly kept secret that some superstar athletes have a soft spot for hard drugs, strong drinks and loose women. By some random chance of fateâ€”or the hand of an unscrupulous ownerâ€”many of those athletes ended up on the Cowboys during the mid-â€™90s, players whose talent was surpassed only by their love of debauchery. When maverick oil magnate Jerry Jones purchased the team in 1989, he promptly and unceremoniously fired the franchiseâ€™s legendaryâ€”and legendarily conservativeâ€”coach, Tom Landry. A firestorm of criticism ensued and intensified when University of Miami coachâ€”and Jonesâ€™s former teammate at the University of Arkansasâ€”Jimmy Johnson, a man with no NFL experience, was tabbed as Landryâ€™s replacement. Though the players Jones and Johnson drafted and signed banded together to win a then-unprecedented three Super Bowl titles in four years, Pearlmanâ€™s chronicle reveals a collection of sexual deviants (hulking defensive lineman Charles Haley was notorious for pleasuring himself in full view of his teammates during film sessions), drug abusers (hall-of-fame wide receiver Michael Irvin often snorted cocaine before sleeping with multiple prostitutes), heavy drinkers (including Johnsonâ€™s successor as coach, Barry Switzer) and power-hungry egomaniacs (primarily Jones). The author doesnâ€™t delve too deeply into the on-field strategy behind the Cowboysâ€™ winning ways, but he makes up for it with countless salacious stories of late-night strip-club hijinks, backstabbing gossip and sordid legal affairs, including an attempt to cover up an incident in which Irvin slashed the throat of a teammate with a pair of scissors.
“A lurid yet riveting account of an undeniably charismatic, and often loathed, championship team. Readers may want to shower after reading.”
â€” Kirkus Reviews
“I received an advance copy of Jeff Pearlmanâ€™s book Boys Will Be Boys, detailing â€œthe glory days and party nights of the Dallas Cowboys destiny.â€ Iâ€™ve been a fan of Pearlman since reading his biography on Barry Bonds, Love Me, Hate Me. Heâ€™s a gifted storyteller. Pearlman doesnâ€™t pull any punches in documenting the rise and fall of the 1990s Cowboys. What they did on the field was admirable, but what they did off the field was at times despicable. This is a tale of self-destruction â€“ and not just publicly at the top where Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson could no longer co-exist. This team self-destructed in the locker room as well. Pearlman dug deep in his research, speaking with the likes of Rob Awalt, Cory Fleming, Derrick Lassic and Clayton Holmes in addition to franchise A-listers Michael Irvin, Jay Novacek, Mark Stepnoski and Darren Woodson in printing what went right and wrong during the dynasty. More went wrong than most Cowboys fans would care to know. Itâ€™s a real page-turner.”
â€” Rick Gosselin, Dallas Morning News