Jeff Pearlman

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Football for a Buck, The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL

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The USFL—United States Football League—was the last football league to not merely challenge the mighty NFL, but cause it to collectively shudder. It spanned three seasons, 1983-85. It secured multiple television deals. It 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. The league featured as many as 18 teams, and included such superstars as Herschel Walker, Jim Kelly, Steve Young, Reggie White, Doug Flutie and Mike Rozier.

In Football for a Buck, New York Times best-selling author Jeff Pearlman draws on more than four hundred 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 airplane brawls and player-coach punch outs, to backroom business deals, to some of the most enthralling and revolutionary football ever seen, Pearlman transports readers back in time to this crazy, boozy, audacious, unforgettable era of the game. He shows how fortunes were made and lost on the backs of professional athletes and also how, thirty 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.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life