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THE BLIND SIDE EVOLUTION OF A GAME PDF

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—Bill Littlefield, Boston Globe “In The Blind Side, Michael Lewis provides a compelling book explaining how this subtle and brutal game has changed as the. This books (The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game [PDF]) Made by Michael. Description this book The Blind Side Features a young man who will one day be among the most highly paid athletes in the National Football League. Buy Books Amazon FBA: Complete Guide: Make Money Online With. why customers keep coming wildlifeprotection.info you need a the blind side evolution of a game by michael lewis, you can download them in pdf format from our website.


The Blind Side Evolution Of A Game Pdf

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[DOWNLOAD] The blind side: evolution of a game by Oher, Michael; Oher, Michael; Lewis, Michael. M. Book file PDF easily for everyone and every device. Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. As he did so memorably for baseball in Moneyball, Lewis takes a statistical X-ray of the hidden . Then two great forces alter Oher: the family's love and the evolution of professional football itself into a game in which the quarterback must be protected at any.

But every quarterback had a certain amount of fear when he played us. Many people pointed to his unusual combination of size and speed.

They could be found. Parcells believed that even in the NFL a lot of players were more concerned with seeming to want to win than with actually winning, and that many of them did not know the difference. What they wanted, deep down, was to keep their jobs, make their money, and go home.

Lawrence Taylor wanted to win. He expected more of himself on the field than a coach would dare to ask of any player. One of his favorites involved these very same Washington Redskins.

An NFL football field is a tightly strung economy. Everything on it comes at a price. Take away from one place and you give to another. Three men blocking Taylor meant two Giants with no one to block them. Dan Henning is the coach. He sees the strategy. They do the same thing. Two tight ends on Lawrence, two wide receivers in the slot.

We win again. And I mean it is really not funny. The next game we have is against the Vikings on Monday Night Football.

Tommy Kramer is the quarterback. He knocks Kramer out of the game, causes two fumbles and recovers one of them. And out of nowhere this…thing comes and jumps on my back.

He basically knocks me over. Lawrence Taylor trusted in one thing, the power of his own will. He assumed that his will could control NFL football games, and that it could also control his own chemical desires.

He was right about the NFL games. By November 18, , when the Giants went into Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington, DC, to play the Redskins, opposing teams have taken to lining up their players in new and creative ways simply to deal with him. The Redskins are a case in point. Did you see that? Oh Lord.

Until that moment, football offenses had typically used running backs to block linebackers who came charging after quarterbacks. But running backs were smaller, weaker, and, surprisingly often, given their job description, slower than Lawrence Taylor.

Lynn Cain, a running back for the Atlanta Falcons, was the first to dramatize the problem. The first time Cain went to block Taylor he went in very low, got up underneath him, and sent Taylor flying head over heels. The next play Cain tried it again—and was carried off the field on a stretcher. The one back offense. That will be the strategy tonight, but Joe Theismann knows too well its imperfections. Having that extra blocker to help the tackle addressed the problem, Theismann thought, without solving it.

Too often Taylor came free. The week of practice leading up to the game had been a seminar on Lawrence Taylor. Lawrence was the only one who had a number: fifty-six.

He was a little red fifty-six and the number was always highlighted and circled.

Download The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game PDF Free

And no one wants to get his ass knocked off from the back side. It was called the right side. If he was dropping back in coverage, a sense of calm came over me. If he was coming, I had a sense of urgency. From the snap of the ball Theismann has lost sight of him. Theismann prides himself on his ability to stand in the pocket and disregard his fear.

He thinks this quality is a prerequisite in a successful NFL quarterback. He has less than half a second. Frank Gifford is in the booth, flanked by O. Simpson and Joe Namath. The damage is done by Taylor alone. One hundred and ninety-six pounds of quarterback come to rest beneath a thousand or so pounds of other things. Then Lawrence Taylor pops to his feet and begins to scream and wave and clutch his helmet with both hands, as if in agony.

His reaction is a mystery until ABC Sports clarifies the event, by replaying it over and again, in slow motion. Doug Flutie was probably a representative viewer. Flutie had just finished a glorious college quarterbacking career at Boston College and started a professional one in the USFL. On the evening of November 18, , he was at home with his mother.

She had the football game on; he had other things to do. Everyone wants to know the whole truth but no one possesses it. Not the coach on the sidelines, not the coach in the press box, and certainly not the quarterback—no one can see the whole field and take in the movement of twenty-two bodies, each with his own job assignment. In baseball or basketball all the players see, more or less, the same events.

Points of view vary, but slightly. In football many of the players on the field have no idea what happened—much less why it happened—until after the play is done.

Even then, most of them will need to watch a videotape to be sure.

The fans, naturally more interested in effect than cause, follow the ball, and come away thinking they know perfectly well what just happened. But what happened to the ball, and to the person holding the ball, was just the final link in a chain of events that began well before the ball was snapped. Two players will be treated above all others as the authorities on the play: Joe Theismann and Lawrence Taylor. I was thinking: keep him in the pocket and squeeze him.

Then I broke free. Even when his name was Joe Jacoby. That was one point of view. When Joe Jacoby played, he was indeed a splendid left tackle. Six seven and pounds, he was shaped differently from most left tackles of his time, and more like the left tackle of the future.

He could run, he could jump, he had big, quick hands. Taylor had been forced to create a move just for Jacoby. The moment he did—Wham! A burst of violence and he was off to the races.

Still, Jacoby was one of the linemen that always gave Taylor trouble, because he was so big and so quick and so long. In the left tackle had no real distinction. He was still expected to believe himself more or less interchangeable with the other linemen. It had its own nickname: the Hogs. Fans dressed as pigs in their honor. That night, with Jacoby out, the Redskins moved Russ Grimm from his position at left guard to left tackle.

Grimm was four inches shorter, 30 pounds lighter, and far less agile than Jacoby. As inches shorter, 30 pounds lighter, and far less agile than Jacoby.

As a result, he needed help, and got it, in the form of the extra tight end, a fellow named Don Warren. If Taylor made his move to the inside, Grimm was expected to deal with him; if Taylor went on a wide loop outside, Grimm was meant, at most, to punch him, to slow him down, and give Warren the time to stay with him. From his spot on the sidelines, Jacoby watched as Taylor went outside.

He watched Taylor race upfield and leave Warren in the dust, then double back on the quarterback. He watched as Grimm and Warren removed their helmets and walked quickly toward the sidelines, like men fleeing the scene of a crime. A few minutes later, six men bore Theismann on a stretcher to an ambulance. Nearly a year later Joe Theismann would be wandering around the Redskins locker room unable to feel his big toe, or to push off his right leg.

The game continued and the Redskins, surprisingly, won, 28— And most people who did not earn their living in the NFL trying to figure out how to protect their increasingly expensive quarterbacks shoved the incident to the back of their minds. Not ten minutes after Theismann was hauled off the field, Lawrence Taylor himself pounced on a fumble and ran to the bench, jubilant.

Frank Gifford sought to persuade his audience that Taylor was still obviously feeling upset about what he had done to Joe Theismann. He leapt out of the pile like a man on fire. It was an extension of what Lawrence Taylor had been doing to NFL quarterbacks for four and a half years. His claustrophobia revealed itself in the way he played the game: standing up looking for the best view, refusing to bend over and get down in the dirt with the other players, preferring the long and open outside route to the quarterback over the short, tight inside one.

It revealed itself, also, in the specific fear of being trapped at the bottom of a pile and not being able to escape. And he just had to get out. It was the only known instance of Lawrence Taylor imagining himself into the skin of a quarterback he had knocked from a game.

He at least glanced at all of them—usually quickly. This tape was different; this tape he watched in wonder. He knew right away that this boy was a special case. And it was just one player! You had to look at it twice to believe it: he was that big.

And yet he would get out and go chase down, and catch, these fast little linebackers. I saw how he moved and I wondered how big he really was—because no one who is that big should be able to move that fast. He played for a small private school, the Briarcrest Christian School, with no history of generating Division I college football talent.

But what made Michael Oher especially peculiar was that no one in Memphis had anything to say about him. Each year he drove 50, to 60, miles and met, and grilled, between 1, and 2, high school juniors. He got inside their heads months before the college recruiters were allowed to shake their hands. For instance, no one outside of Newport News, Virginia, had ever heard of Michael Vick—future number one pick in the entire NFL draft and quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons—before Lemming stumbled upon him and wrote him up in his newsletter.

The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game

But even in the case of Michael Vick, the people closest to him knew he had talent. Michael Vick was no secret in Newport News, Virginia. Michael Oher was as good as invisible, even in Memphis, Tennessee. The only proof of his existence was this grainy videotape. He had his reputation to protect.

Nothing was as embarrassing to him as leaving a kid off his lists who, four years later, was a first-round NFL draft pick. And the last time he had seen a player with this awesome array of physical gifts was back in , when he went to the Sizzler Steakhouse in Sandusky, Ohio, and interviewed a high school junior working behind the counter named Orlando Pace.

He was an offensive lineman but not just any offensive lineman. When Tom Lemming walked into the football meeting room at the University of Memphis, looking for Michael Oher, the ghost of Lawrence Taylor was waiting. The players on the blind side of a right-handed quarterback—both offensive and defensive—became, on average, far more highly paid than the players on the visible side.

This was strange. There was no financial distinction between left and right guards. Right-side linebackers who unlike Taylor routinely played off the line of scrimmage continued to be paid the same, on average, as left-side linebackers. Right-side cornerbacks, even further from the line of scrimmage, were paid the same as left-side cornerbacks.

A lot more. The players all made so much more money each year than they had the year before that few paid much attention to the trends within the trend. But there were several, and this was the most revelatory. In the early s, the notion that a single lineman should be paid much more than any other—and more than star running backs, wide receivers, and, in several cases, quarterbacks—would have been considered heretical had it not been so absurd.

The offensive line never abandoned, at least in public, its old, vaguely socialistic ideology. All for one, one for all, as to do our jobs well we must work together, and thus no one of us is especially important.

But by the mids the market disagreed: it had declared this one member of the offensive line a superstar. Not some interchangeable homunculus, not low-skilled labor, but a rare talent. This judgment was not rendered overnight; it was the end of a long story, of football coaches and general managers sifting and judging and scrambling to determine the relative importance of the positions on a football field, and to find the people best suited to play them.

And at the beginning of the story was Tom Lemming. There was no videotape, so he had to visit high schools and ask to see the 16mm film of their players. No one, at first: In the early days he spent every other night sleeping in his car at an Oasis truck stop. The next year he crossed the Mississippi and went right to the base of the Rockies. It took him seven years to turn a profit, but by then he had a frantic following in college football.

What must have seemed at first a mad notion—why would anyone care what some twenty-three-year-old guy with no experience thought about high school football players? Why would any high school football star waste his time answering the questions of a stranger and filling out intrusive forms? He was, in effect, the only national football scout in America.

Baseball had hundreds of scouts—guys who spent days a year traveling the country to evaluate teenagers. He has taken a complex history and woven into it a fascinating account of human kindness. Here's what I like about Michael Lewis - he is able to seamlessly interweave compelling personal stories within a larger context. Before reading this book I'd seen the movie, so I thought I knew what I was in store for: And of course this book has all of that - minus a lot of the emotional elements that the film focused on.

But what made this book great was that it explained to me a football idiot what it was about this boy that made him so sought-after in the football world, and how the evolution of the game of football to it's current incarnation had created a niche into which he was perfectly designed to fit. What I thought would be a moving story of one man's triumph in overcoming unbelievable adversity became even more than that. The writing was concise, clear, and at times humorous.

The big-picture concepts and the technical details of the mechanics of the game were seamlessly interwoven with the personal story to create an incredibly detailed and rich overall mosaic. My favorite reading is a book that tells the story of real people, and The Blind Side relates an incredible, uplifting story of professional football player Michael Oher, who, through the help of a wealthy Memphis family and his unbelievable size and athletic ability, found a life he couldn't have imagined from his vantage point as a child in the Memphis ghetto.

I bought the book and read it after I saw the movie and a television interview with the real-life Touhys. Then, I bought a second copy as a gift I'm not giving mine up. Michael Lewis has used his considerable sportswriting background to tell the story in an easy narrative style.

It's true that the reader sees only glimpses of the back stories of the characters. However, by focusing on events, Lewis has created a fast read as he quickly moves the story along. I found the movie characters to be more richly developed than those in the book.

Even Tim McGraw is developing as a passable actor. I will add that for someone moi! I will forever recognize the name Lawrence Taylor, however. One mark of a good book is that it leaves the reader wanting more, and this one may be ripening for a sequel. What has happened to the Touhys? Did Leigh Anne get her wish for a building and a school for other promising athletes who can't cut it in public school?

What is Michael Oher doing with his millions? What has happened to his mamma? His 13 siblings? I want to be on the waiting list for that sequel when Lewis thinks it's ready to be written. I am already on the waiting list for the DVD of the movie! See all reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.

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Word Wise: Enhanced Typesetting: Page Flip: Audible book: Amazon Music Stream millions of songs. Amazon Advertising Find, attract, and engage customers. Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon. Michael Lewis. He absorbs the vibrations of the world he immerses himself in without getting carried away. So as the book progresses, he never loses track of Michael Oher.

Lewis, Michael Michael M. The blind side: Oher, Michael. Football players—United States—Biography. University of Mississippi—Football. College sports—United States. O44L49 One Mississippi: He watches Riggins run two steps forward, turn, and flip the ball back to him.

Theismann searches for a receiver but instead sees Harry Carson coming straight at him. Three Mississippi: Carson now sees that Theismann has the ball. Theismann notices Carson coming straight at him, and so he has time to avoid him. He steps up and to the side and Carson flies right on by and out of the play. The play is now 3. Until this moment it has been defined by what the quarterback can see.

You assume that the sort of people who make it to the NFL are immune to the emotion. Parcells, whose passion is the football defense, believed that fear played a big role in the game. So did his players. The tackle who had just quit the Philadelphia Eagles, for instance. Sisemore played on the right side of the offensive line and Taylor usually came off the other end, but Sisemore still had to worry about the few times Taylor lined up across from him.

Their teams were in the same NFL division and met twice each regular season. The week leading up to those games, Sisemore confessed, unnerved him. He just looked at me and laughed. Right there I thought I had to get out of this game. The feelings of those assigned to prevent Taylor from hurting quarterbacks were trivial compared to those of the quarterbacks he wanted to hurt.

In , after Taylor had transformed the quarterback sack into the turning point of a football game, a new official NFL statistic was born.

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The record books defined the sack as tackling the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage as he attempts to pass. Taylor offered his own definition: So long as the guy is holding the ball, I intend to hurt him…. All by himself, Lawrence Taylor altered the environment and forced opposing coaches and players to adapt.

After Taylor joined the team, the Giants went from the second worst defense in the NFL to the third best. The year before his debut they gave up points; his first year they gave up points. They had been one of the weakest teams in the NFL and were now, overnight, a contender. Parcells became a connoisseur of the central nervous system of opposing quarterbacks.

The symptoms induced by his sack-happy linebacker included, but were not restricted to: But every quarterback had a certain amount of fear when he played us. Many people pointed to his unusual combination of size and speed. They could be found. Parcells believed that even in the NFL a lot of players were more concerned with seeming to want to win than with actually winning, and that many of them did not know the difference. What they wanted, deep down, was to keep their jobs, make their money, and go home.

Lawrence Taylor wanted to win. He expected more of himself on the field than a coach would dare to ask of any player. One of his favorites involved these very same Washington Redskins. An NFL football field is a tightly strung economy. Everything on it comes at a price.

Take away from one place and you give to another. Three men blocking Taylor meant two Giants with no one to block them. Dan Henning is the coach. He sees the strategy. They do the same thing. Two tight ends on Lawrence, two wide receivers in the slot. We win again. But after the game everyone is asking me all over again: And I mean it is really not funny. The next game we have is against the Vikings on Monday Night Football.

Tommy Kramer is the quarterback. He knocks Kramer out of the game, causes two fumbles and recovers one of them. And out of nowhere this…thing comes and jumps on my back.

He basically knocks me over. Lawrence Taylor trusted in one thing, the power of his own will. He assumed that his will could control NFL football games, and that it could also control his own chemical desires. He was right about the NFL games. By November 18, , when the Giants went into Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington, DC, to play the Redskins, opposing teams have taken to lining up their players in new and creative ways simply to deal with him.

The Redskins are a case in point. Did you see that? Oh Lord. Until that moment, football offenses had typically used running backs to block linebackers who came charging after quarterbacks.

But running backs were smaller, weaker, and, surprisingly often, given their job description, slower than Lawrence Taylor. Lynn Cain, a running back for the Atlanta Falcons, was the first to dramatize the problem. The first time Cain went to block Taylor he went in very low, got up underneath him, and sent Taylor flying head over heels. The next play Cain tried it again—and was carried off the field on a stretcher.

The one back offense. That will be the strategy tonight, but Joe Theismann knows too well its imperfections. Having that extra blocker to help the tackle addressed the problem, Theismann thought, without solving it. Too often Taylor came free.

The week of practice leading up to the game had been a seminar on Lawrence Taylor. Lawrence was the only one who had a number: He was a little red fifty-six and the number was always highlighted and circled.

The goal was: And no one wants to get his ass knocked off from the back side. It was called the right side. If he was dropping back in coverage, a sense of calm came over me. If he was coming, I had a sense of urgency.

Taylor is coming. From the snap of the ball Theismann has lost sight of him. Theismann prides himself on his ability to stand in the pocket and disregard his fear. He thinks this quality is a prerequisite in a successful NFL quarterback. He has less than half a second. Frank Gifford is in the booth, flanked by O. Simpson and Joe Namath. The damage is done by Taylor alone. One hundred and ninety-six pounds of quarterback come to rest beneath a thousand or so pounds of other things.

Then Lawrence Taylor pops to his feet and begins to scream and wave and clutch his helmet with both hands, as if in agony. His reaction is a mystery until ABC Sports clarifies the event, by replaying it over and again, in slow motion. Doug Flutie was probably a representative viewer. Flutie had just finished a glorious college quarterbacking career at Boston College and started a professional one in the USFL.

On the evening of November 18, , he was at home with his mother. She had the football game on; he had other things to do. Everyone wants to know the whole truth but no one possesses it. Not the coach on the sidelines, not the coach in the press box, and certainly not the quarterback—no one can see the whole field and take in the movement of twenty-two bodies, each with his own job assignment.

The Blind Side

In baseball or basketball all the players see, more or less, the same events. Points of view vary, but slightly. In football many of the players on the field have no idea what happened—much less why it happened—until after the play is done. Even then, most of them will need to watch a videotape to be sure. The fans, naturally more interested in effect than cause, follow the ball, and come away thinking they know perfectly well what just happened. But what happened to the ball, and to the person holding the ball, was just the final link in a chain of events that began well before the ball was snapped.

Two players will be treated above all others as the authorities on the play: Joe Theismann and Lawrence Taylor. I was thinking: Then I broke free.

Even when his name was Joe Jacoby. That was one point of view. When Joe Jacoby played, he was indeed a splendid left tackle. Six seven and pounds, he was shaped differently from most left tackles of his time, and more like the left tackle of the future. He could run, he could jump, he had big, quick hands. Taylor had been forced to create a move just for Jacoby.

The moment he did—Wham! A burst of violence and he was off to the races. Still, Jacoby was one of the linemen that always gave Taylor trouble, because he was so big and so quick and so long. In the left tackle had no real distinction. He was still expected to believe himself more or less interchangeable with the other linemen.

It had its own nickname: Fans dressed as pigs in their honor. That night, with Jacoby out, the Redskins moved Russ Grimm from his position at left guard to left tackle. Grimm was four inches shorter, 30 pounds lighter, and far less agile than Jacoby. As inches shorter, 30 pounds lighter, and far less agile than Jacoby. As a result, he needed help, and got it, in the form of the extra tight end, a fellow named Don Warren. If Taylor made his move to the inside, Grimm was expected to deal with him; if Taylor went on a wide loop outside, Grimm was meant, at most, to punch him, to slow him down, and give Warren the time to stay with him.

From his spot on the sidelines, Jacoby watched as Taylor went outside. He watched Taylor race upfield and leave Warren in the dust, then double back on the quarterback. He watched as Grimm and Warren removed their helmets and walked quickly toward the sidelines, like men fleeing the scene of a crime. A few minutes later, six men bore Theismann on a stretcher to an ambulance.

Nearly a year later Joe Theismann would be wandering around the Redskins locker room unable to feel his big toe, or to push off his right leg. The game continued and the Redskins, surprisingly, won, 28— And most people who did not earn their living in the NFL trying to figure out how to protect their increasingly expensive quarterbacks shoved the incident to the back of their minds.

Not ten minutes after Theismann was hauled off the field, Lawrence Taylor himself pounced on a fumble and ran to the bench, jubilant. Frank Gifford sought to persuade his audience that Taylor was still obviously feeling upset about what he had done to Joe Theismann.

He leapt out of the pile like a man on fire. It was an extension of what Lawrence Taylor had been doing to NFL quarterbacks for four and a half years. Taylor was claustrophobic. His claustrophobia revealed itself in the way he played the game: It revealed itself, also, in the specific fear of being trapped at the bottom of a pile and not being able to escape. And he just had to get out. It was the only known instance of Lawrence Taylor imagining himself into the skin of a quarterback he had knocked from a game.

He at least glanced at all of them—usually quickly. This tape was different; this tape he watched in wonder. He knew right away that this boy was a special case. And it was just one player! You had to look at it twice to believe it: And yet he would get out and go chase down, and catch, these fast little linebackers.

I saw how he moved and I wondered how big he really was—because no one who is that big should be able to move that fast. He played for a small private school, the Briarcrest Christian School, with no history of generating Division I college football talent.

But what made Michael Oher especially peculiar was that no one in Memphis had anything to say about him. Each year he drove 50, to 60, miles and met, and grilled, between 1, and 2, high school juniors. He got inside their heads months before the college recruiters were allowed to shake their hands. For instance, no one outside of Newport News, Virginia, had ever heard of Michael Vick—future number one pick in the entire NFL draft and quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons—before Lemming stumbled upon him and wrote him up in his newsletter.

But even in the case of Michael Vick, the people closest to him knew he had talent. Michael Vick was no secret in Newport News, Virginia. Michael Oher was as good as invisible, even in Memphis, Tennessee. The only proof of his existence was this grainy videotape. He had his reputation to protect. Nothing was as embarrassing to him as leaving a kid off his lists who, four years later, was a first-round NFL draft pick. And the last time he had seen a player with this awesome array of physical gifts was back in , when he went to the Sizzler Steakhouse in Sandusky, Ohio, and interviewed a high school junior working behind the counter named Orlando Pace.

He was an offensive lineman but not just any offensive lineman. When Tom Lemming walked into the football meeting room at the University of Memphis, looking for Michael Oher, the ghost of Lawrence Taylor was waiting.

The players on the blind side of a right-handed quarterback—both offensive and defensive—became, on average, far more highly paid than the players on the visible side.

This was strange. There was no financial distinction between left and right guards. Right-side linebackers who unlike Taylor routinely played off the line of scrimmage continued to be paid the same, on average, as left-side linebackers. Right-side cornerbacks, even further from the line of scrimmage, were paid the same as left-side cornerbacks. A lot more. The players all made so much more money each year than they had the year before that few paid much attention to the trends within the trend.

But there were several, and this was the most revelatory. In the early s, the notion that a single lineman should be paid much more than any other—and more than star running backs, wide receivers, and, in several cases, quarterbacks—would have been considered heretical had it not been so absurd. The offensive line never abandoned, at least in public, its old, vaguely socialistic ideology. All for one, one for all, as to do our jobs well we must work together, and thus no one of us is especially important.

But by the mids the market disagreed: Not some interchangeable homunculus, not low-skilled labor, but a rare talent. This judgment was not rendered overnight; it was the end of a long story, of football coaches and general managers sifting and judging and scrambling to determine the relative importance of the positions on a football field, and to find the people best suited to play them.

And at the beginning of the story was Tom Lemming. There was no videotape, so he had to visit high schools and ask to see the 16mm film of their players. No one, at first: In the early days he spent every other night sleeping in his car at an Oasis truck stop. The next year he crossed the Mississippi and went right to the base of the Rockies.

It took him seven years to turn a profit, but by then he had a frantic following in college football. What must have seemed at first a mad notion—why would anyone care what some twenty-three-year-old guy with no experience thought about high school football players? Why would any high school football star waste his time answering the questions of a stranger and filling out intrusive forms?

He was, in effect, the only national football scout in America. Baseball had hundreds of scouts—guys who spent days a year traveling the country to evaluate teenagers.

A high school baseball player could be drafted to play in the pros; a high school football player could not. Less strictly speaking, high school football players were far more highly prized, in part because colleges could usurp a great deal of their skyrocketing market value. Eight times a year Lemming published a newsletter to which all but seven of the Division I college football programs subscribed. All they wanted was for him to make them famous. There simply was no one else doing what Lemming was doing.

Overnight he became, by default, the leading independent authority on the subject of U. It was a booming market with an obvious gap: Even in the lawless days of football recruiting—before the NCAA began seriously to crack down, in the late s—recruiters from big-time football schools hunted for talent mostly in their own backyards.

In the late s, when the NCAA began to pass, and enforce, elaborate rules governing the interaction between college football coaches and high school football players, the hole in the market widened.

College football coaches were forbidden to so much as wink at a prospect until he began his senior year. When he started out, he felt, he had been too impressed by sheer physical talent and insufficiently respectful of actual on-field achievement. He still made mistakes, but fewer. By the s he had a vast, informal network of informants whom he trusted—high school coaches and fans, mainly—who allowed him to shrink the pool of 3 million high school football players down to a few thousand.

He watched tapes of those players and winnowed the pool to about 1,, whom he interviewed in person. Of the twenty-five players he picked in , for instance, fourteen wound up becoming number one draft choices in the NFL. USA Today published another one, also mainly selected by Lemming. In , the U. Army High School AllAmerican football game was born, and broadcast on national television. Lemming selected the eighty players for the game. As the noise grew louder, and the money got bigger, the politics became worse: At some point he basically ceased to believe what anyone told him about a high school football player.

He still drove 50, to 60, miles each year and interviewed, in the flesh, between 1, and 2, high school football players. He was a one-man sifting machine. When he opened for business, he assumed he was simply identifying future college football stars.

College football was mainly a running game, for instance, and the NFL, increasingly, was a passing game. College football had an appetite for all sorts of players the pros had no use for: That changed as the big-time football programs came to function as training schools for the NFL. To attract the best high school players they had to persuade them that they offered the smoothest path to the NFL.

It helped, then, if they ran NFL-style offenses and defenses.

Because of this—and because of the steady flow of NFL coaches into college football—college football became more homogenous, and less distinguishable from the game played in the NFL. In the late s, Lemming began to notice the erosion in the differences between college and pro football.

By the mids he saw that, in identifying the best future college football players, he was identifying the best future professional ones, too. The NFL would discover a passion for athletic read: There was a lag, of course.

If Lawrence Taylor created a new vogue in the NFL for exceptionally violent and speedy pass rushers with his dimensions in , it might be before Lemming encountered a big new wave of similarly shaped violent and speedy high school pass rushers.

But the wave always came. The types came and went—one decade there would be a vogue for speedy little receivers, the next decade the demand would be for tall, lanky receivers. And there were antitypes; Lord help the white running back or wide receiver or, until the early s, the black quarterback. The Lawrence Taylor type, however, came and never left. When Lemming hit the road in , he knew he would find big linebackers, and small defensive ends, whose chief future use would be to wreak havoc with the minds and bodies of quarterbacks.

The guy who could stop the Lawrence Taylor type. The left tackle type. When Tom Lemming looked at left tackles, he thought in terms of others he had selected for his All-American teams who went on to be stars in the NFL: These people looked nothing like most human beings, or even the players Lemming interviewed in the late s and s.

Freak of nature: When Lemming put high school junior Jonathan Ogden on the cover of his Annual Prep Report, Ogden was six foot nine inches tall and weighed pounds. When he did the same with Orlando Pace, Pace stood six six and weighed pounds. The ideal left tackle was big, but a lot of people were big. What set him apart were his more subtle specifications. He was wide in the ass and massive in the thighs: He had long arms: He had giant hands, so that when he grabbed ahold of you, it meant something.

The ideal left tackle also had great feet. Incredibly nimble and quick feet. He had the body control of a ballerina and the agility of a basketball player.

The combination was just incredibly rare. And so, ultimately, very expensive. The price of protecting quarterbacks was driven by the same forces that drove the price of other kinds of insurance: Quarterbacks had become wildly expensive. Even the rookie quarterback contracts now included huge guarantees. When a star running back or wide receiver is injured, the coaches worry about their game plans. When a star quarterback gets hurt, the coaches worry about their jobs. Their anxiety came to be reflected in the pay of left tackles.

The other force that drove the price of quarterback insurance was the supply of human beings who could plausibly provide it. They were the prototypes. It just smelled fishy: Film occasionally deceived: Maybe there was something seriously defective about his character.

Football was a team game; there was a limit to the pathological behavior it would tolerate, especially in a high school player. He thought he was bigger than the game. And no one player is bigger than the game. In , Lemming picked as a first team high school All-American a sensational defensive end from Louisiana named Eric Jefferson.

Before he played a down of college ball he pled guilty to armed robbery and is now serving a five-year sentence in California state prison. Ohio State still took him, and he even played a year—then got into trouble at school and vanished without a trace. As a junior in high school, Boo Boo was six five, pounds, ran a 4. Boo Boo Williams was the most promising player in a graduating class that included all kinds of future NFL stars.

And then Boo Boo, too, vanished: And so it went in football. The game attracted the very people most likely to get in trouble outside the game: To play in the NFL for money it was practically necessary to play three years in college for free.

He was accustomed to the social lives of high school football stars: The kids Lemming sought to meet were not, typically, hard to find. He walked in the door and he barely fit through the door. You also see big guys, tall guys who weigh a lot, but they have thin legs. He was just massive everywhere. Michael Oher sat down at the table across from him…and refused to speak.

Not knowing what else to do, Lemming handed the kid his questionnaire. Michael Oher looked at it and put it to one side. Lemming then handed him the ultimate prize: Army high school all-star football game. Michael Oher looked at it and put it, too, to one side. Michael Oher just shrugged. In hopes of generating some kind of response, Lemming asked what he assumed was a simple question: First and last. Michael Oher left, and left behind blank forms and unanswered questions. In the past twenty-six years Lemming had interviewed between forty and fifty thousand high school football players.

Never—not once—had a player simply refused to talk to him, or declined to fill in his forms. They begged to answer his questions and fill in his forms. That incident had occurred in this very room, in Memphis, Tennessee. The player was named Albert Means. And the Crimson Tide spent the next two seasons on probation. I got no sense of anything about him. The other ten would be lost to injury or crime or bad grades or drugs. The sponsors of the U.

Army All-American game worried a great deal about their good name. Michael Oher fell into that category, Lemming decided, a character risk. And I try to go with the best players. I thought he could be the best offensive lineman to come out of the South in the last five years. He was an instant All-American. I saw him as a number one NFL draft choice.

Playing left tackle. Army All-American game. Driving east, he left the third poorest zip code in the United States and headed toward some of the richest people on earth. He left a neighborhood in which he could drive all day without laying eyes on a white person for one where a black person was a bit of a curiosity.

Memphis could make you wonder why anyone ever bothered to create laws segregating the races. More than a million people making many millions of individual choices generated an outcome not so different from a law forbidding black people and white people from mingling. As Big Tony puttered along in his ancient Ford Taurus, he passed what was left of Hurt Village, a barracks-style housing project built for white working-class families in the mids, reoccupied by blacks, and, in the end, controlled by gangs: Hurt Village was where Big Tony had grown up.

He passed schools that had once been all white and were now all black. He passed people, like himself, in old clothes driving old cars.

Further east, he passed the relatively prosperous black church, Mississippi Boulevard, housed in a building abandoned by the white Baptists when they fled further east to a new church so huge and sprawling that it had been dubbed Six Flags Over Jesus. Even God, in the west end of Memphis, felt like a hand-me-down. As Big Tony drove east he left what was, in effect, a secondhand city occupied by black people and entered the place for which it had been exchanged: And now here came Big Tony, chugging along in his beat-to-hell Taurus, chasing after them.

Everyone called him Big Tony—his actual name was Tony Henderson—because he stood six three and weighed nearly pounds. But today he had a motive: And her dying wish had been for him to go east. She smoked, she drank, she ran around; then suddenly, in , she gave up alcohol, then her three-pack-a-day cigarette habit, then sin itself.

As Betty Boo lay dying, in the early summer of , she asked Tony for one thing: She wanted her grandson to become a preacher. Steven was one of the best students in his class, and always had been. Occasionally, one of the boys from Hurt Village would crash on his floor; but a few months before, a boy came to stay the night and never left.

He seldom attended classes, and showed no talent or interest in school. Just a few days after he buried his mother, he put Steven and Big Mike in his car, and drove east.

White Memphis had use for a great variety of Christian schools: ECS was as close to a church as a school could get. Finally, and furthest east, was the Briarcrest Christian School. Briarcrest, also evangelical, was as far east as you could get and still be in Memphis.

Briarcrest, more than the others, had been created to get away from Big Tony.Quarterbacks had become wildly expensive. We need your help to hold him down. When he emerged from the locker room, he found a fleet of cars and only one spot left in them, right beside his coach. The school had existed in East Memphis for nearly thirty years and yet no one who worked there could recall a poor black person from the west side of Memphis marching through its front door to enroll his child.

Audible book Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible book with Whispersync for Voice. Harrington tossed him a ball anyway, just to see.

JENETTE from Indianapolis
I do love reading comics yieldingly. Also read my other articles. I enjoy shuffleboard.