"The GM"

In 2006, Ernie Accorsi, the general manager of the New York Giants, invited Tom Callahan to spend the season with Accorsi's team. Accorsi's determination to retire when the season was over made the invitation especially intriguing. Whatever Callahan wrote wouldn't endanger Accorsi's job.

This is not to suggest that Callahan has anything negative to say about Accorsi, because he doesn't. The two men have been friends for many years. Maybe that's part of the reason that in "The GM: The Inside Story of a Dream Job and the Nightmares That Go With It," Accorsi comes across as a loyal, frank, intelligent man surrounded by treacherous, lying fools. Actually, that's not entirely fair. Some of the fools are also monomaniacal and deluded.

In the best parts of the book, Accorsi and various other old pro football hands tell stories. One of my favorites involves a guy named Bobby Colbert, a lip-reader who coached the football team at the Gallaudet School for the deaf for a while. Back in 1977, the Baltimore Colts employed Mr. Colbert on their sideline. His job was to read the lips of the defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, whom he caught "saying" "double safety delayed blitz." Mr. Colbert's read was relayed to Colts quarterback Bert Jones, who changed the play at the line of scrimmage and hit tight end Raymond Chester with a pass, after which Chester ran eighty yards to score the touchdown that won the game.

And some of you thought Bill Belichick was an original thinker. Hey, he's just a guy who's updated an old trick with contemporary technology.

Anybody who likes learning something about what goes on inside a pro football team will enjoy this book, but Accorsi and Callahan are good enough story tellers to entertain non-fans as well.

This program aired on September 19, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.


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