I'm currently accepting new inquiries for speaking engagements. Please use the "contact" link above to get in touch.


World Cup Scene: South Africa 2010

In June 2010, I went to South Africa with my family to see soccer's World Cup. I had covered the event for a newspaper twice before, but this time, I went strictly as a fan. I had a lot more fun sitting in the stands with sports fans from around the world.

We were in Africa for 10 days and attended three games. This picture in this post is from the USA-Algeria game in Pretoria on June 23rd -- the game in which Landon Donovan scored a dramatic goal in extra time to give the US a victory and a place in the tournament's "knockout" phase.

If you click on the thumbnail picture, it opens a larger version you can peruse for a close look at the scene in South Africa. The stadium in Pretoria was a renovated rugby ground with the feel of an Ivy League football stadium. The game kicked off in the late afternoon under clear skies and ended as darkness fell and the temperature dropped into the low 50s. There were thousands of Americans in the stands, cheering and waving flags, and needless to say, they went berserk when Donovan scored.

I took this picture from my seat early in the game. There was a family of Algerians sitting right in front of us. They rooted hard but we all got along. As soon as Donovan scored, they looked at each other and ran for the exit. It was as if they couldn't stand to watch the last few minutes.


Speaking in NYC on 3/3/11 about "That First Season"

I will be appearing in New York City on Thursday, March 3, as part of the "Varsity Letters" sports reading series, a free monthly event sponsored by Gelf Magazine. The topic will be "That First Season," my book about Vince Lombardi's first season in Green Bay -- pretty topical these days given the Packers' Super Bowl victory and the fine off-Broadway play about Lombardi currently running in New York.

The "Varsity Letters" event is at (Le) Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleeker Street, starting at 7:30 p.m. I encourage all fans of football history and the Packers to come and listen.

Two other authors will also speak -- Sport's Illustrated's Jon Wertheim, co-author of "Scorecasting," and Doug Merlino, author of "The Hustle."

Here's a link to my question-and-answer session with a Gelf interviewer:


Hope to see you there.


New Book Project. . .and Help Wanted

I'm excited to announce I've started working on a new book to be released in 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the publisher of two of my previous books -- That First Season (2009) and The Great Match Race (2006). My new subject is the rollicking pro football war that took place in Dallas, Texas, from 1960 to 1962, when two teams -- the Cowboys of the National Football League and the Texans of the American Football League -- played there and fought bitterly for the loyalty of the city's fans.

It's funny how ideas are hatched. I included a chapter on the subject when I wrote my football memoir Cotton Bowl Days more than a decade ago, and I had more or less forgotten about it, but then the people at NFL Films, whom I respect enormously, contacted me last summer about being interviewed for their AFL documentary, Full Color Football. They had read Cotton Bowl Days and wanted me to serve as an expert on the Dallas war. Meanwhile, I was on the prowl for a new book idea. Several weeks after I taped the NFL Films interview late last summer, the light bulb came on. The "Battle of Dallas" had everything going for it, from fueding oil-rich Texans (team owners Lamar Hunt and Clint Murchison) to football legends such as Cowboys coach Tom Landry. It was set in pro football's coming-of-age era, a fascinating time, and had the plot line of an old western -- the town wasn't big enough for both teams, and in the end, one would have to go. It was a perfect subject for me, a Dallas native raised in those years. My publisher quickly agreed.

I've started researching and writing, and I'm looking for people who have memories of those years either as a fan of the Texans, a fan of the Cowboys, a fan of both, or just as a Dallas resident observing the scene. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with me via the contact page on this website. You will hear back from me. I'm looking to write about the fans as well as the owners, coaches, and players, since the fans were so integral to the story. I obviously can't promise anyone they'll end up in the book, but I want to compile as many stories, opinions, and perspectives from those days as I can, and some will make it. Thanks in advance for any help!




Top Ten in Wisconsin

Nice to see That First Season make a list in the Milwaukee-Journal-Sentinel.


That First Season as Column Fodder

Columnists around the country have found the book useful as the 2009 NFL season unfolds.

Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post took time out from the World Series to quiz me about the book in a late October 2009 blog post.

Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News mentioned the book in a November 2009 column when the Dallas Cowboys visited Green Bay.

Thom Loverro of the Washington Times used the book in a November 2009 column about what is wrong with the Washington Redskins -- a favorite subject of mine.