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Combine one smart former quarterback (Boomer Esiason led the Cincinnati Bengals to the Super Bowl, among other gridiron triumphs) and one smart crime writer (Lowell Cauffiel'sMarkeris an equally impressive performance) and you come up with an exciting, entertaining thriller filled to the brim with succulent slices of football high and low life.

As the team helicopter whizzes them into Manhattan, Derek Brody--the rookie quarterback just signed to a $6 million deal by the New York Stars--reveals his survival technique to his lawyer-agent by drawing a circle on a piece of paper. "'Okay, this is me,' he explained. Around it, he drew six more circles, connecting them all to the one in the middle like the spokes of a wheel. He labeled the others: COACH. TEAM. FANS. MEDIA. FRONT OFFICE. And finally, WIFE/GIRLFRIEND/FRIENDS. 'That's how it's different for a quarterback,' Brody said. 'All these circles can threaten your game. "Don't let the gifts of football take you away from football." That's how my old man used to put it. That's why I don't really give a shit about the Nike deal. Or the news conference. You focus only on winning. Winning will keep all these other circles in line.'"

But winning isn't the only problem with the hapless Stars. They're a tainted team, dirty from top to bottom, plagued with corruption and racial strife that makes them hard to like but easy to believe. Meeting with Eric Smith (a crippled wreck who once was the Stars' last great quarterback hope) minutes before Smith's murder gets Brody involved in a series of plays that will either kill him or help him understand what's going on behind the scenes. Along the way, Esiason and Cauffiel let us share some raunchy inside jokes that--like the dirty laundry they hang out so lavishly--are too good not to be true. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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ISBN-10:  0451408748
ISBN-13:  978-0451408747
Author:  Boomer Esiason
Publisher:  Onyx
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review by . February 28, 2011
The "Toss" in the title of this little-known novel by NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason doesn't refer to touchdown passes.  Toss, also co-written by Lowell Cauffiel, provides a look at every sordid angle of the dirty side of the NFL:  felons on the field, gamblers in the locker room, incompetents in the coach's office, and double-dealing mob murderers in the front office.  In the ten-plus years since Esiason wrote this book we've seen all of this stuff on Sportscenter, …
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