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Toss: A Novel

A book by Boomer Esiason

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Tossing the book at dirty ball

  • Feb 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, but it seems a bit much to see it all on one team

Still, Toss reads fast and keeps your interest up.  Rookie QB Derek Brody was a training camp holdout before joining the New York Stars, a bunch of perennial losers with all the vices we listed above.  Confident to the point of cocky, but focused on football to the point of keeping himself too clean for corruption, it turns out that he too has a hidden past that the front office spies have uncovered to blackmail him into becoming part of the dysfunctional football family of the Stars.  

But Brody has smarts, persistence, and help--his agent, an out-of-town lawyer, and his girlfriend, an out-of-work actress, who stumbles onto the evidence that draws Brody into the mystery and starts him on the path to unraveling the solution.  

Believability may not be a strong suit of the novel, but it is interesting and fun, and the good guys win.  How often does that happen in the NFL?  Toss is a touchdown that is undeservedly overlooked..

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Todd Stockslager ()
Ranked #36
I love reading and writing about what I have read, making the connections and marking the comparisons and contrasts. God has given man the amazing power to invent language and the means to record it which … more
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About this book


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 ...

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ISBN-10: 0451408748
ISBN-13: 978-0451408747
Author: Boomer Esiason
Publisher: Onyx

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