Bringing the Heat is the story of one team's season-long campaign for the NFL championship, told through the personal stories of the men on the field and the coaches, managers, and owner on the sidelines. The team is the 1992 Philadelphia Eagles, a group of players assembled in the iconoclastic image of their former head coach Buddy Ryan. They are known throughout the league for their ferocious defense and for the otherworldly talents of their quarterback Randall Cunningham.
Award-winning journalist Mark Bowden gets deep inside the world of professional football in a way no writer has ever done before, with an insightful and hilarious portrait of one of the most exciting teams ever to play the game. He spares none of the game's ugliness - the greed, the racism, and the often sadistic violence - while capturing the beauty of athleticism at its highest level, the courage of men who face each play knowing that one bad hit can end a career, and above all the exultant glory of victory that inspires their struggle to be the best.
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This look at the Philadelphia Eagles covers both the tenure of coach Buddy Ryan, which began in 1986 and ended with his firing in 1991, and the next three years of current coach Rich Kotite's regime. The 1992 season is the focal point, but Bowden, who covered the Eagles for the Philadelphia Inquirer, deals in depth with the years leading up to that season. Of particular interest are Bowden's profiles of many of the Eagles' colorful characters, including Ryan, owner Norman Braman (who sold the team to Hollywood producer Jeff Lurie in 1994) and players Jerome Brown, Seth Joyner and Randall Cunningham. Bowden pulls no punches, documenting the stormy off-the-field lives of several team members including Joyner and Wes Hopkins, as well as describing the players' dislike of star quarterback Cunningham. Although a bit melodramatic at times, this is as thorough an account of a sports franchise as any fan, even Eagles fanatics, could want. Photos not seen by PW (Oct).
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The 1992 season would be a critical one for the National Football League's Philadelphia Eagles: charismatic defensive star Jerome Brown had recently died in a car accident; gruff head coach Buddy Ryan had been fired; and the team was coming off a couple of first-round playoff defeats. Bowden, who spent three years covering the Eagles for the Philadelphia Inquirer, shares his insights into the tumultuous season, describing in detail the travails of new head coach Rich Kotite, who fomented a season-long controversy by trying to reign in scrambling quarterback Randall Cunningham. Among the numerous other issues Bowden addresses is the injury dilemma: When should a player return from an injury? Whose interests are primary to a team doctor, the player's or the team's? Though the primary audience here is Eagles fans, the book should interest anyone who follows football. Bowden offers an entertaining, informative insider's glimpse into everyday life in the NFL. Wes Lukowsky
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