The Meat Market: The Inside Story of the NFL Draft

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9780026276627: The Meat Market: The Inside Story of the NFL Draft
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A journalist and ex-football player reports from a front-row seat in the Chicago Bears office about the elaborate scouting process that leads to the selection of new players on draft day

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From Kirkus Reviews:

The lowdown on how NFL teams obtain college players; by Whittingham, a novelist (State Street, 1991) and sportswriter (Saturday Afternoon, 1985, etc.). Meat--talented meat--has always been the indispensable athletic ingredient, and, Whittingham explains, each graduating college class is that year's prime source, via the draft. As the author follows the Chicago Bears through their draft, he clearly and accurately describes its elements--the scouts and scouting combines, the computerized evaluation of players, the role of intuition, the strategies that evolve, and the security precautions that resemble the protection of major industrial or military secrets. Whittingham also catches the wheel-and-deal mood of coaches and managers as they trade ``picks,'' try to read opponents' minds, and play computerized ``mock-draft'' war games based on what other teams are expected to do. Finally, the team must sign the player, and while, Whittingham says, this is very much a business, it's one in which the tone is set by the high testosterone levels, sometimes augmented, of participants on and off the field. Unpredictability is a constant, and when Notre Dame's #1 choice, Raguib ``Rocket'' Ismail, dodged the draft and shot off to Canada for $18 million last year, his move was not so unprecedented--holdouts are common, and a draft pick might decide not to turn pro at all. (Or a player might decide to play both football and baseball, as Bo Jackson did.) The vignettes are memorable: William ``Refrigerator'' Perry eating six chickens at a sitting and cutting a deal with McDonald's for each day's leftover hamburgers, or George Halas scooping Red Grange out of his undergraduate Illinois uniform for the Bears back in the 20's. Definitive work for couch-potato grid fans but--as it grinds through the endless details of the 1991 draft--too much of a good thing. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Only the most diehard pro football fans will want to read this analysis by sportswriter Whittingham ( What a Game They Played ) of the NFL's draft system, in which the team with the previous year's worst record gets to pick the best player from the college game and so on through the league, with the current league champions picking last. The goal is to ensure that all teams are competitive. One of the teams most successful at selecting college gridders has been the Chicago Bears, and Whittingham concentrates on them, showing how the team's coaches and management make use of BLESTO, a kind of clearinghouse of information about undergraduate players; their own scouts; the NFL scouting camp, where potential draftees are put through their paces; and Plan B, in which a team can pick up players not "protected" by another squad (usually overage or overpaid athletes). Finally come "D-Days," when the 28 NFL teams pick the 336 footballers they want, each one a gamble despite all the advance planning.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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