Friday, December 23, 2016
"Friday, Saturday, Sunday In Texas"
I don't usually review football books, but I was recently sent a copy of Nick Eatman's "Friday, Saturday, Sunday In Texas". It takes an in-depth look at football in the Lone Star State at three different levels: high school, college and the NFL.
Eatman, who writes for and manages the website DallasCowboys.com, spent the 2015 season with three teams in the state of Texas: the Dallas Cowboys, the Baylor Bears, and Plano Senior High School Wildcats. The book reads like a diary of every weekend of football, starting Fridays with the Wildcats, Saturdays with the Bears, and Sundays with the Cowboys.
The 2014 season had been successful for all three teams, as all three made postseason or bowl appearances.
But 2015 turned out to be down years for all three squads. Plano is a very successful high school program, playing in stadiums on Friday nights that can hold as many as 10,000 people. With Plano, we follow their ups and downs, as well as players making difficult decisions about where they'll be heading once their high school careers come to a close. For Plano, it was a down season, going 4-8 and not making the playoffs. And in the state of Texas, even at the high school level, that is unacceptable.
Baylor had come off an 11-2 season in 2014, and just missed getting into the national championship semifinals. But it was off the field issues that surrounded Baylor as the 2015 season got started, and a sex scandal would cast a pall over it and head coach Art Briles. (It would cost Briles his job in mid-2016 when another sex scandal involving a Baylor player came to light, and Eatman does chronicle that in-depth.)
There's always drama surrounding the Dallas Cowboys, and their controversial loss to Green Bay in the 2014 playoffs opens their story. They would win their first two games before an injury to Tony Romo (doesn't that happen every year?) would lead to quarterback controversies and just about derail their 2015 season, as they finished 4-12.
Eatman weaves all three teams' seasons together, and goes behind the scenes to look at the similarities and differences of winning and losing football in the state of Texas, where the common stereotype is largely true: football is king, and it is a religion.
There are far more lows than highs in the book, and I think Eatman just picked the wrong season to chronicle. (He did point out in the acknowledgments that he originally intended to write the book about the 2014 season, but had to move it back a year because he couldn't find the right publisher for the book.)
I also found a few typos in the book, and a couple of editing errors. That doesn't speak well for HarperCollins, who published the book, but overall "Friday, Saturday, Sunday In Texas" isn't a bad read at all. Texas football is a fascinating subject, but Nick Eatman may regret not having done the book a year earlier.
"Friday, Saturday, Sunday In Texas" was published this past September by HarperCollins Books.