Monday, August 26, 2013

Review of "Going Deep"

It is getting to that time of the year again when many people turn to thoughts of the National Football League, fantasy drafts, point spreads, offensive get the picture. So, time to start reviewing some football books. The first one for the season that I picked was written by a long-time star of my favorie team, the Minnesota Vikings. Hall of Fame reciever Cris Carter makes his case about recievers being the most prominent players on a team in "Going Deep."

“Going Deep: How Wide Receivers Became the Most Compelling Figures in Pro Sports ” by Cris Carter and Jeffri Chadiha

Football, professional, wide receivers

July 30, 2013

305 pages

3 of 5 stars (good)

The position of quarterback has long been considered the most glamorous in professional football, but in his new book, Cris Carter makes the case that the position of wide receiver is now the most compelling position. He uses anecdotes from his 16-year career to illustrated how the position evolved from players who simply caught passes to becoming key parts to a well-tuned offense and the players who make the biggest plays that are exciting for not only the scoring on the field, but also for television.

Carter doesn’t just limit the book to his own career. This is not a memoir of his life and career.  Instead, he also shares how he mentored two receivers who became superstars at the position, Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald. It is worth noting that both have Minnesota connections as Carter, a long time Minnesota Viking, guided Moss when they were teammates and Fitzgerald, a Minnesota native, was participating in camps and practices with the team. These two individuals are noted to be very different in their mannerisms, yet both illustrate that wide receivers are now the focus of attention for teams who need to improve, for television highlights, and even for their places in history. 

Wide receivers such as Terrell Owens, Michael Irvin and Chad Johnson all are given prominent spots in the book as they are the best examples of talented receivers who not only were All-Pro quality, they were also individuals who craved the spotlight and each of them received a great deal of it.  They each had both positive and negative experiences with that recognition. Carter uses that craving to make his case of how the wide receiver is now the most compelling player on any pro football team, regardless of who is the quarterback. 

When he would either discuss other receivers or explain his position on certain topics such as how he felt about showboating by receivers, rule changes or other hot button topics, there was a surprising lack of depth. While Carter would speak his mind, just like he does on his ESPN telecasts, he offered surprisingly little depth to his position.  This is not to say he didn’t have evidence to back up his opinion – it is just that this evidence did not have a lot of detail that would have helped support his stance.

Overall, this is a good book for any NFL fan who enjoys reading about spectacular plays, interesting characters and personal stories.  While the book has all of these, there isn’t a lot of research or detailed writing about these receivers.   The stories are based mostly on personal interactions and old press reports.   That makes for good light reading but not the best way to try to convince the reader that wide receivers are now the most important players in the game today. 


Did I skim?

Pace of the book: 
Very good.  It was a fast read, and will be for readers who are knowledgeable about professional football.

Most books written by professional athletes that focus on the sport they played, their memoirs or something similar offer a unique perspective that a writer who was not a player cannot recapture.  This book has that quality as Carter provided a perspective on the position and a few of the players there, especially Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald.  

The biggest negative that I have with this book is that it doesn’t go into greater details on certain topics.   This is especially true on Carter’s reflections on his own life.  What lead to his cocaine addiction?  How was he really treated in Philadelphia?  While he was Randy Moss’ mentor in Minnesota, what was their relationship truly like?  

Do I recommend?
Yes, for anyone who enjoys NFL football.  What it lacks in details it makes up for in entertainment and like any book that tries to make a bold statement, it will be an interesting conversation piece among armchair quarterbacks.  

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  1. Great review, Lance! I learned a bit about what being a wie receiver means. :)

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thank you Sarah. Glad you learned a little bit about the game. Just in time for the start of the season tonight.