Monday, April 6, 2015

On the Clock, by Barry Wilner and Ken Rappoport

What 2014 springtime sporting event got higher ratings than the NBA and NHL playoff games?  The NFL draft!  What is the appeal of a room full of men in suits, talking heads, and no game action?  Barry Wilner and Ken Rappoport break it down in On the Clock: The History of the NFL Draft.  From the first draft in 1936 up to the multimedia reality show that it is today, Wilner and Rappoport cover historical highlights (and lowlights), introduce the analysts who have become the stars of the draft, discuss the role of ESPN and the NFL Network in raising interest in the draft, and look at players who have been bargains or busts in the draft through the years.

On the Clock is a treasure trove of NFL trivia and history.  Football fans in their 40s or younger may not remember the days before the NFL was the corporate machine that it is today.  The competing leagues, the ad hoc line-ups, and the relatively small amounts of money involved made for a very different football landscape.  The evolution of the draft played a large role in making the NFL what it is today.

In terms of readability, On the Clock isn't great literature.  There was a sense of it being cobbled together, with random pieces of narrative, interesting tidbits, and anecdotes.  It almost had the feel of one of those "bathroom reader" books.  Maybe that's not a bad thing, but it's not what I expected.  So this may not be the expansive story of the NFL Draft, but it's a great resource that football fans will love. 

Thanks to NetGalley for the complimentary electronic review copy!

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