Can a Good Book Make Me a Jet Fan?

Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football, by Nicholas Dawidoff, is so well written and so full of vivid and insightful detail, that I don't even mind that it's about the Jets; the narrative runs from the extremely familiar -- Rex Ryan rents a giant house in the Outer Banks and he extends "an open invitation to the other Jets coaches and their families to come for a stay, play games like corn-hole toss and washers . . . all he asked was that each family choose one night to prepare dinner for everyone" to things you'd never know from watching football on Sunday: in the 2010 playoff game when the Jets beat the Patriots, it appeared that the Jets were porous against the run, but that was actually "intentional . . . allowing New England a reasonably effective series of runs that distracted the Patriots from what they did best: pass" and the multifarious mysteries of a sport where eleven players are doing eleven different things . . . the 2009 Jets gave up only eight passing touchdowns, but in 2010, when they had two great cornerbacks (Revis and Cromartie) they gave up three times as many . . . was it lack of pass rush? had paired-man coverage become too predictable? was Cromartie jealous of Revis? . . . answers are hard to come by, but the coaches put in 120 hour weeks trying to figure it out, and that's what this book is about -- what goes on during all those hours at the facility, in one sense, the book is barely about the players at all.

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