Friday Book Whimsy: The Blind Side

I know. I know. You are all thinking that you can’t believe I’m doing a review on a book published 15 years ago. Or maybe you think I’m doing a movie review of a film older than many of my grandkids. Never fear. It’s football season and watching the games reminded me of the book I first read shortly after it was published. The Blind Side by Michael Lewis was one of my favorite books when I first read it, and I liked it just as well when I re-read it recently.

It’s complete title is The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game. The game, of course, is professional football, and Lewis gives readers a lesson on how the game evolved from a mostly running game — power football, not that much different than traditional college football — to a the more finessed game that we watch every Sunday.

Everyone knows the story of Michael Oher, the homeless, nearly illiterate young man whom a wealthy, football-loving Memphis family took under their wing, giving him a fresh new life. The Blind Side movie will always be one of my favorite movies of all time. Two words: Sandra Bullock.

,Lewis’s book definitely uses Oher to demonstrate the real point of the book, which is how power football became the passing football we are all used to these days. And as the passing game increased in popularity, thanks largely to San Francisco 49ers Coach Bill Walsh and his then-renaissance “West Coast offense,” the game of professional football was permanently altered. He and Joe Montana changed the game of football.

Once the quarterback began dropping back to pass more frequently, having someone to protect the QB’s blind side — namely, the left tackle in most cases — he became the second most important player on the team as evidenced by salaries. What was a fairly nondescript position suddenly was critical to the game. Keeping the QB safe was top of everyone’s minds

Lewis is a wonderful writer, turning nonfiction into readable stories that are understandable to those unfamiliar with his topic, as evidenced by some of his other books such as Moneyball and The Big Short (both which interestly also became movies).

Just as I enjoyed the movie, I enjoyed the story of Michael Oher that was written within the pages of the book very much. But The Blind Side is so much more than the story of Oher. As much as I love football, so much about the game always has eluded me. Lewis’s descriptions of football plays and football players added texture and interest to this already readable book. And I learned so much about the game of football.

I can’t recommend it enough, especially for football fans.

Here is a link to the book.

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