Newton’s Football: The Science Behind America’s Game

Allen St. John and Ainissa G. Ramirez. Ballantine, $26 (250p) ISBN 978-0-345-54514-5
In this collaboration, journalist St. John (The Billion Dollar Game and Clapton’s Guitar) and scientist Ramirez (Save Our Science) have taken scientific equations and theories and applied them to the “bone-crushing” sport of football. The authors have done a worthy job of combining popular science and sports into a work that features enough expertise on each topic to satisfy nerds and jocks alike. That means comparing the West Coast offense’s need for “quarterbacks to think like a computer” to Boolean algebra and its use of ones and zeros, and likening the no-huddle offense to chaos theory. The writers succeed in their task thanks to in-depth scientific knowledge, a wonderful grasp of football’s past and present, interviews with a wide array of experts, and witty prose (as when the authors ask, “How—on a granular level—do two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions on a sesame seed bun turn into a future NFL Hall of Famer?”). While some chapters—like those devoted to figuring out which player Sir Isaac Newton would draft first or how kids should learn how to tackle—aren’t as successful at demonstrating the connection between science and football, they are, like the rest of this work, fun and thought-provoking, proving that football is a mind game as much as it is a ball game. Agents: (for Ramirez) Laura Wood, FinePrint Literary; (for St. John) Jason Allen Ashlock, Moveable Type Management. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/14/2013
Release date: 11/19/2013
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Open Ebook - 177 pages - 978-0-345-54515-2
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