Tales from the New York Giants Sideline by Paul Schwartz
Review by C. Douglas Baker
Tales from the New York Giants Sideline provides the professional football and Giants fan very little. It is poorly organized, provides absolutely no insight into the team, its history, and its championship seasons. Even more disappointing, given that the book is based on interviews with many past and present players and coaches, it gives little insight into the personalities that have given this franchise a unique and deep history. In short, it is a total failure.
The book is divided into six chapters: Training Camp, The Season, The Founder, The Coaches, The Teammates, and The Championships. None of the chapters provide great insight on the given topic. Further, the organization of the book provides no chronological continuity as it jumps all over the place in time and era. Essentially what this book consists of are very short vignettes, in fact vignettes isn’t even the right word, short snippets, that give a little nugget of information about the team and players. It’s basically a little collection of quotes and comments about the chapter topics.
The players, coaches, and owners that get the most air time, so to speak, are Wellington Mara, Sam Huff, Y.A. Tittle, Frank Gifford, Phil Simms, and Bill Parcels. Of course other players and events are touched upon, but not in any meaningful way. Yes, Lawrence Taylor is in here, but mostly only in embarrassing situations.
Very unfortunately is that there is a little bit, but not nearly enough, about some of the most important events in Giants history. Want to know a little bit about one of the seminal games in NFL History, the 1958 NFL Championship between the Giants and Baltimore Colts (the first overtime game in NFL history)? You won’t get much here. Want to know about the Giants’ Super Bowl years? You won’t get a lot here except a few quotes and comments. In short, you don’t get much at all with this book.
Thus, I would not recommend this book to a football fan or Giants fan. There is just not enough information or good storytelling here to make this book worthwhile. It is a quick and easy read, but even casual Giants’ fans are not likely to learn anything particularly new or worthwhile.
The author of this book has covered the New York Giants for the New York Post since 1994. The Giants have had mostly mediocre results during this time frame, this book is less than mediocre.