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Football for a Buck

The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


From a multiple New York Times bestselling author, the rollicking, outrageous, you-can’t-make-this-up story of the USFL
The United States Football League—known fondly to millions of sports fans as the USFL—was the last football league to not merely challenge the NFL, but cause its owners and executives to collectively shudder. It spanned three seasons, 1983-85. It secured multiple television deals. It drew millions of fans and launched the careers of legends. But then it died beneath the weight of a particularly egotistical and bombastic owner—a New York businessman named Donald J. Trump. The league featured as many as 18 teams, and included such superstars as Steve Young, Jim Kelly, Herschel Walker, Reggie White, Doug Flutie and Mike Rozier.
In Football for a Buck, the dogged reporter and biographer Jeff Pearlman draws on more than four hundred interviews to unearth all the salty, untold stories of one of the craziest sports entities to have ever captivated America. From 1980s drug excess to airplane brawls and player-coach punch outs, to backroom business deals, to some of the most enthralling and revolutionary football ever seen, Pearlman transports readers back in time to this crazy, boozy, audacious, unforgettable era of the game. He shows how fortunes were made and lost on the backs of professional athletes and also how, thirty years ago, Trump was a scoundrel and a spoiler.
For fans of Terry Pluto’s Loose Balls or Jim Bouton’s Ball Four and of course Pearlman’s own stranger-than-fiction narratives, Football for a Buck is sports as high entertainment—and a cautionary tale of the dangers of ego and excess.

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 30, 2018 – Pearlman (Gunslinger) wonderfully recounts the story of the spring professional football league that enthralled fans, frustrated the NFL, and withered to the dismay of the players who fought for the game they loved. The United States Football League played its first season in 1983 as a cadre of businessmen tried to cash in on the financial boom of televised football. Starring a smorgasbord of luminaries such as Jim Kelly, Herschel Walker, and Steve Young, as well as NFL has-beens and third-tier college stars, the USFL was far more than the joke that the NFL wanted to believe it was. In addition to providing a rough history of the short-lived league, Pearlman illustrates how hubris led to the league's abrupt demise, as team owners including a young Donald Trump, who owned the New Jersey Generals began to believe the spring league could move to the fall and challenge the NFL's supremacy, resulting in an antimonopoly case that virtually bankrupted the league in 1985 and led to owners abandoning their teams while players jumped to the NFL or faded into obscurity. Pearlman's hundreds of interviews with former players and coaches shine a light on this almost forgotten league. This is an excellent book for football junkies, but it's just as enthralling for a general audience.

Customer Reviews

Another fun read

If you hate his book then your not a real sports reader. Puts you behind the scenes and makes you feel like the USFL is happening as you read the book. Pearlman is the 30for30 in book world.


Jeff Pearlman writes amazing sports books. I’m not sure he cares one way or another about the 86 Mets or the 90s Cowboys or Barry Bonds but he wrote great books about them. I know for a fact he loves the USFL and the passion he has for the subject makes for his best book yet.

Jeff Interviewed hundreds of people for this book. The result is amazing stories. So many amazing stories. The book is loaded with anecdotes. It’s fantastic.

Pearlman is awesome. His USFL book is amazing.

Football for a Buck
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  • $15.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Football
  • Published: Sep 11, 2018
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Seller: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
  • Print Length: 384 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings