CheeseheadTV Review of New Brett Favre Book – Gunslinger…
Jeff Pearlman’s new Brett Favre biography,”Gunslinger: The Remarkable,Improbable,Iconic Life of Brett Favre,” (link to Amazon) comes out this week. We got a sneak peek at the book here at CheeseheadTV and are offering up this review:
I remember being 17 years old,laying on my parent’s couch and reading Jeff Pearlman’s now (in)famous profile of John Rocker, the loudmouthed Atlanta Braves closer,in Sports Illustrated in 1999. When I finished the piece,I had two thoughts:
1.That was different.
2.That was awkward.
Fast forward 16 years and Pearlman is a unique and accessible presence in the world of online sports journalism and one of the most underrated sports biographers on the market. Pearlman’s resume includes outstanding books on the Dallas Cowboys’ 1990s dynasty,the Showtime Los Angeles Lakers and Walter Payton. He’s
a personal favorite author and journalist,one of those writers whose work you immediately click when it pops in your Twitter feed regardless of what you’re doing.
So why wasn’t I more excited to learn that Pearlman would be writing a book about Brett Favre,my favorite athlete? Two reasons:
1.I consumed anything and everything Favre-related since the day he became the Packers quarterback. Print profiles,TV features,radio interviews,John Madden gushing over No. 4 during broadcasts — I read/viewed/listened/loved them all. What else is left to be said about Favre that hasn’t already been said? Does the world of sports media need more Brett Favre?
2.Like Pearlman’s Rocker piece,I was worried about things getting…awkward. Deep down I knew there was probably plenty more to be said about Favre than what had already been said. Because Pearlman is good at what he does,I knew he’d unearth a lot of this stuff and it was likely to be awkward. I know Favre,like all of us,is a flawed human being. But did I really want to know just how much more flawed my favorite athlete was than I originally thought? Part of me just wanted to remember the touchdown passes,the Super Bowl,the hiccup with addiction,the Iron Man streak and leave it at that.
That’s a long-winded personal intro to what is supposed to be book review. Alright,enough of me blabbing. How’s the book?
Good. Really good. A definite must-read for Packers fans,Favre fans,football fans and fans of good books and exhaustive reporting.
Within the first 20 pages it hits you just how much research Pearlman put into this effort. This isn’t a compilation of information on Favre one can easily find from existing sources. Pearlman conducted nearly 600 interviews and dug through all kinds of other sources to paint a fresh picture of Favre that includes new revelations and insightful perspectives on information that already exists.
My first concern – that the book would be a simple rehash of anecdotes and facts any diehard Favre follower was already familiar with – was laid to rest almost immediately.
How about that second concern? Did things get awkward? They sure did.
When Pearlman dives deeper into Favre’s addiction issues,his marriage to Deanna,the car wreck that nearly ended his career,how he treated Aaron Rodgers,and even how Favre’s father,Irv,treated the opposite sex,Favre fanboys might be tempted to cover their ears and scream “LA LA LA LA! I CAN’T HEAR YOU! LA LA LA!”
I would encourage you not to do that. And I’m one of the bigger Favre fanboys around.
Pearlman tackles the difficult topics surrounding Favre fairly. He doesn’t gloss them over. He doesn’t rub it in your face that your hero could be an a$$hole at times. Favre’s shortcomings and indiscretions are weaved into the overall narrative to paint a more complete picture of Favre than ever before. That’s not an easy task when you’re writing about a guy who legitimately saved a NFL franchise and also texted a picture of his wiener to a young NFL female reporter (yes,this incident is covered in the book).I
If I had to nitpick the book,I’d say that not much new ground is covered in the Favre divorce from the Packers. But again,there were literally thousands of journalists reporting on the ordeal and nobody has been able to siphon the full story out of any cracks in the walls at 1265 Lombardi Ave. Besides,the details and anecdotes about Favre’s childhood and early career more than make for any lack of new info from the divorce.