No Sleep Till Football

Like Brooklyn Except It's Football

Book Review: The Meat Market

That isn’t the best picture on the web, but it was the best picture I could find of Richard Whittingham’s The Meat Market! Whittingham chronicles the ins and outs of the NFL Draft focusing specifically on the Chicago Bears to a large degree. Whittingham was a Chicago sportswriter so it makes sense he would look to the hometown Bears for material.

The book is pretty old when it comes to information about the NFL and the NFL Draft specifically. The book was written about the 1991 NFL Draft and was published in 1992 so a lot of the book was about players who specifically didn’t make it or who don’t have big names for themselves.

That is why it’s not a timeless read. With the plethora of information we have today, the book is odd at best and doesn’t give any insight. It’s interesting if only you read with the idea in mind that at the time nobody really had a ton of information about the NFL Draft or what went into it.

I could legitimately spend 1-2 days reading about the NFL Draft on the internet and have 1,000 times more information that Whittingham provides in the book. It isn’t a knock on him as a writer, but I think it goes to show you how the internet and the information age transforms sports, and I haven’t even begun to talk about how fantasy football too has affected the overall general knowledge about the NFL Draft.

The other problem writing about the 1991 draft and publishing a book about it is that you don’t know what’s really going to happen. Everyone and their uncle knows the big guy taken in 1991 was a QB out of Southern Mississippi named Brett Favre. Maybe you’ve heard of him? Favre gets mentioned a couple of times in the book, but nothing special is really said about him. The other guy who turned into a great NFL players was Ricky Watters, but nothing was made out of him either in the book. Whittingham does give some attention to DT Ted Washington, but almost as an afterthought. He even seems sort of down on Washington and views him as somewhat of a problem child who some teams were scared off by. He only spent 17-years in the league.

Because of this we get to hear a lot about WR Rocket Ismail who spurned the NFL for the CFL at this time. We also hear a lot about Russell Maryland, Mike Croel, Todd Lyght, Charles McRae & Antone Davis. We also get a lot of commentary on what the Bears did so we hear a lot about OT-Stan Thomas (1st round) & DT-Chris Zorich (2nd round), the two guys Chicago picked in the first couple of rounds.

It’s not really an awful book, but you always have to keep mind the difference between then and now. Otherwise you will look at it as a book with relatively little information compared to what’s out there with the draft right now. I found the book at the local library and thought it would be interesting to see what the NFL Draft was like, but it sort of disappoints in that endeavor. Not a bad read, but remember to make sure you know you are in 1991 and not 2010!

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April 16, 2010 - Posted by | Book Review, Chicago Bears, NFL Draft

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