[KINDLE] ❅ Football for a Buck Author Jeff Pearlman – Motyourdrive.co.uk



10 thoughts on “Football for a Buck

  1. says:

    The NFL called us a farm league We were no farm league We were talent Michigan Panthers Oakland Invaders quarterback Bobby Hebert, a.k.a the Cajun Cannon Reading Pearlman s Football for a Buck was a hilarious, profane and detailed retelling of the three season wonder 1983 1985 but not quite upstart United States Football League If I mention that Donald Trump is the villain of the piece will that get certain folks who may not be sports fans, or normally have ANY interest in this subject matter to otherwise pick up this excellent book The USFL was the innovation of David Dixon, and his idea was that the games were played in the spring as to not complete with the NCAA and NFL a.k.a No Fun League It worked, for awhile then New Jersey Generals owner Trump pushed for changes which in part led to an early downfall.I have vague memories of the league I was only ten years old at the time but I know my dad was a fan of the Philadelphia Stars, which I found out from this book was consistently one of the better USFL teams He was unhappy when they moved to Balti in their final season Well, the team office and practice facilities stayed in Philadelphia, but the games were now played in College Park, Maryland It s a two hour drive between the locations Did this seem a like a good idea at the time The crazy in the title is no hyperbole Pearlman details the antics of the players, coaching staff, and owners as the USFL struggled to stay afloat and relevant finances and fan attendance were routinely problems in a crowded and competitive sports landscape Even though it existed for a relatively brief moment in time it produced a lot of entertaining stories and anecdotes as a result.


  2. says:

    For a brief stretch in the 1980 s, there were two professional football leagues in the United States There was the well established National Football League NFL , which by then was staking its claim to being the most popular league of the most popular sport in the country But for three years, there was another league, the United States Football League USFL that played its games in the spring and saw wacky games and players, innovative rules such as instant replay challenges, both good and not so good football and one brash, bombastic owner who tried to take on the NFL and eventually lost, meaning the end of the league just three years after it started The history of the USFL, from the day that David Dixon s idea for spring football was announced by the Associated Press in 1966 to the dispersing of USFL players into the NFL after the results and award from the anti trust lawsuit were revealed, is captured in this highly entertaining, highly informative book by best selling author Jeff Pearlman No matter what a reader wants to learn or read about regarding the USFL, they are sure to find it in this book Yes, that date announcing the idea of the USFL was correct The idea of a professional spring football league was conceived by David Dixon in 1966, the league gaining that name simply because he liked the name of U.S Steel for a company in which he held stock The idea went into to hiding when the NFL soon thereafter awarded a team to New Orleans and merged with the American Football League However, Dixon never let his dream completely die and in the early 1980 s, it was reborn Thanks to a trip to the home of legendary coach George Allen and the growth of a new product called cable television, Dixon set out to sell the idea of spring football When a group of wealthy businessmen with deep pockets and large egos all signed on, the USFL was born, complete with a schedule for 1983 with 12 teams and importantly, a television contract The first season was considered, in the big picture, a success The attendance and television ratings were considered reasonable for a new league The quality of football ran from ugly to spectacular For ugly, just watch any Washington Federals game as Pearlman regularly reminded readers just how bad this team was both on and off the field Pearlman humorously wrote that the team led the USFL in three unofficial categories 1 Football players no one had ever heard of 2 Cigarette smokers 3 Coke Addicts Not exactly the formula for a good team However, for spectacular football, two good examples are the triple overtime playoff game that season between the Philadelphia Stars and the Chicago Blitz, still considered to be one of the best playoff games in football history and the championship game the following week between the Philadelphia Stars and the Michigan Panthers, won by the Panthers on a thrilling touchdown However, the championship game wasn t the biggest news for the league that season Proving that that the league was for real and to get a big name player, the New Jersey Generals signed running back Herschel Walker from the University of Georgia before he was eligible to play in the NFL The story of getting Walker to sign with the new league was very interesting, especially as the league wanted to keep everything a secret until it was official Because of this, the scout for the Generals who did the work to get Walker to sign with New Jersey, Rick Buffington, was concerned when he received a call from the Boston Globe to inquire if it was indeed true that Walker signed with the USFL Pearlman writes about this at his best, calling Buffington the Herschel Walker Deep Throat The Generals were not only the team in the biggest market, they later on had the most brash and outlandish owner in the league s second season when a New York real estate tycoon named Donald J Trump If anything could take attention away from the strangeness of two franchises swapping players and locations, as the Chicago Blitz and Arizona Wranglers did , it was the loud and bombastic announcement of the league s newest owner While the league already had some eccentric owners, such as Bill Oldenburg, the oil tycoon who owned the Los Angeles Express and had some wacky stories of his own shared in the book one Pearlman description of an Oldenburg meltdown said he went from agreeable to obnoxious to One Flew Over the Cuckoo s Nest psychotic , he had nothing on Trump More on the Generals owner a little later While the signing of Walker was a boon for the league s publicity, there were reservations inside league headquarter and from USFL Commissioner Chet Simmons He and some other owners, most notably Tampa Bay Bandits owner John Bassett, wanted the goal of the league to build slowly and keep salaries in check Walker was the first signing to break that mold However, the dam burst on salaries before that second season Many future NFL stars were signed to huge contracts such as Jim Kelly signed by the expansion Houston Gamblers and Steve Young Young s contract, totaling over 40 million dollars when including annuity payments, was the butt end of a lot of jokes His team, the Express, not only had an eccentric owner, but also was suffering from poor play on the field and very poor attendance, made all the noticeable by playing home games in the massive Los Angeles Coliseum One other notable signing was Doug Flutie, the Boston College quarterback who made one of the most famous college football comebacks with a Hail Mary pass touchdown to beat Miami Flutie was sought and signed by New Jersey Trump wanted to sign the quarterback as he believed the popular quarterback would be good for the league and he also wanted all of the league s owners chip in toward paying Flutie s salary instead of just the Generals Regardless of political position or affiliation, any reader will realize that sounds very familiar to something that Trump stated later in his second career This is another example of the brilliance Pearlman brings to this book is how he is able to make the reader connect the USFL to today s events, whether or not they relate to football Despite the craziness, it seemed like the USFL was gaining its place for spring football While not enjoying NFL numbers for attendance, TV ratings and quality of play, the product nonetheless was gaining respect in all those areas For the latter of those qualities, the USFL never claimed to be on the same footing as the NFL The players enlisted were described as your tied, your poor, your huddled masses, your one armed and chain smoking and half blind and clinically insane. by Pearlman one of the funniest lines in a book filled with snippets that will make a reader laugh out loud Even though the league made a questionable decision to expand from 12 to 18 teams with some of these teams never getting on solid footing example A is the San Antonio Gunslingers, whose woes are told in entertaining detail there were new teams who were run well and played competitive football such as the Birmingham Stallions and Memphis Showboats The ocean that was the USFL seemed to be settling down despite some choppiness.However, there was some disturbance in this ocean churned up by Trump The motives behind Trump s purchase of the Generals were being questioned, and they became clear when he announced to his fellow owners that the USFL needed to move to a fall schedule and compete directly with the NFL as soon as possible This would be his best way to be an NFL owner as many believed that was his goal all along This drama off the field was overshadowing the play on the field, which included a revolutionary offense by Gambler s offensive coordinator Mouse Davis Utilizing Kelly s strong arm and a fleet of speedy receivers, the Gamblers became an offensive juggernaut, setting many professional football records for offense and becoming one of the elite teams League officials were salivating at the thought of a Gamblers Generals championship game for the league s second season, but it was not to be Instead, the Philadelphia Stars avenged their loss in the previous season by handily defeating the Arizona Wranglers to capture the 1984 USFL title.The story of the next offseason was all about Trump He kept on pushing his idea to his fellow owners that it would be in the best interest of the league to go head to head against the NFL Just like with his businesses, he was one who got others to buy into his plan Most of his fellow owners were on board with this plan, with the notable exception of one of the leagues successful owners, Bassett He was just as strong willed on his belief that the original goals of the league were to be followed as was Trump s about playing in the fall Sadly, Bassett developed brain cancer and as his health deteriorated, his influence on his colleagues dwindled until he passed away.Without his biggest adversary, Trump pushed ahead with his agenda, filing an anti trust lawsuit against the NFL and also getting the league to announce that 1985 was going to be the last season of spring football and the league would begin fall play in 1986 This lead to confusion both on and off the field What was going to become of the players during such a long downtime How many teams would be willing to go against the NFL, as some stadiums would not allow the USFL team to play at the same time its primary tenant, the NFL team, would be using the facility What about the college draft Of course, these questions were small potatoes compared to the big question what would become of the league should the trial end in favor of the NFL All of this overshadowed the entire third season of the league, as the dominant team of the USFL, the now Balti Stars defended their league title with a win over the Oakland Invaders in the championship game The moves and merges of the league s franchises were numerous and often had interesting anecdotes that were shared in the book These two teams were included, as the Stars had to play games in Balti after their lease to play in Philadelphia was not renewed and the Invaders had many players from the Michigan Panthers after that team merged with the new Oakland franchise rather than compete with the NFL s Lions when the league would start fall play.The last, sad chapter of the league was the anti trust trial This was to be Trump s finest hour, even with a questionable strategy and the death of the lawyer originally hired to represent the USFL, a lawyer who gained fame in the McCarthy era trials against alleged Communists Even when writing about court proceedings, Pearlman is at his best For the sake of those with weak stomachs, I will leave out Pearlman s recap of an exchange between Trump and then NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, but it is one that had me laughing so hard, I was in tears The result is known to all interested in this league the jury did find the NFL was guilty of violating anti trust laws and awarded the USFL 1 treble damages made the total amount 3 Of course, since the league was counting on this verdict for its future, it ceased operations soon thereafter and the players were free to sign with any NFL team Some made it, many didn t and those whose one shot at pro football was through the USFL were saddened but look back upon those days fondly The NFL s product on the field, while they may not admit it, was influenced by the upstart league after its demise The New Orleans Saints hired Stars coach Jim Mora and signed many of the players he coached and, not coincidently, went from league laughingstock to playoff team in two seasons The most innovative rules in the USFL the two point conversion and instant replay reviews have both been adopted by the NFL While the league may not exist any longer, its memories live on.Any reader who is a fan of Pearlman s previous work, a fan of the USFL or football history, or who just likes an entertaining book on the game, must add this to their library An outstanding work that is one of the best books I have read on any sport.I wish to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing an advance review copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


  3. says:

    I lll admit a bias upfront I have great fondness for the other leagues, the upstart leagues the AFL, ABA, WHA, WFL, USFL So, I was poised to like this book before I started reading it as long as it delivered a story about the people involved in the league and not a recitation about each game I felt confident given Pearlman s track record and ability to draw stories our of interview subjects and I was not disappointed.This is really a marvelous book that delivers a real portrait of life in a wild and crazy league filled with characters from owners who were bent on defrauding each other to castoffs from the NFL and those players the NFL never gave a chance, both groups hell bent on proving that the grand poobahs of establishment football didn t have a clue In many respects it reminded me of Loose Balls , an oral history of the ABA that was the best book I ve read about one of these leagues, which was also filled with sex, drugs and rock and roll, just like the USFL.The recurrent them of the players throughout the league was just that sex and drugs were readily available and rampant I don t know how many times players played drunk, stoned or coked out because I just gave up counting Yet, there was still really good football, at times the equal of, if not better than, the NFL It was also a league of innovation from the two point conversion, to the coach s challenge instant replay to the Houston Gamblers run and shoot triggered by QB Jim Kelly, yes that Jim Kelly to the NY NJ Generals the worst team name since the NY NJ MetroStars just pick a state it s not that hard Herschel Walker, all adopted by and absorbed into the NFL and welcomed by fans the league also boasted a team in the Philadelphia Stars that could likely have gone toe to toe with the Super Bowl champs all three years of the league There were notable players, coaches and execs all over league names recognizable by football fans who probably had no idea they ever had anything to do with the USFL Steve Young, Anthony Carter, Reggie White, Jim Mora and Carl Peterson Just to name a few.Then there were the owners The league boasted some fabulously successful businessmen who were dedicated to the best interests of their team and wholly committed to the concept of spring football on a reasonable budget Unfortunately, it didn t have enough of them It also had a few con men who bluffed their way into the league but didn t have the resources to fund their teams It slao unfortunately had Donald Trump Every story needs a villain and Trump was this one.What The Donald wanted as to won a team in the NFL What he owned was the NY NJ Generals.So, what he did was in the manner we have witnessed closely for the last 18 months, browbeat and bully the rest of the owners into moving the schedule to the fall and suing the NFL for antitrust violations The famously successful suit for which the league after a painful 11 week trial, and for which , remember the league moved to a fall schedule which cost he league at least 4 teams and several owners, damages in the amount One Dollar thus the title The Donald displayed every characteristic we have come to know Unfortunately, this book came out to late to help save us, but not too late for you to enjoy the wild ride that was the USFL.


  4. says:

    Hey I remember the USFL Man, the Chicago Blitz were good that first year Pearlman look at the rise fall of the failed league, and the result is a very interesting, highly readable, and extremely entertaining book.It s interesting, because from my hazy childhood memory, I assumed the league failed because it was just too much to take on the NFL Pearlman makes a solid argument that the league s plan was viable but they blew it anyway The league had a basic premise spring football That way, they d have the entire season to themselves no NFL going opposite of them They intended slow growth and patience no wild spending, please.That was the plan, but it all went sidewise First, the spending soon became larger than expected at least for some teams Other teams had dormant owners and or guys whose wealth was only a fraction of what they claimed it was But Pearlman says that this wasn t what brought the league down Those were just bumps and all new leagues will have some bumps The league even anticipated some problems.No, what killed it was Donald Trump He came in and was all about himself He hoped to parlay his USFL franchise into an NFL one, and didn t care what happened to the league in the process He turned the other owners against the commissioner He helped explode salary cost And his main sin he pushed for the league to move to Fall, claiming it would help This last idea was a terrible one, but he won over many owners anyway He could build on some pre existing grievences they had most thought that their TV deal was a bad one and claim he had the answers Reading this book, it seemed bizarre that Trump could get the owners to go along with his horrible ideas.but I m living in the year 2018, so I guess I should see how that can happen The league had other problems When Trump began his fall campaign, the league had basically no ownership of their Chicago and LA franchises Thus Trump s New York well, New Jersey club had that much importance.And in some ways, Trump was a symptom, not a cause Trump was a terrible owner for the league, but he wasn t the only one The guy in LA was arguably even worse, but the silver lining for him was that he was so mental that he didn t influence the other owners but he did distract the commissioner making it harder to respond to Trump The Houston owner ran out of money and guys weren t getting paid at all The chapter on that franchise was crazy One of the few guys who got paid did so because he once followed the owner home and confronted him with a baseball bat This is a player who had punched the head coach in the face at his previous job Really, the league needed to do a much better job vetting their owners They ended up with some serious problems due to a failure in that direction Pete Rozelle figured out Trump right away and determined that Trump would never own an NFL team My favorite factoid I learned why the Chicago Blitz and Arizona Wranglers changed ownership I remember that happening when I was a kid and it made no sense Chicago had the much better team, so why do that Heck, why do that ever Answer the Blitz owner lived in Arizona and didn t want to fly several hours every week to watch his team Really that s it Arizona had a dormant owner, so he took over there and the league took over the Blitz.Other random bits Eddie Einhorn comes in here and comes off like a world class dope He had a reputation as a great TV contract negotiator based on work he d done with MLB When he backed Trump s fall TV plan, it gave the argument that much power But it was all based on nothing at all The TV networks didn t want two football leagues on at the same time As soon as the owners decided to move to fall, Einhorn had no idea how to give them a TV deal.Pearlman blasts Trump s league team for how they handled the trial against the NFL wrong lawyer, wrong jurisdiction to try it in, wrong legal approach everything wrong Meanwhile, he praises the NFL s legal approach every step of the way Yeah but the jury actually found the NFL guilty OK, the damages were nothing, but the terrible legal team with the terrible case beat the wonderful legal team with the wonderful case Just a sign of how random juries can be One main criticism This could use an appendix of team records for each year of the USFL.


  5. says:

    Very entertaining Great collection of humorous anecdotes that can be found on almost every page Although the USFL lasted only three years and was given to franchise shuffling and attracting owners of dubious competence, it did make a mark on football A number of players who would later find roster spots in the NFL got their start in the fledgling league It also included some high profile stars such as Steve Young and Herschel Walker It was originally established as spring league so it did not directly compete with the established and TV dominant NFL and was actually making some progress until Donald Trump, himself a team owner, made the fateful decision to try and go head to head with the NFL in the fall In fact, a central theme in the book is that Trump ultimately was responsible for the unraveling of the league You have to read the book to find out about his demeanor and foolhardy arrogant decisions to understand the particulars Trump also spearheaded the infamous lawsuit against the NFL which only created discord The USFL actually won the suit and was awarded 3 dollars Hardly enough to rescue teams on an already shaky foundation As it was, the fall schedule would never be initiated and the league disintegrated Solid, fast moving narrative that keeps the big picture in mind while sprinkling in the delightful details Nice piece of football lore for those who love the history of the game.


  6. says:

    I was a pretty big fan of the USFL back in the day I think I might still have some Oakland Invaders paraphernalia somewhere.There s some interesting facts contained in the book The narrative of a plucky, unlucky league trying to compete with the goliath NFL soon collapses into anti Trump diatribe The first half isn t bad After that, just turn on MSNBC.


  7. says:

    I m a huge fan of Jeff Pearlman s books so was delighted to get an advance review copy of Football for a Buck which is due to be published this September It tells the story of the short lived United States Football League, an upstart rival American Football league set up to try and capture fans attention during the NFL off season.An ambitious and slightly crazy plan, the USFL looked to have a real chance of success before a disastrous decision was made to try compete directly with the NFL in autumn time The league was made up of journeyman pros, college standouts who couldn t make the NFL, and most excitingly, up and coming superstars who were lured by outrageous paydays including future NFL Hall of Famers Steve Young and Jim Kelly.The USFL was before my time, but I really enjoyed the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary Small Potatoes on its rise and fall Pearlman s book covers the story in much greater detail and has interviews with a very wide range of characters Pearlman captures what the league meant to a lot of people fans, players, coaches and owners He also captures the real influence the USFL had on the NFL, with a number of USFL initiatives, such as the 2 point conversation and replay challenges, being introduced into NFL not long after.Pearlman has carved a bit of a niche in chronicling the bad guys in sport with previous books Boys will be Boys and the Bad Guys Won covering the questionably behaved Cowboys and Mets His books are at times gossipy and entertaining but also meticulously well researched and always brilliant Similarly in Showtime, Pearlman did a great job of bringing the the 80 s era Lakers to life through many interesting and sensational anecdotes Who wants to read about a well behaved team after all It s not surprising then that some of the highlights of Football for a Buck are those stories of parties, outrageous behaviour and the wild sense of fun that accompanied many of the teams.However, the book is at it s best when it chronicles the behind the scenes story of how teams were formed, how decisions regarding the league were made and the court case that ultimately lead to its demise A clear villain emerges in the form of Donald J Trump a man who sadly needs no introduction Pearlman is pretty active on twitter including very often strongly condemning Trump s Presidency No matter your politics, it would be hard for even the most myopic MAGA enthusiast to read Football for a Buck and think anything favourable of how Trump behaved and influenced the USFL The book does capture Trump s remarkable ability to influence and get people on board with him even, or especially, when his motives are anything but pure an ability that ultimately took him way further than anyone would have imagined It also shines a fascinating light on Trump s feud which seems motivated by resentment towards the NFL as much as by the opportunity to rile up the militaristic instincts of his base.Overall, this is an entertaining and brilliant read Pearlman s nostalgia for the USFL, his meticulous research and his genuine warmth towards many of its remarkable cast of characters shines throughout this excellent book Pearlman clearly had a great time doing the research and I had a great time reading the book.Pearlman s writing podcast Two Writer s Slinging Yang is well worth checking out for fascinating interviews with very interesting writers who discuss their craft in detail The fact that Pearlman advertises a classic sports jersey website on the podcast purely in exchange for free sports gear for him and his kids is simply wonderful and speaks to Pearlman s passion for the USFL and great sports stories.You can read all of my sports book reviews at


  8. says:

    Very solid Nothing but what if thoughts Recommend for any NFL fan.


  9. says:

    I really liked this book I am old enough to remember the USFL but I really didn t know all the background and history of the Leauge This book told the story of the USFL through anecdotes and stories from the players, coaches, owners and fans Some of the stories involving the boozing and drug use of the players and the horrible conditions and wield owners were fascinating and hysterical And of cours, looming over everything is Trump, who in his self aggrandizing way ruined the leauge much like he is doing to the country in my opinion A fascinating slice of Americana Highly recommended.


  10. says:

    I saw Jeff Pearlman speak on this, his new book at a nearby Barnes and Noble He was concerned that nobody would read it Pearlman has written books on such exciting sports subjects as Roger Clemens, the 90s Dallas Cowboys, and the 1980s Showtime Los Angeles Lakers And yet, it was this subject, the relatively obscure minor league USFL that excited him than anything else he s worked on But he knew it would be a tough sell, which is why, despite his relative success as a writer, it took so long to get published.Pearlman s excitement shines in the pages He clearly has both a fascination with the league, mixed with a little reverence and a lot of levity He covers its rise and fall through telling the important parts of the story while buttressing it with almost unbelievably comic tales of miserly owners, strange player, and weird fans He also makes the case that with spring football and the moderate tv success the USFL was having, it could have been on to something if not for sigh Donald Trump.Discussions about Donald Trump leave me greatly fatigued We re coming up on the 2 year anniversary of his election and I still remember the feeling I had waking up on November 8th, 2016 It was one of relief that this obnoxious man would soon be out of my life Alas, that was not to be While I ve read a few books on the Trump presidency, I look to reading as escapism so I wasn t too excited that he had to be a main subject.Fortunately, Pearlman deals with him well enough There aren t any wink nod references him being President some day Just honest quotes and tales about how the guy was a moron who helped torpedo what was a really good idea There is a small coda about USFL personnel reacting to him becoming President but it s not treated at length and that s good Donald Trump makes everything about him and Pearlman is wise enough to make the story about the USFL, not just Trump.The book has shortcomings Pearlman will do a deep dive on a subject he finds fascinating but not go deep enough in other areas Reading this is like visiting a beautiful home that s not fully furnished some rooms are great, others are empty There s an entire chapter on the wackiness of the San Antonio Gunslingers but other teams barely get a mention The Philadelphia Balti Stars, the league s big dynasty, is referenced at convenience to the story but probably should have received play.This issue was the case with his still enjoyable 80s Lakers book I think Pearlman works better with either single subjects his Bonds book is my favorite of his and his Brett Favre one is good too His Cowboys one is also good but I think that s due in part to Dallas dynasty existing in such a short time frame as opposed to the Lakers.Still, this is a fun read that you ll enjoy as a sports fan even if you don t have much interest on the subject itself Pearlman is probably my favorite contemporary sports author.


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Football for a Buck download Football for a Buck , read online Football for a Buck , kindle ebook Football for a Buck , Football for a Buck 6680d8e275c8 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, 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 AsTeams, 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 Than Four Hundred Interviews To Unearth All The Salty, Untold Stories Of One Of The Craziest Sports Entities To Have Ever Captivated America From S 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