What the pros know
Tom Callahan, author of last season's excellent Johnny U, returns with The GM: The Inside Story of a Dream Job and the Nightmares That Go with It, in which he chronicles the final year in the working life of recently retired NFL executive Ernie Accorsi. Callahan's narrative is equally split between biography and the specific events of the 2006 football season, as Accorsi winds up his impressive career as general manager of the New York Giants. Readers get a strong sense of Accorsi's humble Hershey, Pennsylvania, roots; the friendships and professional loyalties he developed over the years; and his stints doing media relations, player evaluations and head honcho decision-making for his various college and pro employers, which have also included Penn State, the Baltimore Colts and the Cleveland Browns. Callahan's fly-on-the-wall presence takes us into the inner workings of the Giants' front office, and Accorsi frankly relates the pitfalls and politics that go into the process of hiring and firing coaches, drafting college talent, dealing with player contracts in the age of the salary cap and negotiating the myriad unexpected personal challenges involving ownership and the NFL as an organization. In many ways, this volume will have special attraction for today's Giants fans, but Accorsi's status as a definite survivor of the NFL wars, and his keen historical viewpoint will engender broader general interest as well.