The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game (2006) by Michael Lewis is primarily about Michael Oher, who was an incredible American Football prospect for the NFL. The book also delves into modern American Football tactics and the evolution of the Left Tackle defensive position.
Oher was the product of a completely broken home, his father was alway absent and his mother had a chronic substance abuse problem and had at least 10 children with numerous fathers. Oher’s neighborhood in Memphis was a portrait of dysfunction. Oher barely attended school for years. Eventually he and another boy got admission to Briarcrest Christian school. Oher’s sporting talent and poverty attracted attention. He was adopted Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, managed to get the grades to play football and basketball for the school and became a high school football sensation. He then went on to college and eventually made the NFL.
Oher is 1.93 m tall and weights 142kg and is superbly coordinated, making him ideal for the position of Left Tackle. In the 1970s Bill Walsh changed his offence to emphasize short passing more than running. This West Coast Offence was very successful. The counter to the West Coast Offence was to have a very fast linebacker capable of tackling the quarterback as exemplified by Lawrence Taylor. In turn, to counter this problem the Left Tackle position became far more important as this player is meant to stop the linebacker.
The book skillfully blends the description of football tactics and Oher’s story. Oher is the primary focus though and Lewis’ depiction of Oher and his circumstances is outstanding. Lewis describes how while Oher made it out of poverty and social disaster most people like him do not. Lewis also describes just how bizarre the US sporting system is with high school football and college football having such a huge role. For anyone interested in the US it’s worth reading. I’m not a fan of American Football but the tactical discussion in the book is really well done and is interesting for anyone.