Jeff Pearlman, New York Times Best-selling author, has his eighth book coming out today. Titled, “Football for a Buck: The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL,” it tells the story of the United States Football League. Written in a years time, Pearlman conducted 430 interviews with various USFL subjects for the book, which you can buy here. Jeff was gracious enough to answer a few questions for me via DM in advance of the books release. Here is the Q&A reprinted in full:
- I’ve seen you tweet how much this project means to you. Why is that? Just from a football fan standpoint or is it something more personal? Because the best thing about this job is leaping into the stuff that blew your mind as a kid, and picking it apart piece by piece. I LOVED the USFL as a boy. Loved, loved. But what did I know? I was young and dumb and simple. So the colors and the helmets and Herschel Walker intrigued me. But, again, what did I know? That’s what’s so cool about this job. You find out and fill in the gaps.
- How hard was it to get your information? Were the players/executives easy to get in touch with? Easier than ever. First, social media (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin) have made tracking folks 100 times easier than, oh, 10 years ago. Second, this is a joyful topic for these guys. It’s the best time in their lives, often. So that part was, relatively, easy
- What is one thing you learned that surprised you the most? A member of the San Antonio Gunslingers was placed on the injured list after slamming his penis in a trunk. I always thought it was a car trunk. No. It was a crate in the locker room. Still a trunk, but not A Trunk. That surprised me some.
- -Out of all the interviews you did, which one did you enjoy the most? Were there any interviews that went different than expected? I loved Steve Young, because he loooooovvveees the USFL. You know the lower-level guys will look back fondly. But here was a Hall of Famer saying it was the best time of his life. That was meaningful to me. And certainly there were guys who surprised me. Some who disappointed me. Herschel Walker didn’t talk. That was a bummer.
- Trumps fingerprints are all over the USFL. Based on how instrumental he was in the USFLs demise, do you think the country is heading towards the same conclusion? Im only half kidding. I do. He is a conman. Always has been. Put it this way: He created a fake publicist named “John Barron.” It was Trump disguising his voice on the phone. And this is the guy screaming
#fakenews. Fuck him
Just want to thank Jeff again for his time. Good luck with the book!