Book of the Month: The Blind Side

Given the movie that will be released a week from tomorrow, I would like to take a look at the book that started it all, The Blind Side by Michael Lewis.  To start with some ground clearing, The Blind Side is a better book than Moneyball, which I looked at last month.  Michael Oher is more personally compelling than Billy Beane;  it is easier to root for the poor kid who overcame everything than the fabulously gifted athlete who made a comeback after wasting his talents.

I am sure the book will be very different from the movie. The book, though about Oher primarily, is about much more as well. Part of Lewis’ interest in Oher comes from Oher’s football position, left tackle. For some reason, someone who never played organized football before the 11th Grade became one of the hottest college prospects in the nation. Why? To get at that question, Lewis brings in the context of Lawrence Taylor, the West Coast offense, and, as the subtitle states, “the evolution of the game.” Left tackles went from being simply one part of the offensive line to the second highest paid position on an NFL team. Because of LT’s ability to disrupt offenses that were suddenly passing more, the ability of a lineman to stop the other teams top pass rusher, and in turn protect his quarterback’s blind side, became ever more highly compensated. Oher stepped into the culmination of this evolution.

Given the focus of this site, it is easy to dwell on the specifically football-related aspects of this story. Nevertheless, the book is worth reading because of the story of Michael Oher. He is personally compelling, as are the people that surround him. Going from essentially homeless from ages 7-15 to first round draft pick is a story begging to be made into a movie. Lewis, who was a family friend, got the ball rolling by putting the story on paper. Hopefully, the upcoming movie will successfully bring this story to a wider audience.

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