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'Why Football Matters' versus 'Against Football'
'Why Football Matters' versus 'Against Football'

Unlike Steve Almond and Mark Edmundson, the authors of two terrific new books on football, I did not grow up with a father who loved the sport. My father thinks football is commercialized barbarism — 22 oversized idiots plowing into one another, following a byzantine set of rules no one truly understands. For me, football is a beloved fall ritual. It's a season of Homeric contests playing out on my television screen. As the titles of their books suggest, Almond and Edmundson come down on similarly opposed ends of the football debate. Almond's book, "Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto," is an extended essay on why his football fandom has evolved...

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