Book Review: The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis


I’m not too interested in football but I read (with my ears) The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game (2006) by Michael Lewis because it sounded like an intriguing story and I’d liked Lewis’ earlier sports book MoneyballThe Blind Side deals with a change that occurred in the NFL with the emergence of the New York Giants’ linebacker Lawrence Taylor.  Taylor was able to change the game because he was a huge man but also fast, agile, and athletic.  As a result he was able to put fear in the hearts of NFL quarterbacks by being able to come at them fast and furious from the right, their blind side.  Lewis details LT’s effect in a second-by-second retelling of the four-second play that ended Washington QB Joe Thiesman’s careeer (which you can see in all its gory on YouTube).  As a result, NFL teams had to find big, agile men to play Left Tackle to defend against the rushing Lawrence Taylors of the game.  The importance of a good protection for the QB has resulted in Left Tackles being among the most highly paid players in the game.

After this prologue, the narrative switches to the story of Michael Oher, a left tackle at Ole Miss expected to be one of the top choices in next year’s NFL draft.  Oher is a big, athletic young man and a talented football player, but his life story as told by Lewis is far more intriguing.  Oher never even played organized football until he was 16 and that was at the unlikely location of a private Christian school in Memphis.  Escaping poverty in this wealthy, mostly-white school, Oher wins the hearts of a coach Sean Tuohy and his wife Leigh Ann who take Oher into their home and eventually adopt him.  Oher’s struggles to improve academically after a lifetime of almost no formal education are the most inspiring parts of the book, especially a section where Sean and Michael work out the poem “Charge of the Light Brigade.”

Despite the title, this book actually has little to do with football, but it is a story of hope and generosity and what can happen when an impoverished boy receives some loving nurturing.  When amateur drafts are discussed in the sports media, they can be dehumanizing, treating the players as commodities.  Thanks to Michael Lewis, we can know the story of one of those very real human beings who happen to play the sport of football.

A portion of the story may also be read in the New York Times article “The Ballad of Big Mike.” There are also plans afoot to adapt the book into a movie.

Author Lewis, Michael (Michael M.)
Title The blind side [sound recording] : [evolution of a game] / Michael Lewis.
Publication Info. New York : Random House Audio, p2006.
Edition Abridged.
Description 5 sound discs (6 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.

7 thoughts on “Book Review: The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis

  1. THIS STORY IS FULL OF %$@%!!

    I played against Michael Oher in football and had many friends that went to school with him. Even though this story sounds very inspiring from an outsiders perspective, I can assure everyone that this movie does not depict the true story of Michael Oher. Lets start by examining the family that adopted Big Mike, the Toughy’s. It is a known fact that this family has been labeled as self-righteous, fame-seeking, and conceited by many reputable families from the shelby county area. In fact the board of directors at Briarcrest, where big mike went to school(who refused the rights to the schools name for production of the movie because of a bogus storyline), asked the toughy’s to leave the school because of other forms of misconduct involving the recruitment of other athletes for the high school. The idea that Mrs. Toughy was the one that found big mike on the side of the road is complete nonsense. Big mike was moved from family to family within the community of Briarcrest a whole year before the Toughy’s even knew about him. As for this B.S. about accusations of racism within the school toward big mike, its ideas like this that keep racism a steady point of conflict within society. Big mike was never discriminated against throughout his entirety of what some think was schooling at Briarcrest. This brings me to another point, how the hell could an illiterate kid off the streets excel in a prominent private school. I have many friends that on more than one occasion expressed to me the lack of fairness concerning the classroom and big mike. Such as: “I sat next to big mike in class and every time we had an assignment, he would be graded at a low F, and when his final grade for the class came back it was B.” One student who was in his class even said he didnt think he could read, in the 9th grade! Not to mention that big mike’s play on the field resembled that of a thug. In the state championship game he grabbed one of my friend’s testicles so hard that he had to sit out that series. He showed no class when he won, throwing his helmet 60 feet in the air amidst opposing players. So now thats just one more glorified illiterate thug in the NFL that makes millions just for being big, just think there are going to be so many kids that look up to him and want to be like him, and he just sucks as a person. You know it would be ok if he could just do what he does, I dont even care if he makes a good living thats fine, but do we honestly have to praise the guy. I mean make a movie out of him…. c’mon thats ridiculous. Anybody who was as big as he was could do what he did, with much more class. Lets praise the guys that deserve it, like: tim tebow, hines ward, reggie white, or pat tillman.

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    1. You have no idea what your talking about, I went to school with mike and knew him well and I have to say your completely off. I had more than probably 6 classes with mike throughout highschool, and I have never seen someone have so many tutors. Mike even though he was a little behind in school worked very hard to get by. As for saying mike was a thug, then your retarded. When he first came to Briarcrest he was a bit rough, which is exactly what you would expect from a memphis inner city kid. I can tell from your post you are an ECS kid and you seem to be upset that mike has done well for himself dispite everything he has had to go through and you amounted to nothing when it comes to football, you also seem to still be hung up on the state championchip loss back in 04. anyway dont listen to this idiot he has no idea what he is talking about.

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      1. Recruiting in high school goes a long way… Now that they got caught, Briarcrest is really good now ;)

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    2. I do not know Mr. Mike Oher, I think I may have heard of him. Don’t know you either, “John”, but it is abundantly obvious that you are an extremely jealous, angry and immature individual. The tone of your post reads like a toddler having a temper tantrum. But I want to say, THANK YOU! Because by your bullying post, you really make one believe the Mr. Oher must be one hell of a guy. Grow up John, and good luck.

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  2. Thanks for your take. I haven’t seen the movie (the review above is for the book by Michael Lewis), but I expect that it was adapted like a lot of movies by leaving out some details and dramatizing other stuff. Lewis’ book covers Oher’s illiteracy and poor grades, behavioral problems, and how he was introduced to the Toughys.

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  3. John, you must be the mouthy kid in the movie who Michael eventually took you out in the first game they played.

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  4. The book the blind side is a wonderfull story. It tells you about the struggles Micheal Oher and what he had to do to accomplish his goals. Micheal Oher was the son of a mother on crack. He had a hard time just living. So he got into a private school. He was very illeterate and needed many tutors to pass. Micheal was brought in by the Mrs. Touhy to give him a home. They fell in love with Micheal and made him part of the family. Micheal was a big guy so he was going to play football but he had no idea how to play the sport, plus he needed to improve his grades to be able two play in the first place. The Touhy’s got micheal a tutor to improve his grades and there son helped micheal with football. Micheal was very protectice which helped him protect the quarterbacks blind side. Hence the title. Micheal is then heavily recruted but many schools and chooses to attend Ole Miss and all touhys had in the past. Micheal is then drafted by the Baltimore Ravens. This book is inspiring becasue it makes you realize how good we have things and how genoristy goes a long way. Also anything is possible if you put the work into it. This is a fantastic book and i would reccomend it to anyone.

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