The Inside Story of a Dream Job and the Nightmares that Go with It
By Tom Callahan
Crown, Hardcover, 9780307394132, 288pp.
Publication Date: September 18, 2007
In the summer of 2006, the NFL’s most senior general manager, Ernie Accorsi, invited Tom Callahan “inside” the Giants organization to experience a season—Accorsi’s last—from the front office, the locker room, the sidelines, and the tunnel. Tom made no promises, except that he’d bring to the project the same fairness and thoroughness that characterized his acclaimed Unitas biography, Johnny U. The result is a remarkable book that is at once a chronicle of a tumultuous season and the story of the NFL over the last three and a half decades, told through the eyes of a man who has dedicated his life to football.
The Giants started the season with high expectations, hoping to ride the talent of players like Eli Manning, Jeremy Shockey, and Tiki Barber to the Super Bowl, but the team quickly fell apart due to injuries.
The GM goes far beyond the specifics of a single season, though. In a marriage of two great raconteurs, one lobbing stories and the other neatly catching them, Callahan and Accorsi—writer and subject—show how the pro game (and the league that showcases it) really works, and the peculiar role of today’s general manager, who must be part seer, part accountant, balancing psyches and salary caps.
At its essence, The GM is the story of the job—of what it means to be the guy who makes the decisions . . . who’s second-guessed by fans and the media . . . who must deal with endless—and sometimes impossible—expectations.
Filled with the vivid anecdotes and storytelling that made Johnny U a surprise bestseller, The GM doesn’t just illuminate. It inspires with its portrait of a consummate football-personnel strategist who, over the course of decades, gave everything to the game he loved.
“It's a terrific narrative of the ebb and flow of a football season through the eyes of a general manager, Ernie Accorsi of the Giants. Accorsi, in his final season before retiring, gave Callahan access to everything he saw with the Giants last year, including the raw emotion that flowed from GM to coach. In so doing, Accorsi illustrated the real tension that exists in front offices, the kind you so rarely read about In the mainstream press. So don't think this is just a Giants book. It's not. It's an NFL book, and a book that helps you understand some of the complex relationships that define the game today.”
—Peter King, Sports Illustrated
“A vivid, focused account of a New York Giants season filled with hope but ultimately tainted by disappointment…Callahan also paints a wonderful portrait of Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi, [filling] the book with wit, wisdom and great stories.”
“Callahan’s book about the last year of Ernie Accorsi’s reign as general manager gives unusual insight into how a football organization is run.”
“A fascinating look at an NFL season by a true insider. Great tidbits abound.”
—Dallas Morning News
“The most interesting and topical [of the recently published Giants books] by far. The author was given extensive behind the scenes access and emerges with many juicy tidbits…Callahan deftly handles a poignant chapter on trainer Ronnie Barnes’ role in Wellington Mara’s final days.”
“Many surprising revelations…shocking.”
—New York Daily News
“The G.M. is perhaps the best book ever written about a pro football executive…Accorsi is a terrific subject.”
—Allen Barra, Washington Post Book World
“THE GM is one of the great sports books to come along in recent years, and that's not just a tribute to Tom Callahan, who wrote it, but also to Ernie Accorsi, the book's subject. It says a lot about someone when they have the confidence and self-esteem to open their lives that completely for published consumption. Good for Ernie. Better for us.”
—Mike Vaccaro, New York Post
"A compelling chronicle of Accorsi's career written adroitly by Tom Callahan, who was allowed to be a fly on the wall of the Giants' inner sanctums during their tempestuous 2006 season."
—Dave Anderson, The New York Times