Since Michael McCormack was a child, football was a huge part of his life, which he wrote about in his new novel “BORN FANATIC: MY LIFE IN THE GRIP OF THE NFL.” As the son of a Hall of Fame player and long-time coach to multiple teams, McCormack writes about his experiences with the game and enthusiasm that was far reaching.
Currently, Michael McCormack is living outside of Seattle with his family. He is not only an author, but a lawyer, speaker, and continuing fanatic. His father was a 1984 inductee of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, after being involved on many levels between the early 1950s and the late 1990s. Philly fans might recognize his dad as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles from 1973 to 1975. Since his father’s death in late 2013, he has had four years to create this novel about his life being surrounded by the game.
Since McCormack was involuntarily prescribed to face his relationship with his dad after his death, he came to many realizations about himself. The largest one; he barely knew his dad outside of football. He knew all about his father as a player, coach, and general manager, but not as a father in its most basic terms. We can see this in its truest form simply because he refers to his father as Mike throughout.
This novel will hit home with many Philly fans because there is a large focus on the relationship of father and son while McCormack was coach of the Eagles. It brings out many colloquialisms that are common in Philadelphia. Author McCormack spent his high school years in Philly, even though his father had been fired from the Eagles and moved to Cincinnati. He refers to the City of Brotherly Love many times throughout the novel and as a Philly boy myself, nothing he says seems to be untrue.
Another small tidbit in the book involves “Invincible,” the movie about the Philadelphia Eagles in their 1976 season. This was directly following the very poor 3-win season, which ended with the firing of McCormack as the head coach. In 2006, author McCormack and his children decided to watch a movie together, a rare occurrence for them, when they hear fans talking about their grandfather in a less than friendly manner. “Hey Coach, thanks for the three wins. You’re a bum!” I’m sure you can imagine McCormack had a difficult time explaining that to his kids.
Towards the end of the book, McCormack’s father has since passed at this point in the story and he decides it best to sell his father’s Hall of Fame ring. He tried to disconnect from the sport as a whole, almost like a rehab. He goes to the movies so he doesn’t have to watch the game; anything to get him away from it all. This upsets his mother, “It makes me sad that you don’t like football anymore.” But the problem isn’t that he doesn’t like it, it’s that he is too close to it.
“Right now, I’m a lot like my family, the NFL, and the nation: divided, tense, angry, and disappointed. We need—I need, anyway—to reclaim the soul of football, now more than ever.”
This is definitely a good read for football fans, as it is topped off with a ton of football metaphors. But really it can relate to those involved with many other sports and especially those that may have had a similar father-son relationship to the McCormacks.
Check out Michael McCormack’s Blog to read more of his current thoughts.