An original and quirky take on Philadelphia legends and the meaning of “tough athlete”
The Philly Fan's Code
The 50 Toughest, Craziest, Most Legendary Philadelphia Athletes of the Last 50 Years
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Face it: Philadelphia athletes are often as tough as their fans are passionate. How else to explain the rabid appeal of the bone-crunching Broad Street Bullies? Chuck Bednarik was one of the looniest tunes in Philadelphia sports history, but fuggedabout him. In The Philly Fan's Code, New York Times sportswriter Mike Tanier provides fun and opinionated essays that evaluate the 50 greatest, toughest, and most eccentric legends of Philly sports since Concrete Charlie hung up his cleats.
Using his own "rubric" to calculate the impact of each athlete, Tanier ranks well-adjusted players like Mark Howe alongside both unpredictable athletes like Brad Lidge—who followed an almost perfect season with a 162-game catastrophe—and quirky ones, such as Wilt Chamberlain, who may be better known for bragging about his sexual conquests than for scoring 100 points in a game. And let's not forget our visitor from Planet Lovetron… Then there are the real wild cards-players like Terrell Owens, who does sit-ups in his driveway and whose impact—for better or worse— outlasted the few actual games he played for the Eagles. As for Tanier's choice for the No. 1 toughest, craziest, most legendary player, well, you'll have to read the book to see if you agree. Whether you do or don't, The Philly Fan's Code will provide hours of debates and memories of who our toughest sports heroes were—or weren't.
"Honest, incisive, funny, and compulsively readable, The Philly Fan's Code is the perfect book for Philly sports fans. Mike Tanier offers a fresh take on age-old debates about the legacies of the city's most memorable and controversial athletes, inviting readers to reconsider the reputation and history of Philadelphia fans."
"Mike Tanier may have once booed me, but I have nothing but praise for his snappy little argument starter, The Philly Fan's Code. I’m honored to be included in this book—just not sure why I wasn’t ranked higher!"
"[Tanier] has written a terrific book... [H]e's got his tongue so far up his cheek, you can see it sticking out his left ear. That just makes his list livelier, more kindling for a fiery debate... Let's cut to the chase. Tanier nails Bobby Clarke, Wilt Chamberlain and Charles Barkley dead-on. ...The book gets high grades for telling me things I didn't know before."
1. The Answer in Theory, but Not in Practice
Intermission: Coaches and Executives
21. The Forever Flyer
Mike Tanier is a senior writer at Football Outsiders and a regular contributor to The New York Times and NBCSports.com.