Author: Shannon O'Toole
The following review was contributed by: NORM GOLDMAN: Editor of Bookpleasures. CLICK TO VIEW Norm Goldman's Reviews
To read Norm's Interview With Shannon O'Toole CLICK HERE
First time author and wife of John Morton, an ex- NFL player and now coach,
Shannon O’Toole candidly exposes her thoughts and perceptions of what it is like
to be married to a professional football player or coach.
O’Toole, who holds a master's degree in sociology, bases much of her assessments
on a questionnaire that she anonymously sent to one hundred and fifty wives of
NFL players and coaches. She received seventy five responses and of these she
chose thirty to interview more in depth. These women range in age from their
early twenties to their mid-sixties and come from diverse educational and ethnic
backgrounds. Wedded to the Game: The Real Lives Of NFL Women is a broad overview
as well as a recording and synthesis of O’Toole’s findings that make for some
very interesting and sometimes surprising data.
Divided into ten chapters, O’Toole addresses such concerns as the insecurity of
being a wife of a player or coach whose career can be over in a flash, or the
endless number of relocations that most of the players have to endure during
their career. A full chapter is devoted to domestic violence and the
ineffectiveness of the NFL in dealing with the problem. Included in this same
chapter is the temptation to indulge in extra-marital affairs and a questioning
if it is more prevalent than in any other profession or occupation.
The misconception that everyone employed by the sport is ultra-rich is thoroughly
examined with some surprising revelations. Much ink is given to exploring family
relationships, particularly where couples live a schizophrenic existence in that
once the season begins some wives hardly see their spouses. As the author
states, “some women, particularly coaches' wives, never get over the
difficulties and loneliness the football season brings, and they become
increasingly bitter and hostile.” Moreover, wives have to take on the role of
supermoms or single moms, wherein she becomes one hundred percent responsible
for their physical, educational, and emotional well-being of the couple's
Readers also receive a realistic exposé of how difficult it is to break into the
NFL and the daily routines of NFL players and coaches that are not as glamorous
as the media would like to have us believe.
Another misconception that the author candidly talks about is the matter of free
tickets to the games. As mentioned, players and coaches for the most part are
required to pay for their tickets, and the tickets that they do receive for
their immediate family are not exactly in the best sections of the stadium.
O'Toole is not afraid to touch on some very sensitive issues and what emerges is
a poignant and gripping sketch of a better understanding of the complex lives of
spouses of NFL players and coaches that are very often ignored by the media.