Curtis Eichelberger's Men of Sunday is not what I thought it was going to be. That's not to say its bad; its just not what I expected. Typically, the sports/Christianity books I've read tell the story of an athlete/coach/team and their faith may be mentioned to varying degrees. Reading the names of the NFL players and coaches associated with this book, I expected much of the same.
Instead, I ended up with something completely new, at least in my opinion. Men of Sunday isn't simply how various people in the NFL are Christians. It deals much more with the role of faith in the NFL, using the people as examples. As I read, I kept trying to figure out how I would describe Men of Sunday to someone and I was continually stumped. What I've come up with is this: Men of Sunday is a book for people involved with, or soon to be involved with, professional football. It reads almost like a blueprint or workshop wherein the role of faith in all aspects of NFL life is described. Eichelberger interviewed hundreds of current and former players, coaches, and the wives of players.
Chapters include discussions about how a Christian can play such a violent game; how players (and their wives) use faith as a guard against groupies and other poor lifestyle choices; how wives use Bible studies to strengthen their families; the role faith plays in the transition from player to civilian; and how faith helps players deal with unexpected tragedy in their lives.
I found myself liking some of the chapters more than others, simply because of my interest level in the topics discussed. One highlight for me was reading about Ray Lewis's view on servant leadership. Also, Trent Dilfer's heartbreaking story about the loss of his son is worth the price of the book. Rarely do you see an athlete open up so completely about something so personal.
Overall, Men of Sunday was an interesting read. I would recommend it to people involved with the NFL, or people who are really curious about how faith works in professional football.
I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.