Before last year, for example, the Seahawks' Walter Jones was the highest-paid player on the team. His blend of size, strength and agility is extremely rare, and a key ingredient for a successful passing game.
But if that fact was all The Blind Side was about, you'd have the football version of Moneyball, Lewis's acclaimed dissection of the art of baseball in the 21st century. The difference here goes by the name of Michael Oher (pronounced "Oar"), a Memphis native who is now a sophomore left tackle for Ole Miss.
By discovering Oher, Lewis tells a much bigger story than how X's and O's dance in a coach's head. He has told a human story of one kid's improbable trip from the slums of Memphis to the top of college football. One day, Oher, an African-American, was literally dropped on the doorstep of the exclusive (and white) Briarcrest Academy; a giant on the outside, his mind was a blank slate. Taken in (and ultimately adopted) by the wealthy Tuohy family, Oher's journey is heartbreaking but, in the end, uplifting. Along the way, you see the ugly insides of the mega-business that is college football, and the even uglier insides of that part of America we try not to see.
This is two books, really, and it's a little distracting when you get more of Michael Oher and less of coaches Bill Walsh and Bill Parcells. But as you read on, you will get engrossed in Oher's odyssey. And Lewis brings it all together, weaving both tales together, finally revealing the blank spots he left out early on. That gives The Blind Side the kind of emotional punch we all felt when we saw what they did to Joe Theismann -- back before the Michael Ohers of the world took over.