Rick Dockery is an aging NFL third-string quarterback who lacks the grit of great quarterbacks. That is, he protects himself over making great plays. When he's put into a playoff game and blows his team's seventeen-point lead with a minute left, he's dropped from the roster, shunned by the NFL, and hated by fans. It seems his career is over.
Although Rick worries about his health, (he can't suffer another concussion without serious problems) he doesn't know what to do with his life. He runs back to his agent and pleads with him to find him another job.
It seems the only team willing to pay Rick is the Parma Panthers. That would be in Italy. After swallowing his ego, Rick agrees to one year.
Struggling through the language barrier, he discovers most of the players aren't even paid, in money that is. They are well fed at least. During the season, Rick comes to grips with his love of the game and his desire to win.
Out of the spotlight, will Rick lay it all on the line to take the Panthers to their version of the Super Bowl?
A football novice, I enjoyed Playing for Pizza for the peek-inside-another-world aspect. While Rick's character was well developed, he wasn't particularly likable. Still the story was an engaging read and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in football or Italy.
Rick Dockery is the third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. In the AFC Championship game, to the surprise and dismay of virtually everyone, Rick actually gets into the game. With a seventeen-point lead and just minutes to go, Rick provides what is arguably the worst single performance in the history of the NFL. Overnight, he becomes a national laughingstock—and is immediately cut by the Browns and shunned by all other teams.
But all Rick knows is football, and he insists that his agent find a team that needs him. Against enormous odds, Rick finally gets a job—as the starting quarterback for the Mighty Panthers . . . of Parma, Italy. The Parma Panthers desperately want a former NFL player—any former NFL player—at their helm. And now they’ve got Rick, who knows nothing about Parma (not even where it is) and doesn’t speak a word of Italian. To say that Italy—the land of fine wines, extremely small cars, and football americano—holds a few surprises for Rick Dockery would be something of an understatement.