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Playing For Pizza

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A fallen American football star who can no longer get work in the National Football League and whose agent, as a last resort, signs a deal for him to play for the Parma Panthers, in Parma, Italy. The quarterback’s move to a small city in a foreign land leads to a series of cultural misadventures.

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Rick Dockery was the third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. In the AFC Championship game against Denver, to the surprise and dismay of virtually everyone, Rick actually got into the game. With a 17-point lead and just minutes to go, Rick provided what was arguably the worst single performance in the history of the NFL. Overnight, he became a national laughingstock and, of course, was immediately cut by the Browns and shunned by all other teams.

But all Rick knows is football, and he insists that his agent, Arnie, find a team that needs him. Against enormous odds Arnie finally locates just such a team and informs Rick that, miraculously, he can in fact now be a starting quarterback. Great, says Rick — for which team?

The mighty Panthers of Parma, Italy.

Yes, Italians do play American football, to one degree or another, and the Parma Panthers desperately want a former NFL player — any former NFL player — at their helm. So Rick reluctantly agrees to play for the Panthers — at least until a better offer comes along —and heads off to Italy. He knows nothing about Parma — not even where it is — has never been to Europe, and doesn’t speak or understand a word of Italian.

To say that Italy — the land of opera, fine wines, extremely small cars, romance, and Football Americano — holds a few surprises for Rick Dockery would be something of an understatement.

The story of an American quarterback trying his luck in Italy, will come out in September 24, 2007. The 272-page book will be published simultaneously by Doubleday in the US and Century in the UK.

3 reviews for Playing For Pizza


  1. I have enjoyed all his books and this one shouldn’t be any different. Can’t wait till January 2008 for his new thriller. Keep bringing the Mr. Grisham.


  2. I loved it! Keep it up John. My favorites are “Playing for Pizza” and “The Painted House.” But I love them all!


  3. I enjoyed the book especially the vivid description of Italy, the food, the churches, etc, etc. Another must read from John Grisham.

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