I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t know precisely why I picked up Super Bowl champ/ football commentator Tony Siragusa’s memoir. He grew up in Kenilworth, New Jersey: a town all of two blocks wide that directly borders my own hometown. So when his book came out, my town library set up a huge display highlighting his book: LOCAL AUTHOR! I love it. New Jersey journalists cling to local celebrities like socks in a dryer. There isn’t a game that goes by where Siragusa is commentator and somebody doesn’t mention his hometown. Jersey news? Other players? My dad? “He’s from Kenilworth, you know,” they’ll all brag. So after seeing The Goose’s book on display for a couple weeks, I finally decided to try it out: he’s from Kenilworth after all.
If you’re expecting a literary masterpiece from Mr. Tony Siragusa here, you will be severely disappointed. Siragusa writes like he speaks: colloquially, filled with enthusiasm, and as if you’ve known him your entire life. The book’s coauthor, Don Yaeger, has experience writing with other sports icons and was an editor at Sports Illustrated. He wisely realized that The Goose’s charm lies within his straightforward storytelling and tangential narratives — so none of the Tony has been cut from the Tony Siragusa memoir. The voice of the work is clearly big Italian football guy from Jersey — and if you’re as familiar with that accent as I am, you will really love “hearing” the stories unfold.
This is something I’m really starting to appreciate about memoirs. I recently started reading so many works about public figures that I’ve developed a fondness for titles that really spotlight the subject’s personality. Not everything can be Tolstoy — but not everyone can be Tony Siragusa either. Larger-than-life and a hard-working dreamer, Goose has earned the right to tell his stories his way.
The Goose recalls some of his career highlights as if you were right there living it with him. You open the book and all of a sudden it’s 1990 and you’re anxiously watching TV with the entire Siragusa family, waiting to see if Tony makes the NFL draft picks. He remembers his days at the University of Pittsburgh, going pro with the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens — and winning the Super Bowl in 2000.
Siragusa’s got an entire chapter called “Jersey Boy.” It’s a great read if you’re from the area like I am, because you’ll recognize the summertime family vacations in Wildwood and Cape May, the buddies with jobs at local businesses, David Brearley High School, and even the train route through Kenilworth. But if you’re not from this little corner of NJ, I’d still bet anything you’ll delight in Tony’s family tales: including Goose Tales With Mother Goose. Some of the stories are a little rough: from Italian mobsters to football injuries, the Goose has seen it all. But if you’re interested in the completely uncensored life story of a huge personality, it’s an entertaining memoir.