During the New England Patriots’ shellacking of Tim Tebow’s Denver Broncos in the divisional playoffs this weekend, the announcers noted that when New England quarterback Tom Brady passed for his sixth touchdown, he had tied the all-time playoff record. What they didn’t mention is that Brady—who did not throw another touchdown, though he did, awesomely, punt on third down late in the game—fell short of the all-time single-game passing record of 7 touchdowns, tied by a few quarterbacks: the greatest of them, and the one who first reached it, being the Chicago Bears’ Sid Luckman, a Jewish kid who started out slinging the ball for Erasmus High in Brooklyn.
Scroll readers probably know of my interest in this important topic, and may have also seen it announced that a book is being compiled featuring essays by great Jewish writers and thinkers on great Jewish sports figures. I can report, happily, that this is my book: I am co-editing it with Franklin Foer, The New Republic‘s Editor At Large, a Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation, and the author of How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization. It will be called Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame and will be published later this year by Twelve.
Luckman will naturally be a subject (his essay will be by the author Rich Cohen), as will many other Jewish athletes and sports personalities you’ll expect—and many more you won’t. I’ll contribute an essay, and so will several other authors whose names you’ll recognize from Tablet Magazine, columnist Joshua Cohen, contributing editor Douglas Century, and, perhaps needless to say, senior writer Liel Leibovitz.
So if you like The Scroll’s not-infrequent sports-related interludes, look for the book in November. And if you don’t, I promise to come up with an alternative Hanukkah shopping list for you.