Third and Long book cover

About the Book

A dying midwest factory town finds new life when a former Notre Dame football star is hired as the local plant manager. Soon, he is handed not just the job of saving Made Right clothing, but the far more daunting task of saving the town. As it turns out, this may be the one challenge for which his checkered career has prepared him.

Like the town of Longview, Nick Nocero has seen better days. Unlike many in this rust belt community, however, he has no appetite for rehashing past glories. His desire to leave football behind and start anew appeals Marie Zanay, a single mother who has her own reasons for wanting to move on. Marie has spent too many years cheering for her hometown and knows too much about the overwhelming odds against it.

Laced with keen insights into contemporary issues – the power of community, pitfalls of the global economy, the skewed importance of sports in the lives of people who desperately need a victory – Third and Long is a moving portrait of a vanishing America hanging by a thread, with perhaps just enough time remaining for one last miraculous play.

“The handsome, laconic stranger with the mysterious past alights from the train in a small town, and… It sounds like the start of a western in stagecoach times, but it’s really a mid-western in a global economy. Third and Long is an engagingly sweet tale of first impressions, second chances.”

—Frank Deford

“If John Steinbeck had known as much about sports as Bob Katz does, he would have been proud to have written Third and Long. And if Tony Kornheiser or Michael Wilbon are looking for a smart sports book inspired by the empathy and understanding that Katz feels for the people in our old industrial towns, they will turn to Third and Long. Katz has offered us a smart, moving, beautiful and important book.”

—E. J. Dionne Jr.

Third and Long is an American classic. It’s a story about hope and possibilities, crumbled dreams, and surprising redemption. I loved it!

It’s inspiring, entertaining, and insightful, It’s a book I couldn’t put down!”

—Lynne Cox, author of Swimming to Antarctica and Grayson