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THE INSIDE TRACK | THE HOT CORNER

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

September 28, 1998|STEVE HORN

What: "Rude Behavior" by Dan Jenkins.

Publisher: Doubleday.

Price: $24.95.

Billy Clyde Puckett and friends are back. Billy Clyde, of course, is the hard-running, hard-drinking, quick-witted back who led the New York Giants to a Super Bowl victory over the hated Jets in "Semi-Tough" 20 years ago and reappeared in a sequel, "Life Its Ownself."

The crazy cast of characters includes Barbara Jane Bookman, the perfect 10 who became Mrs. Puckett and in turn became a movie star; Shake Tiller, the wide receiver turned writer-director, and T.J. "Torn Jock" Lambert, the ferocious (and gaseous) defensive tackle who went on to become coach of the beloved Purple, also known as the Texas Christian Horned Frogs, the alma mater of Billy Clyde and Shake.

This time around, Billy Clyde, bored with his years as a television color man, is behind an NFL expansion bid in West Texas. The money in the deal belongs to his father-in-law, Big Ed Bookman, who made his billions, of course, in "the oil bidness." Those who are interested in whether L.A. will ever get another team (attention T.J. Simers) will enjoy Jenkins' behind-the-scenes machinations. And fans of NFL parity will certainly get a kick out of the expansion Tornadoes' surprising first season.

"Semi-Tough" was the funniest book about sports ever written. "Rude Behavior" can't match that, but it is better than "Life Its Ownself." There is plenty of Jenkins' Texas humor, there are some great golf stories (another Jenkins staple) and enough cursing for an HBO movie. Hey, there's an idea.

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