"The Man I Never Met: A Memoir" (St. Martin's Press), by Adam Schefter with Michael Rosenberg
NFL fans know Adam Schefter. That's because Schefter knows the league. Really well. His scoops on player transactions, injuries, coaching changes and the like seemingly come on a daily basis via his tweets and appearances on ESPN, Schefter's employer for the past nine years. Schefter previously worked in a similar capacity as a league insider for the NFL Network and before that as a Denver Broncos beat writer for two newspapers in Colorado.
He was in the Mile High City on Sept. 11, 2001, America's single-worst day of terrorism, when 19 al-Qaida members hijacked four passenger jetliners, sending two of the planes smashing into New York's World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and the fourth into a field in western Pennsylvania. It was a national tragedy that deeply affected Schefter, a native New Yorker — in more ways than he knew at the time.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the attacks, including Joe Maio, who worked in the north tower of the World Trade Center. Maio, 32 at the time of his death, left behind his wife, Sharri, and their son, Devon, who was a toddler. Five years later, Sharri Maio remarried, giving her a second chance at love and Devon a stepfather. That man? Adam Schefter.
Schefter, one of the most prominent names in sports media and the author of a handful of books about football, is aiming for something much more personal with "The Man I Never Met," a memoir that focuses not only on the four members of the Schefter family — Adam and Sharri's daughter Dylan is now nearly 10 — but also the ever-present fifth, a man who is "never seen but always there," Schefter writes about the titular Joe Maio.
Schefter writes that he set out to tell a "September 12 story" and to "get to know Joe Maio as best I could." He succeeds on both fronts. By relying on interviews with dozens of Maio's family and friends, Schefter the journalist paints a vivid picture of a charismatic and caring man who lived life to the fullest and made the world a better place for those around him. Meanwhile, Schefter the husband and father reveals the challenges he and his family faced in their unique arrangement, one he describes as "an unconventional, uncharted relationship" that "wasn't always easy, but it always felt right."
"The Man I Never Met" is part character study, part examination of what can be gained through loss. And it's all heart and hope, a captivating and deeply personal tale about the transformative power of love.