The Billygoats, champions of the National Conference of the NFL, are flying to New Orleans for the Super Bowl when their plane is hijacked by a familiar giant with a machine gun, a drug habit and a pair of sure hands. . .

Alphabet Jackson is the "snapper," the Billygoats' balding offensive center, and he tells the suspenseful, violent and very funny story, which really began back on the first day of training camp. For Alphabet, the ride to the Super Bowl is a long-held secret dream that threatens to end in a nightmare of flame, twisted metal and death.

With Alphabet, a ten-year veteran coming off a knee operation, you venture into the inner world of pro football with as colorful (black and white) a cast of characters as you've ever encountered:

The Late Robert Boggs, an offensive tackle who's never on time off the field. He's 285 pounds of black arrogance, humor and class, and wears platform shoes that raise him to seven feet.

Wing Choy, the slippery running back who has his masters in etymology from the University of California. He races past cornerbacks singing, "I wonder where the yellow went."

J.R. Rodenheimer, the team racist, who told a reporter, "I don't think of my black teammates as niggers. I think of them as Billygoats. Then I think of them as niggers."

Buford Bullivant, the team evangelist who makes Christ the twelfth man on the field.

Billy Bob Bunker, team owner and world class martini guzzler whose imagery is strictly WW II. ("Blow it out your barracks bag!")

Limey, the 5 1/2-foot placekicker, who winds up in jail after setting the Billygoats' streaking record.

Coach, a cross between Vince Lombardi and General Patton.

Alphabet Jackson knows his teammates well -- the studs, bruisers, boozers, pill-poppers. He knows the agonies of grass drills, the brutal combat in the pit, the savage joy of the game. And he knows the wild hilarity, the "football Annies," the "management moguls," the frantic fans off the field.

But it's not until the plane is hijacked that Alphabet understands some of the things that have been going on all season: the suspicious shifts in point spreads, the crazy incidents stirring up racial tensions, the kook telephone calls to wives.

It all comes together on the way to the Super Bowl -- in a novel that will hold the championship in its field for years to come.

Standing 6 foot 2 barefoot and weighing in at over 200 pounds, Jack Olsen hasn't played football since the seventh grade. But he was an editor and writer for Sports Illustrated for over a decade, covered every aspect of pro football, and numbers among his friends many famous ballplayers. He is also the author of over a dozen books.