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Take Your Eye off the Ball Format Kindle
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Not a whole lot of new information or knowledge for me, mostly because I knew most of the concepts discussed here (3-4 vs 4-3, zone vs man etc) but for a casual fan of the game this could be informative. I appreciated some tidbits, like the development of the zone blocking and its impact on the running game of the Broncos in the 90's. Also appreciated was the background info on how scouts evaluate prospects.
Even though the book was published in 2010 some of the info is already outdated (we all know the NFL moves pretty fast). Nowhere is this more evident than the undue attention paid to the wildcat package. The wildcat was all the rage back then but has now almost become extinct. The 'pistol offense' was the latest fad and even that is rapidly fading away.
A little too basic for my tastes, but I understand this book's value for the casual fan all the same.
In a nutshell, Pat takes the reader on a tour through all the positions on the field (except, sadly, the kickers, but that's always been the orphaned part of football). He explains the demands, intricacies and details that may have been lost on the monday morning quarterback, and it really has changed the way I personally watch the game on TV.
While some of the insights really aren't (if the offensive line is standing up, it's gonna be a pass play - duh), most of the book more than scratches the surface of what's really going on on the field, on both sides of the ball, as well as off the field in terms of preparation for a game, a season, how the scouting department does its job, why the play sheet of the coaches aren't restaurant menus and what the guys in the press boxes are really doing.
The last chapter (a look ahead) was sometimes too far out for my taste, and seemed to me like it was filled up with "we-gotta-get-more-pages-with-stunning-predictions" type issues, but as a whole, this is an awesome read for people who have a general understanding of the game - it may be a lot of old news for college coaches, and a little too much information for someone looking for a book to get into the game initially.
I'm a 41-year-old male who has spent most of my life in Melbourne, Australia. Naturally, I grew up watching alot of Australian Rules Football, but also soccer, which was the main sport I played growing up. In my life, I had almost no contact with American Football, aside from watching the Superbowl some years, only because its one of the great annual world sporting events. However, this season, I've started watching one or two NFL games a week on one of the free-to-air digital stations here and have become a big fan. I've seen some fantastic games. E.g Ballard's flying corkscrew touchdown, the Dolphins beating the Seahawks with a last second field goal, the 49ers finally beating the Patriots after the Patriots rallied from 31 to 3 to draw equal, etc. Even so, I wanted to improve my understanding of the strategies of this fascinating sport, so I bought this book.
As I mentioned earlier, it was difficult for me to read some sections, so I had to read up a little on wikipedia about some of the offensive and defensive positions, as well as some of the common plays. Now I plan to read the book again. However, even after one reading, it has already improved my viewing experience. The other day I watched the Bengals v Steelers and found myself watching much more closely the positions of all players on the field, not just the quarterback and wide receiver. I was able to concentrate much better during plays, and my enjoyment level of this sport also increased. So, thank you Pat Kirwan for writing this wonderful book, and giving someone on the opposite side of the world the benefit of your insights and knowledge of so many aspects of the NFL.