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More Than a Game: The Glorious Present and Uncertain Future of the NFLby Brian Billick
Synopses & Reviews
Today's National Football League is more successful, more exciting, and more popular than ever. But the game in the twenty-first century is also ruled by a constant quest for more money. Super Bowl-winning head coach Brian Billick's More Than a Game examines how the relentless competition off the field affects the game on the field, and what it means for the future of America's most popular sport.
One of the NFL's most successful leaders, Billick coached the Baltimore Ravens from 1999 to 2007, leading his team to victory in Super Bowl XXXV in 2001. With nearly two decades in the league, and now a Fox game analyst and NFL Network contributor, Billick has experienced the league's enormous pressure to win as well as seen what happens to those who don't.
Following the 2007 season, he took a step back from the coaching life and decided to spend a season examining the game he loved so much from other perspectives. Collaborating with Michael MacCambridge (whose book America's Game is regarded as the definitive modern history of the NFL), he delved into the NFL from every possible angle, spending time with people at every level of the game.
More Than a Game explains how the spectacle that dominates fall weekends in America works, and why it has served all of football's interest groups — owners players, and fans alike — so well over the years. We get a glimpse of the changing profile and increased influence of the league's owners. We come to better understand the pressure that players are under to perform for their team and for themselves and their future contracts. We see the challenge facing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who must balance the concerns of owners, players, sponsors, the league's television network "partners," and the fans, whose devotion and dollars make the entire enterprise possible. Along the way, we see how the financial forces are exerting themselves on every level, working their way into the essence of the game itself.
Billick takes the measure of new offensive and defensive strategies, explains refined scouting and team-building methods, and focuses on the elusive quest for the franchise quarterback that can make or break careers.
Packed with the privileged knowledge that comes from a true NFL insider, More Than a Game is more than a look inside the complex system that is pro football. It's an attempt to understand why the game is so compelling, and what it will take to keep it that way. Complete with important developments in the 2009 off-season, the book stands as an absolute must-read for NFL fans.
"Billick, the former longtime coach of the Baltimore Ravens, presents what at first appears to be a gloomy treatise on the future of the NFL. He argues that the organization's unresolved collective-bargaining agreement is threatening to alter pro football as we know it in 2011, and Billick sees the time before then as 'a pitched battle for the soul of football.' Thankfully, the book mostly eschews this potentially preachy stance, as Billick details the workings of professional football, both on and off the field. Among the more interesting tidbits: free agency is a crapshoot for teams because football is 'much more interdependent than other sports,' while despite all of the analysis and preparation for the NFL draft, many teams essentially go with their gut feelings when choosing players. Billick also examines the difficulties of being a head coach, who has 'to find a rhythm that fits his personality.' He even breaks down the increasing complexity of offensive and defensive schemes in the NFL. Billick, with the help of numerous interviews and humorous anecdotes, emerges as an authoritative, affable guide. The book may lack focus (is it investigative, a treatise on the future of football or a collection of Billick's professional memories?), but the Super Bowl — winning coach's keen observations and informed opinions will engage any football fan. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Super Bowl-winning head coach Billick has written a vibrant, compelling account of the true state of the game today, and the dangers the sport faces in the near future.
An inside look at how the battle off the field affects the competition on the field of america’s most popular sport—from one of the Nfl’s most successful and respected head coaches.
Fresh off the sidelines from a nine-year stint as one of the most successful leaders in pro football, Super Bowl-winning head coach Brian Billick has written a book about the sport he knows and loves, giving readers a fresh perspective on America’s Game. Combining his own experiences with a wealth of new interviews gained through his unsurpassed access to pro football’s most influential figures, Billick has written a vibrant, compelling account of the true state of the game today, and the dangers that it faces in the near future.
The National Football League stands as perhaps America’s last great mass entertainment, the rare enterprise that brings together a broad cross-section of our increasingly niche-driven marketplace. But even as the game has grown more popular, so has the financial pressure and stakes for all concerned.
In this taut, lucid breakdown of the game’s inner workings, Billick shows how dynasties are built and teams assembled, and he explains in detail how the economic pressures of the modern NFL can affect coaches and players alike. Billick welcomes fans into the locker rooms and the boardrooms for a revealing portrait of pro football and a penetrating look at the forces that will vie for control of America’s most popular game in the future.
About the Author
Brian Billick spent nine seasons as head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, where he led the team to a 34-7 victory over the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV. Prior to coaching the Ravens, he served as the offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings. In 2008, he joined Fox as a commentator and the NFL Net-work as a contributor. He lives in Maryland with his wife and family.
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