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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars

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VINE VOICEon 18 February 2011
Take Your Eye Off the Ball is a great read for anyone wanting to find out what goes into playing the game. With insightful knowledge on each position and overall schemes it does make you view the game differently (and certainly has you thinking a little more rather than going into a fan-rant about players being out of position etc.)

Each chapter covers a variety of topics from positional roles to front office duties to the NFL Draft. It explains why players do X and Y and what to look out for. There's loads of facinating info and diagrams explaining the X's and O's.

If you want to delve deeper into understanding the game then this book is for you.
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on 14 September 2010
For anyone who follows American Football Pat Kirwan should be a familiar name. As a broadcaster, coach and front office staffer Pat has collected knowledge of the game from most angles.

In this book he sets out to give the reader an insight into the game of football that most viewers don't always see. This book is certainly not meant as an introduction to the sport. It doesn't cover basics such as rules, positions, teams, etc. This guide is aimed at those who watch and love the game but want to get a player's or coaches insight.

Pat looks at different areas of the game in each chapter covering running and passing offence, rush and pass defence, special teams and the lineman battle to name a few. In each section he breaks down what is happening and why and encourages the reader to look away from the biggest distraction - The ball.

All in all this is an enjoyable read for someone who wants a better understanding of the game, its not for the novice and I would suggest might make great reading for someone starting to play the game.
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on 28 April 2011
I agree with the other reviews about this not being for beginners, in fact if you are new to the sport and want to learn the rules and basic structure of the game DONT buy this book. However, if you, like me, have been a keen student of the game for many years (24 years Browns fan - thick and thin - mostly thin) then this book will only hit some of the marks IMHO.

I think this book is aimed at someone who has not yet looked beyond the obvious rule structure and dynamics of the game. Starting off by telling the reader that they should watch the personnel units coming on to the field, the OL, DL twitches is all pretty basic stuff, I personally wanted more. I found that the book was basically over just over halfway through when the author started talking about teaching in the NFL.

That's not to say that that it does not have some great insights that were certainly new to me but too much was glossed over. I also thought that there was not enough diagramatical support to the schemes discussed in the book which, to someone at a stage in their learning to need a book like this, would have benefitted from greatly.

So if you have been getting in to the game for a couple of years, know the rules, basics of team assignments, but want to know the basics of what the offense and defense does and why, then this is a good book for you. If you know that stuff then I would suggest getting a much more detailed book on Xs and Os.
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on 1 December 2013
If you've been watching football long enough to roll your eyes at the eejits who criticise it with ill-informed comments like "it's too slow", "I bet they don't even feel the tackles because of all the padding" or "it's easy to score when tthe other players are pushing all the tacklers away" then you are ready for this book. It will help take the casual fan up to the next level of understanding, and opens up the whole spectacle of watching a game, by making what happens in between plays just as enthralling as what happens when the ball is snapped.

As a former amateur player, I spent WEEKS learning my playbooks, understanding my keys, reads and assignments, and those of the teammates to my left and right. Kirwan's book, complete with copious diagrams and written in a very accessible style, not only confirmed everything I ever suspected about the linemen being the most important players but also demonstrates how much the fan can divulge from observing the nuances of line play prior to the snap. Furthermore, several off-field aspects of the management of a football team are covered too and Kirwan's extensive knowledge lifts the lid on the drafting process and the importance of the medical and training staff.

This book is absolutely worth every single penny. If someone would be good enough to sit down with Vernon Kay and at least explain the pictures to him, he might not spout so much drivel every week on the highlights show.
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on 16 October 2010
I've followed football for 25 yrs, this book has made me watch it in a totally different way. Easy to follow, interesting and entertaining Pat Kirwin has taught me more in this book than any other I have read. It's not for the novice but to anyone who has already got a basic knowledge it is a must read.
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on 28 October 2010
very competently written, exhaustive, not for beginners. but it really helps understand different aspects of the game that would otherwise be missed. highly recommended.
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on 29 June 2014
Really enjoyed this book cover to cover. I will be reading it again before the season as there are a lot of little details that I need and want to stay with me for the seasons to come. You need to have a few seasons of NFL viewing under your belt to get the most out of this book so don't buy this as your first introduction into the sport. There are plenty of other books or Internet offerings for complete beginners. This book comes into its own for fans who have heard the terms 4-3 and 3-4 defense, Nickel and Dime packages but maybe don't fully understand why or when teams use them. The title is very accurate and clearly explains what is happening all over the field whilst you are just watching the snap, QB and the ball. I found that it increased my knowledge to the next level and with another read and the new season coming soon I can't wait to implement my new understanding to my viewing. This is not a coaching manual and there is a whole other level of knowledge down the line for me but it's a great book and perfect for what I wanted. I can maybe understand a little bit more as to why my Minnesota Vikings were so bad last season!!
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on 14 March 2013
For those of us outside of the US, this book is a great view of what the weeks prior to Sunday / Monday night Football is about. The planning that goes into the weeks game by the scouts / coaches, each position is given a chapter, covering every eventuality that the player could face. Other chapters in the book discuss building up a roster, injuries, and pretty much anything else you would want to know about the NFL in general.

As someone who plays in the Amateur league in the UK, it was a great insight into helping me not only on the field, but also watching the games at home. It's great that it has been written by someone who has lived inside the NFL, as it has first hand accounts, and a lot of knowledge is shared.

I've watched the NFL since the late 90's, and I'm looking forward to this season even more than ever, wondering how much more I will notice now than I ever did before!
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on 22 February 2015
I thought I knew quite a lot about American Football, having been following it for nearly 30 years; this book was a real eye opener; some of the tips are better for live games rather than the TV, but still helps your understanding of the chess match that is play calling etc. It's quite a dry read, so I'm still reading it a section at a time, and will re-read before next season. This version has a DVD with it, note sure if R1 or not region specified as my player is multi-region. I actually just checked it played and haven't actually watched it yet; probably more helpful for people who have been watching for less time,, i.e. you're still trying to follow the ball, which leads to the title of the book... highly recommended.
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on 4 November 2011
The detailing of what decisions a player in his position must make and the end results of those decisions is really eye opening stuff. Also taught me a lot about line play, QB progressions, route running, RB gap selection etc etc. I have followed the game for about twenty years but felt the book really taught me a lot and made me quite humble about my previous lack of knowledge.

The stuff about why Wild Cat worked and how the week progresses for a team and head coach were great too- I also felt the regular Q&A break outs answered some questions I had!

If you want to understand a game as it progresses and have an appreciation for just how difficult the coaches' roles are, this is essential reading.
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