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The Essential Smart Football Paperback – May 10, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Chris B. Brown writes and edits Smartfootball.com and is a featured contributor to Grantland/ESPN. He has also contributed to The New York Times, Yahoo! Sports, and Slate. He lives in New York City.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 154 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1470125595
  • ISBN-13: 978-1470125592
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chris B. Brown is the author of The Essential Smart Football, a contributing writer to Grantland/ESPN, and the editor of SmartFootball.com, which is dedicated to the analysis of football strategy and history. He has also written for The New York Times, SBNation, Deadspin, Yahoo! Sports and Slate. He lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Coach R on May 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Over the last 5 years, Chris Brown's site Smartfootball.com has influenced the way I see (and coach) the game of football more than any other source...and I consult a lot of sources! I read 20+ books a year on football coaching, strategy, and management. Brown stays on top of the game, breaking down the newest strategies and noting why they emerged and where they evolved from. This book contains the best articles from his website all in one book. The best leaders and teachers are great simplifiers and Chris Brown makes the complex seem simple. I'm a high school head football coach and love studying the game. I have a lot of the cornerstone books like Bill Walsh's Finding the Winning Edge, Woody Hayes's Hotline to Victory, "Tiger" Ellison's Run & Shoot, Homer Smith's manuals, and Lou Holtz's The Grass is Greener. I recommend Chris Brown's book and site in the same sentence with those essential texts. All of them will change the way you see the game. The material on Urban Meyer and the Spread Offense traces the roots of the offense and the power of the "true" option as opposed to the "read" option. The chapter on the Patriots's use of "Joker" players like Gronkowski and Hernandez to create uncertainty in the defense with versatile players is essential reading -- it ties into Woody Hayes's idea of building your offense to beat the top 3 teams on your schedule (in this case the Jets, for Belichick). If you run the Spread and haven't read Brown's ideas on "Constraint" plays, you are missing out. The chapter on the No Huddle Offense and how it gives Tom Brady (of all QBs) simpler defensive structures to attack is also outstanding. The bottom line is that this is a fantastic football book from one of the best writers on football today. Buy this book and visit Brown's site and you'll be a better coach. He's as good as it gets.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Chandler on November 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have followed Chris Brown's Smart Football website for years, and bought this book (actually 2 of them) knowing that many of the chapters in the book would be very similar to posts I had already read on his blog. What I was expecting was more of a reference book, something that I could flip through for refreshers on basic terminology and offensive and defensive schemes. Chris Brown has mentioned before that there aren't very many good general football strategy books out there, and I was hoping that his book would fill the void.

It turns out that the book is mostly copies of blog posts already on his site. In many cases the only difference between the book chapters and the blog posts are the removal of diagrams and videos explaining certain concepts. The original blog posts were very informative, and I assumed that in buying the book I would get additional material- more diagrams/examples, better organization so that it could be used as a reference, etc. But that's not what this book is.

Despite being disappointed, I didn't mind buying the book because of the enjoyment I have gotten out of his website. However, the information in the book is the same as the website, and, it turns out, the website is a better medium for understanding the concepts. I hope one day Chris does write a reference book on modern football strategy.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By David P Klotz on May 29, 2012
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I came to SmartFootball.com somewhat late to the game, but have been an avid reader since. When I found out that Chris Brown was putting putting out a book of "best of" combined with new material, I was very excited to see the result. I have not been disappointed.

The book will be especially enjoyable to those who are unfamiliar with or new to the site. I had read only two of the older articles, but even there I found new insights after re-reading them. I suspect that even if you are familiar with all of the older content, the book is still going to be a must have based on the new content alone.

My only minor complaint is that I wish some of the articles had been longer, and the older ones expanded on further. Several times I felt like I was getting into the meat of the essay only to find it ending on the next page. Despite that, I would consider this to be required reading for anyone interested in a deeper understanding of the strategy of football, at any level.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Coach JS on May 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
I finished reading this book in a matter of a couple of days. The chapters are brisk, well written, timely and most importantly easy to comprehend. I also visit the smart football site every day and when this book came out, I ordered one immediately. Some of the content is on the site but has been expanded on in the book. The only reason this wasn't a five star review is the fact that it is only 139 pages. I would have loved to have another sixty or so pages. I would recommend this book for any coach of football or a fan that has a basic understanding of the game but would like to learn more about concepts that are popular in today's game.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ryan on November 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm a regular reader of Chris Brown's blog. The material he posts is one-of-a-kind and completely improves my experience as a fan. As nice as it was to re-read some of his old posts and see some others that I'd missed, I was kind of hoping for new, more comprehensive material.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By football_junkie on December 26, 2012
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Great book for the hard core fan, a coach, or just someone wanting to learn more about the game. Highly recommend.
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