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NFL Unplugged: The Brutal, Brilliant World of Professional Football [Kindle Edition]

Anthony L. Gargano
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Blood, guts, and glory-veteran players reveal the NFL you never see on TV

Behind every glittering NFL game on television is a world of happy pain for a hundred men. NFL Unplugged lets you see that world through the eyes of the pros who live and sweat in it. Here are the places the cameras don't go: the locker room where coaches' speeches can deflate or motivate, the huddle where fart jokes vie with playcalling, the training camp where locusts and heat conspire to break the strongest bodies and shake the most determined minds. Now you can experience it all up close and unplugged.

  • Draws on firsthand accounts of more than thirty players and coaches from teams across the NFL, including Mark Schlereth, Bill Romanowski, Kevin Long, Kyle Turley, John Gruden, Hugh Douglas, Jon Runyan, and Michael Strahan
  • An unvarnished look at everything from training camp and broken dreams, conditioning and injuries, and camaraderie and hazing to the quest to gain a competitive edge and the exhilarating triumphs of the game
  • Written by one of the top figures in sports radio, Anthony Gargano of Philadelphia's 610-WIP

From the injuries that never heal and the money that never lasts to the memories and the glory that never fade, NFL Unplugged shows the unbridled brutality and sheer brilliance of the game.

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

As thrilling as watching a football game on television or in person can be, you're only witness to a fraction of what's really happening. You can't hear the amazing variety of fart jokes that are standard issue in huddles or feel the searing burn of an opponent's viselike pinch on the back of your leg in a pile-up. Cameras won't show you players vomiting in agony and exhaustion on the sidelines. As for what happens in the locker room and outside the stadium, both before and during the season, you don't know the half of it—until now.

NFL Unplugged takes you behind the scenes and beyond the glitz and pageantry of professional football to discover the pros as you will never see them on TV. Author and sports broadcaster Anthony Gargano reveals the sometimes shocking, sometimes inspiring, and often hilarious truth behind such well-worn terms as playing hurt, mental toughness, and the two most dreaded words in the NFL: Training Camp.

Gargano draws on interviews with dozens of current and former players and coaches from across the NFL to give you a gut-level understanding of just what it means and takes to play pro football. You'll hear from stars such as Mark Schlereth, Bill Romanowski, Kevin Long, Kyle Turley, Jon Gruden, Hugh Douglas, Junior Seau, and Michael Strahan—all speaking frankly about the game, the pain, and the glory.

You'll also hear from lesser-known players and some who prefer to remain anonymous. Their compelling stories include one from a huge lineman who played the final eight games of one season in excruciating pain from a fractured tailbone. Unable to sit in a car, on a plane, or even in his favorite easy chair, he couldn't sleep at night, and the pregame treatments given by his trainers first intensified the pain, then numbed his glutes and slowed him down. And what does he feel now that those months of torture are over? Pride and relief that he didn't miss a single game.

From running a condition test called "the gasser" under a blistering summer sun at temperatures often over 100 degrees on the first day of training camp to playing with injuries that would leave most of us bedridden to earning vast amounts of money but often ending up broke and in debt after their all-too-brief careers, professional football players live lives that are, to say the least, outside the norm. Read NFL Unplugged and find out just how much blood, pain, and iron determination it takes to make it in America's most popular sport.

From the Back Cover

Blood, guts, and glory—the NFL you never see on TV

Behind every glittering NFL game on television is a world of happy pain for a hundred men. NFL Unplugged lets you see that world through the eyes of the pros who live and sweat in it—including firsthand accounts of more than thirty players and coaches from teams across the NFL, including Mark Schlereth, Bill Romanowski, Kevin Long, Kyle Turley, Jon Gruden, Hugh Douglas, Jon Runyan, and Michael Strahan. Here are the places the cameras and microphones don't go, places where you'll discover:

  • What really happens in huddles and pile-ups

  • How coaches' speeches can inspire players or deflate them

  • Why every NFL player dreads training camp—and loves it, too

  • What "the dark place" is and why players go there during games

  • How a player can be crippled six days a week and play football on the seventh

  • How far some players and coaches will go to win

  • Why so many players end up broke after years of huge salaries

"Very rarely—once a decade maybe—do we get the chance to peer behind the NFL curtain and experience the lives of players. Anthony Gargano has done that here, and we're lucky to get such an unvarnished view."
Peter King, senior writer, Sports Illustrated

"He may ooze of South Philly on his wildly successful radio show, but the Anthony Gargano I know also is a brilliant writer and reporter who was made to do a book that rips open the NFL and presents it on a transparent, compelling platter."
Jay Mariotti, national columnist, AOL FanHouse and daily panelist on ESPN's Around the Horn

"Gargano gives you a front-row seat to the agony and ecstasy of the NFL. From packed stadiums and glory to the icy reality of pain and injury, you won't be able to put this book down."
Mike Mayock, analyst, NFL Network

Product Details

  • File Size: 563 KB
  • Print Length: 281 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0470522836
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (August 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003ZUYB5C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #520,208 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and enjoyable August 6, 2010
By Terry L
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an entertaining and enjoyable book.

Being a Cleveland Brown's fan, I don't get to see a great deal of good football, so I figured I would read a book about the subject. The Amazon product description sums up the book's contents pretty well, so I won't repeat that in my review.

One of the things I found interesting was the section on head injuries. I did not know they were as prevalent as they are, and I did not realize the extremely serious consequences of them, including depression and even suicide. Everything in the book isn't as serious, however; there is also humor and glory and pain and all the other typical football stuff.

If I had to find a fault, I would say that in some instances I wondered if the book was describing a situation that really isn't all that standard of a situation, but then presenting it as if it was. For instance, the book speaks of situations where some players act much less than "sportsmanlike." However, the author will sometimes use examples of this behavior taken from college football. If the situation was really that prevalent, wouldn't the author have been able to find plenty of examples gleaned from the NFL? So, I wondered, is the behavior exhibited really the rule, or just the exception to the rule? Is the author describing a situation that is typical or just on the fringe?

But, it doesn't matter all that much really. This is a well-written book that I enjoyed reading. I don't recall a boring word in the entire book.

I think if you like football, you will like this book. If you are a Cleveland Browns fan, reading about football is at least as good as watching it has been for the past 10 years.

In the end, I liked the book. It is well-written, humorous, serious, entertaining, enjoyable, and informative.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a book for the pro football fanatic, the person who lives for Sundays in the fall, who wears their team jersey even when watching the game at home on TV. If you have NFL Sunday Ticket so that you can actually watch eight games on the same screen, if you ever listened to a game while at your daughter's wedding, then you will love this book. Unfortunately, I am not in that group. Not that I don't like football I've just lost the passion for PROFESSIONAL football. In fact, I am so over pro sports in general. Give me a college sporting event anytime, whether football, basketball, baseball, or even softball. I am so tired of the greedy owners VS the arrogant players.

But having said that, I found Anthony Gargano's "NFL Unplugged" to be an interesting read. Consider it a view into the backrooms of the sport, the places where TV cameras never go, where the "cute" sideline reporter won't venture to, and where most normal people would fear to tread. It gives the reader insight into the daily grind and extreme brutality of a violent sport. At times I think it gives too much insight especially when it comes to the violence and the mindset of some of the players whose sole purpose seems to be to injure other players. This is not a book for someone who believes in the gentleness of the human spirit. You won't find any of that here.

I also found it interesting that the book is released at the same time that the NFL has decided to outlaw the brutal helmet-to-helmet type of hits. When you read about the long-term effects that those hits have on players, including depression and at least one player's suicide, I have no argument with the decision to eliminate it. It can continue to be a violent game without being a deadly one.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but kind of disappointing. November 12, 2010
NFL Unplugged was a fun read, however by the end I couldn't help but feel a bit disappointed. I'm a football fan from way back, so I have grown up loving the game and have been known to indulge in quite a bit of football hyperbole myself. I was just surprised that there was so much in this book. The writing often comes across as disjointed and a lot of stuff seems to be repeated. I wish the author would have used a wider base of players and teams instead of focusing so much on the Philadelphia Eagles. I did appreciate his emphasis on the "grunts" or no name players. I felt his section on training camp was the best part of the book. I never fully understood the whole practice squad system and since my own beloved hometown team is now taking half of its roster from the practice squad, it was nice to learn how that worked.

Other than the training camp section, I didn't really learn anything new, so if you are looking for gossip filled insights,or scandalous exposes this is not the book for you. It is at times a nice testament to the hard work some of these players put in and a timely reminder (with the strike threat looming) that these guys work on more than just Sundays. This was a good tasty snack for any football fan, just not the steak dinner I was expecting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good NFL book February 12, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you are a real fan of football this is a must read. It just reinforces how violent the game is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST read for NFL fans! December 30, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you want to read an NFL book that makes you feel like you're right there in the game, locker room, or training camps, this is the book!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a book for Football fans but for morbid people.
Everything in life have pros and cons and Football is not the exception, but really, do you care knowing there are players who vomit before games, or other who cant contol... Read more
Published 4 months ago by J. A. Fuentes
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book, but can be dull at times
I am a footbal fan. I grew up in the 70s and 80s watching some great players. Staubach, Bradshaw, LT (the original), and of course Sweetness. Read more
Published on March 22, 2012 by Water Monkey
5.0 out of 5 stars nfl unplugged
excellent book . gives inside vantage point to life in the nfl with an in depth look at the behind the scenes angle.
Published on September 20, 2011 by diamante
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but all over the place
The book started out with some high expectations but gradually deteriorated. I thought the writing repeated itself too many times, the editing was somewhat suspect and the stories... Read more
Published on July 12, 2011 by C. S. Kline
4.0 out of 5 stars If the season is cancelled , read this
All kinds of talk of a possible lockout. If you are looking for something to do on a boring October Sunday without the beloved NFL----read this book. Read more
Published on April 27, 2011 by Jim Z
3.0 out of 5 stars You gotta be a real fan
I tried several times to get into this book but couldn't do it. Maybe you have to be a fan in the real sense of the word fanatic. Which is to say it's not for the casual observer. Read more
Published on April 17, 2011 by MichiganTraveler
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
This book is perfect for those hardcore football fans looking for something that you don't hear about in the outside world. Read more
Published on March 29, 2011 by Chris Susskind
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting; Raw
I found this to be a fascinating "inside" look at the football that I am sure football players in high school and above probably already understand -- the sometimes brutal nature... Read more
Published on January 30, 2011 by Richard Wagoner
5.0 out of 5 stars Requested Christmas Gift
Our daughter told us that this book would be her fiance's delight, if we chose to buy it for him for Christmas. We did, and it was! Read more
Published on January 6, 2011 by Karl Kraft
4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining read!
I am a big NFL and Eagles fan (there are a lot of Birds' stories in this book), and I have read many books about the "inside" world of the NFL. This is among the best. Read more
Published on December 29, 2010 by Hockey Fan
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