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