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NFL Unplugged: The Brutal, Brilliant World of Professional Football Hardcover – September 1, 2010
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From the Inside Flap
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
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
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
The author is Philadelphia radio sports talk host Anthony Gargano, and he definitely gathered up plenty of insider, behind-the-scenes stories from players and coaches. Plus you don't get a bunch of 1950s and 60s stories, it's all recent stuff. I've been an NFL fan since the late 70s, and remember seeing almost every guy mentioned in the book play. Crude and vulgar jokes in the huddle, players vomiting on the field, linemen peeing right there in their uniforms while the opponents across the line watch. And the extra-curricular stuff under the pile when the play ends, it's almost too much. I'm a Denver Broncos fan, and there are great, and sometimes gross stories from 2-time Broncos Super-Bowl winners guard Mark Schlereth (who also won a Super Bowl as a Redskins Hog), and linebacker Bill Romanowski, (who also won two Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers). It's nice to hear from Broncos players, but honestly, every one of the stories in here are fascinating, hair-razing eye-openers.
But some of the stuff here is not funny, it's not even disgusting ... it's downright tragic. Players suffering head injuries, injuries that can leave them brain damaged, "wet brain" they call it. Guys who just a few years after leaving the game never walk again because of injuries sustained while playing. Guys who thought they were financially set for life, only to see themselves cut and their contracts cancelled abruptly after an untimely injury.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very insightful look into the world of professional football.Published 1 month ago by Dan_From_San_Jose
Horrible writing and overall a very boring read….and I'm a huge football fan.Published 4 months ago by Leonard A. Mikus
I think the author does a great job conveying just how tough playing in the NFL is physically. One thing to remember though is that nobody is forced to play in the NFL as seen... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mitch Rapp
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 morePublished on November 30, 2013 by J. A. Fuentes
If you are a real fan of football this is a must read. It just reinforces how violent the game is.Published on February 12, 2013 by PETER BOYLE
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!Published on December 30, 2012 by Wendy Sue M.
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 morePublished on March 22, 2012 by Water Monkey
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
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 morePublished on July 12, 2011 by C. S. Kline