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76 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2011
I have this book in paperback, and I would recommend it (probably 4 stars). But the diagrams and illustrations that are very important to the book are not included in the Kindle version. Get the book in printed format; skip the Kindle version.
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62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2010
So glad that I got this book. I never played football myself, being the proverbial 80 lb weakling. But, I love football and try to find cost effective matierials like this whenever I can.

The author assumes that the reader is a somewhat proficient student of the game and doesn't waste time with simplistic explanations of what the positions are called or what the rules of football are. This book is aimed at fans familiar with the game.

'Eye Off The Ball' gives some of the best descriptions of position strategies, player responsibilities, why responsibilities developed the way they did and what attributes are important in the player for a given position. It explains the coaches eye for the game, how fans can misinterpret what is happening on the field and what they should consider as alternative points of view.

Pat is amazingly succinct and there are times that you'll find yourself wishing he had spent more time on a subject. Otherwise, the book is very quickly paced, well organized and will be easy to refer to later.

I feel like I gained some football acumen with this one. It's the best book on football I've read, not to dry and not biographical. I'll be looking for other stuff by Pat in the future.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2010
This is a fantastic book if you're a football fan and you want to know more details of how the game is played. I've been interested in football (I love the game) for more than 20 years and was itching to get a better picture of what goes on inside teams. For example, how they prepare for games, what are the responsibilities of the different coaches, etc. This book opens up a whole new level of understanding presented by someone who is clearly an expert and who has the resume to prove it. It has some great tips on just how to watch the game. I highly recommend this book!
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 5, 2010
While I have never played a down of organized football myself, I still like to think of myself as a Hall Of Fame armchair quarterback. Not sure there are too many people I could convince on the veracity of that objective, but that's beside the point.

Over the past few years, I've listened to the Sirius Radio NFL channel quite a bit. Pat Kirwan is a co-host of the Sirius show called MOVING THE CHAINS. I've been impressed by his football intellect as well as his understanding of the business side of the game of professional football. As a former NFL GM, he was kind of the anti-Matt Millen in the scope of his football erudition.

It's for that reason that I was intrigued to buy this book, and it did not disappoint. While I fully understand the basics of football, Kirwan helped me to see how all the Chess pieces on the field fit together on both the offensive & defensive sides of the ball.

There is a significant gap in the terminology of the game between what the players know & what spectators understand. I will admit that I've learned quite a bit from playing NCAA Football 09 {football video games are WAY more complex and authentic these days than when the 1st MADDEN games came out in the early 90s}. Kirwan's book has augmented my understanding of the terminology to the extent that if I heard Payton Manning spout out a play call I might be able to decipher(!) at least part of what he's saying.

For myself, college football is my game & Michigan State is my team. Pro football uses a great many more sophisticated schemes ~ I get that. Nevertheless, I've found that this book has helped me appreciate the complexity of the college game as well as the NFL. After all, at the end of the day, football is football be it high school, college or pro.

The book also delves into how NFL prospects are rated & why some players are a much better "fit" for one system than another. I used to think that a cover corner was a cover corner until I read this book. Kirwan has illuminated to me that many of my preconceptions were way off the mark.

Reading this book is kind of like listening to your favorite symphony with Leonard Bernstein sitting on your couch pointing out to you all the nuances of the chord changes & musical phrases. Pat Kirwan has done for the football spectator what Carl Sagan did for the layman science enthusiast. Just as Sagan opened up the frontiers of science for all of us to comprehend & appreciate, so too has Kirwan laid bare the nuts & bolts of what epitomizes the game of football. Well done.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2010
Having read Pat Kirwan's articles on NFL.com for a number of years, I wasn't surprised that this book was both an easy, entertaining and educating read.

In a nutshell, Pat takes the reader on a tour through all the positions on the field (except, sadly, the kickers, but that's always been the orphaned part of football). He explains the demands, intricacies and details that may have been lost on the monday morning quarterback, and it really has changed the way I personally watch the game on TV.

While some of the insights really aren't (if the offensive line is standing up, it's gonna be a pass play - duh), most of the book more than scratches the surface of what's really going on on the field, on both sides of the ball, as well as off the field in terms of preparation for a game, a season, how the scouting department does its job, why the play sheet of the coaches aren't restaurant menus and what the guys in the press boxes are really doing.

The last chapter (a look ahead) was sometimes too far out for my taste, and seemed to me like it was filled up with "we-gotta-get-more-pages-with-stunning-predictions" type issues, but as a whole, this is an awesome read for people who have a general understanding of the game - it may be a lot of old news for college coaches, and a little too much information for someone looking for a book to get into the game initially.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2012
The content of the book is great for those who want to understand the game. However, until the electronic formatting errors are fixed, buy the print version instead.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2013
After playing American football since the age of eight I thought I should really get a book that could help me enjoy the game and read it (the game on tv) more like the commentators do. This book is a good start but the biggest problem, in my opinion, is that there aren't any diagrams until you get to the end. So while reading it on my Kindle, I find it difficult to really follow everything that's discussed. Anyway it's a good attempt and if they sorted out the diagrams it would get at least another star from me.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2010
I've listened to Pat and Tim for years on Sirius and I always loved how they took time to explain football to listerns---this book picks up right where they leave off--after reading you will not look at football the same again--the X's and O's actually mean something to you--I've always thought of myself as a great fan of the game and someone with a bit of knowledge about the game, but after reading the book things were more clear than ever before. This is a great book for beginners to experts it has something for all. Worth every penny---PK keep it up
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2012
Before buying this book, I read other reviews as I always do, and was particularly interested in 2 of the one-star reviews. One said the book was "too technical", while another said it was "too basic" for a long-time football fan. Having just finished my first reading of the book ( that's right, I'm intending to read it again! ), I've given it five stars, even though I must admit I found it difficult in sections. Why? I'll just explain a little about myself, then the reason will be clear.

I'm a 41-year-old male who has spent most of my life in Melbourne, Australia. Naturally, I grew up watching alot of Australian Rules Football, but also soccer, which was the main sport I played growing up. In my life, I had almost no contact with American Football, aside from watching the Superbowl some years, only because its one of the great annual world sporting events. However, this season, I've started watching one or two NFL games a week on one of the free-to-air digital stations here and have become a big fan. I've seen some fantastic games. E.g Ballard's flying corkscrew touchdown, the Dolphins beating the Seahawks with a last second field goal, the 49ers finally beating the Patriots after the Patriots rallied from 31 to 3 to draw equal, etc. Even so, I wanted to improve my understanding of the strategies of this fascinating sport, so I bought this book.

As I mentioned earlier, it was difficult for me to read some sections, so I had to read up a little on wikipedia about some of the offensive and defensive positions, as well as some of the common plays. Now I plan to read the book again. However, even after one reading, it has already improved my viewing experience. The other day I watched the Bengals v Steelers and found myself watching much more closely the positions of all players on the field, not just the quarterback and wide receiver. I was able to concentrate much better during plays, and my enjoyment level of this sport also increased. So, thank you Pat Kirwan for writing this wonderful book, and giving someone on the opposite side of the world the benefit of your insights and knowledge of so many aspects of the NFL.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2011
The premise of Pat Kirwan's "Take Your Eye Off The Ball" is simple: outside of the typical sideline shot that highlights most NFL plays on TV, there are a thousand-and-one other things transpiring that can give clues as to what is really going on beyond just following the flight of the ball. How deeply the reader wants to delve into Kirwan's discussion is a different matter entirely.

If you use this book as a study guide for NFL offenses, defenses, off-seasons, and everything in between, you will be rewarded. There is so much material covered in such a short period by Kirwan that repeated readings and studious thinking is needed in order to completely understand all the concepts.

If you are looking for a bit of light reading, however, you will likely be disappointed by all the technical jargon and strategy-speak. Kirwan does a pretty good job of providing anecdotes to illustrate his points, but this is an "X's & O's" book at heart and doesn't stray too far from that premise.

What it comes down to, then, is that I feel as if this book walks a middle line when it should have gone full-fledged manual. The concise writing and relatively short page number is conducive to NFL fans looking for some light reading, but the material is anything but. Had the book actually been a bit longer and better illustrated its key points/concepts, I feel it could have been one of the premiere NFL-teaching books in print (as Kirwan really knows his stuff).

Your enjoyment of this book, then, will ultimately come down to what you are looking for.
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