on November 4, 2007
When I read the first chapter of this book, I thought that the book was going to be a watered down version of "Patriot Reign" by Michael Holly.
But the second chapter goes all the way back to the infamous beginnings of the New England Football team. It mentions the Boston Braves who later became the Washington Redskins. It talks about the deplorable conditions that the teams had to deal with in the early days when they didn't have a stadium and then when they got Schaefer Stadium. It describes all the interesting characters that were on the team throughout the years.
The rest of the book goes on to cover the modern day Pats and their rise to the team they are now. Whether or not you like that Pats or Bill Belichick, it talks about his career and how he's changed the way he's coached and even the things he's changed within the NFL, such as the way they choose defensive players and such, especially under the salary cap.
It does bog down a little bit but it's still interesting and was a pretty quick read. I did like this book a lot more than Patriot Reign.
on May 8, 2008
The Blueprint offers a complete breakdown of the New England Patriots' history and the foundation for the team's current dominance. The book is well written and is a good foundation for new fans, but doesn't offer much additional insights into the franchise beyond the well known facts. The writer's style is a bit dry. For a more entertaining and deeper look into the New England Organization, Michael Holley's "Patriot Reign" was far more insightful and a much more entertaining read. For a newer fan this book is great; for a die hard, lifetime fan, there isn't much here you didn't already know. On a personal note, a big pet peeve of mine is insufficient editing, and I found numorous spelling errors, and repeatitive thoughts through out the book, which is a bit distracting.
on January 28, 2009
Unfortunately, this book contains very little new material for the informed Pats, or NFL, fan. Most of this information has been written before. Too many pages spent on past Pats history, which has been chronicled elsewhere. Almost half the book is wasted on rehashing old feuds and sorry history.
In the introduction, the author says his model for this book was Moneyball, but he falls way short of that goal. Badly edited, lots of annoying errors and too many repetitive quotes used throughout the book.
Based on the title it is reasonable to expect more detail on the inner workings of the Pats -- and the who, what, when, where and HOW -- of their successful blueprint, but it just isn't there.
Suggest reading Halberstam's book for a better look at the inner workings of the Pats, if not an actual blueprint of how they conduct their business.
Sped through Price's account just before Christmas and it was light and enjoyable, but I would caution that: 1) it is a little light on new material or insight for Pats fans who follow the team daily in the papers; and 2) it is not - as advertised in the introduction - really much like Moneyball.
If you watch the games, listen to WEEI, read PFW, etc., this book is going to be a little like a walk down memory lane. Price spends a lot of time on recounting particular series in some of the Patriots key games during their dynastic run. While there is some history here - being in my 20's I really enjoyed the stuff on the Sullivans, Kiam and Orthwein and the first chapter serves as a great primer on Pats history - Price really focuses most on the Bledsoe/Parcells and Brady/Belichick eras.
Some of the most rewarding moments come when Price does dig a little deeper and talk about particular players or elements of the team. The few pages on Steve Neal take most Pats fans through untrodden ground that goes a little deeper than "oh, and he was a college wrestler." But, the Neal moment is one of the few that feels like a Moneyball moment. Still better, for a behind-the-scenes peek for fans, I would compare the book very unfavorably to Seth Mnookin's "Feeding the Monster." Price clearly lacked Mnookin's access, and it shows.
There isn't a lot of Price's promised "how they did it" subtitle; and, like Moneyball, where Michael Lewis focuses on the successful quirks of the A's system (they draft guys in the first round that no one else had on their board, and the guys become real good major leaguers -- BTW, the great failure in Lewis' logic is that the A's waste 1st rounders on guys they could have had in the 10th or 15th -- the antithesis of "getting value.") Price fails to explain how the drafting and player evaluation are really any different than what is done elsewhere in the league.
An area where Price does explore that question is in a lot of time spent evaluating the Belichick/Pioli tactic of bringing in "system" guys like Bryan Cox, Roman Phifer, Mike Vrabel, etc to fill out the 02-05 rosters. That analysis looks a little silly though when the 2007 roster is taken into consideration -- i.e., Adalius Thomas and Randy Moss. It remains to be seen whether the team will continue to pursue the same kind of strategy with the upward salary cap adjustment that is expected in 08 and beyond thanks to the league's exploding revenues.
The same is true for Price's evaluation of the Pats' philosophy on guys like Bruce Armstrong, Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy, Deion Branch, Adam Vinatieri and Ben Coates. This isn't Price's folly, everyone had this one wrong, and only time (and the Asante Samuel negotiations) will tell if the Pats return to the pre-07 philosophy.
Don't get me wrong, I think this is a good pre-Super Bowl read -- that's what the extra week is for -- but, I would say that where Michael Holley's "Patriot Reign" suffered (in spite of his best efforts to subsequently rescue it - because of the team's 8-8 campaign while he had his best access), this book suffers for its timing (reaching a conclusion about the "Patriot Way" right before the record breaking season) and in what it asks us to believe about "The Blueprint."
on January 29, 2015
Very good read!! I'm a Pats fan and enjoyed it as a fan, but there's a lot of critical information about how professional football works.
I've passed the book along to a life long fan of the NY Giants and he said it wasa good read.
on December 20, 2010
Did you know that Roy Berry coached the Pats to Super Bowl XX? Did you know that the Giants had a Super Bowl hangover in 1988? Did you know that Deion Branch started his first game as a rookie against the Eagles in 2003?
I didn't know any of those things before reading this book. That's because they are all incorrect. This book is interesting in that it certainly brings back some nostalgia, but after reading 200 pages, I had to put it down because it was so factually deficient. I just couldn't trust the writer anymore. Which is sad, because the guy covers the team for a living.
In any event, don't bother. Go read a wikipedia article on the Pats instead. Its more reliable and accurate.
As a native Bostonian, it's Bizarro World incarnate when the Red Sox are two-time world champions and the Patriots are held up as the NFL's model franchise. Though I haven't lived in Boston in over two decades, I always try to explain to people, hey, you have know idea how inept this franchise was and how stupefying this transformation is to a long-time Patriot fan. Better than anything I've ever read, Christopher Price's "The Blueprint" nails the essence of that - both the magnitude of the transformation and its mind-blowing effects on previously long-suffering fans. Hist best line: "The Celtics would always find a win to win it, the Red Sox would always find a way to blow it, and the Patriots would always find a way to embarrass you."
My Dad was one of those long-suffering types. He didn't live long enough savor the spoils of victory, but he was a season ticket holder for a decade of ineptness, including the opening game at Schaefer Stadium...the one where no one could get out of the parking lot at the end. As Price notes - right on the money - my Dad didn't get home until 5 AM that morning. Pre-cell phone, this event freaked out housewives across the region...including my Mom.
However, as others have accurately pointed out, the slapdash editing undermines Price's fine work. These aren't minor glitches - as another reviewer points out, when you stumble over one of these errors, it stops you in your tracks. Here are some examples:
p. 9 - "Instead, they ultimately trading a week of bad press..." [Huh?]
p. 46 - "In the end, Tagliabue assessed $72,500 in fines..." [Paul Tagliabue is never referenced in the book up until this point, but gets no first name.]
p. 132 - "But not Lewis..." [You have to go to the index to find out who 'Lewis' is, as he's never referenced again, and thus never gets a first name.]
p. 219, 220 - There's an entire paragraph - featuring a 'team effort' quote by Belichick - that appears verbatim on back-to-back pages.
p. 233 - "...Feldman said to Dillon..." [Like mystery man 'Lewis' above, I have to go to the index to see if the once-referenced 'Feldman' had a first name.]
p. 250 - Jets Coach Eric Mangini is referenced for the first time, but with no first name [See a pattern here?]
I hope the publisher can clear these up in the paperback
on August 8, 2011
What does it take to go from one of the lowest performing teams in the NFL to being the standard bearer of quality? How is it done?
Christopher Price gives us a look at how the New England Patriots achieved this feat.
They stsrted by hiring Bill Belichick as coach and giving him almost free rein in hiring, firing and other team decisions.
Belichick brought a no nonsense approach to the business and his unique business acumen made a diffence to the team and allowed them to do something they could prviously do on a consistent basis - win.
Is this book a masterpiece? No. It is quite interesting but seems to get bogged down a bit as it progresses and led me to skim some of the pages.
An interesting read for the most part.
on September 19, 2008
I've never before seen a book published by a "real" publisher be so full of typos and distracting grammatical errors. Did anyone proofread it? The author, Christopher Price, writes the entire book in such a sloppy train-of-thought fashion that it has the feel of high school term paper that was written the night before. And this term paper would not have received a passing grade.
However, the subject matter is very interesting, and Price does a good job of researching quotes from press conferences and other interviews. But the quotes are mostly ones that Boston sports fans have heard before, and there is little to suggest that Price had any special access, inside info, or even an interesting point of view when writing this book.
I've never seen a clearer example of a book rushed to press and packed with filler to take advantage of a rabid market (in this case, the loyal Patriot fan base). I don't blame the author as much as the editor and the publisher. I recommend that all literate Patriots fans (not an oxymoron!) save their money, or check out a copy of Michael Holley's far superior "Patriot Reign".
on December 10, 2007
I enjoyed reading the book but I have to say that the editing could have been better. I encountered several typos and instances of awkward phrasing; people mentioned in the book were sometimes not introduced or were introduced multiple times; the 2003 AFC Championship game against the Colts was referred to as both the '2003' game and the '2004' game in different parts of the book, and the same exact paragraph appeared on consecutive pages (it was a quote from Bill Belichick, around page 220 or 221). These errors became a distraction after a while.