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The Long Snapper: A Second Chance, a Super Bowl, a Lesson for Life Hardcover – August 18, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (August 18, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061691399
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061691393
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,328,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Second chances rarely come in professional sports, especially for athletes out of the game for some time. But former NFL player Brian Kinchen defied those odds, as Marx shows. Having played pro football for 12 years (including with the Dolphins and Panthers), Kinchen hung up his cleats and turned to teaching. Yet more than two years after his final play in football, Kinchen received a call from the New England Patriots to become the team's long-snapper—a player who excels at snapping the ball for field goals and punts. What followed was a seven-week journey that would challenge him both physically and spiritually. From a miscue at his first tryout to his subsequent flubs at Patriots practice, Kinchen became increasingly uneasy about playing on football's biggest stage. And as New England's hopes of winning the sport's greatest prize became more realistic, the mere thought of messing up in the Super Bowl, of maybe even becoming the unforgettable goat of the game, simply horrified him. But just as the pressure of failure becomes too crushing, Kinchen uses his Christian faith and the confidence others had in him to capture a missing piece from his football career. Marx is a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist, and it shows in his vivid recreation of events long after the fact. That, in tandem with his ability to connect with Kinchen on a very human level, allows him to show a side of professional athletes rarely seen on Sunday broadcasts. It's an inspiring read for anyone who has ever wanted one last shot at their utmost dreams. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“Jeffrey Marx captures a remarkable story, and reveals a very human athlete with faith, doubt, and an underappreciated skill. The Long Snapper would be marvelous fiction; that this account is the ultimate truth is its great joy.” (Bob Ley, ESPN)

“Don’t we all long for one last chance? Don’t we all dream to do it over again? Anybody who has ever had those pangs will love Jeffrey Marx’s beautiful and uplifting story about a guy who had opportunity dropped into his lap.” (Frank Deford, Sports Illustrated)

“Jeffrey Marx has done it again, only better than ever. The improbable story of Brian Kinchen blooms in Marx’s gifted hands. Thoughtful and inspiring, The Long Snapper is a quite simply a joy to behold.” (Rick Telander, Chicago Sun Times)

“A great story.” (Vinny Testaverde)

“A real-life inspirational story of a young man .... Kinchen’s unexpected opportunity was wonderful on its own but more so because it clarified what was truly valuable in his life: marriage, family, and teaching. Nicely done, with plenty of insider football action.” (Booklist)

“Jeffrey Marx tells Kinchen’s story with wit and grace, spotlighting a position often lost in the NFL trenches.” (Sports Illustrated)

“You’ll find yourself asking some core questions about what matters and what doesn’t...Marx tells the tale with simple eloquence.” (Cincinnati Enquirer)

“A compelling read.” (Houston Chronicle)

“The book is a lesson about achieving your dreams, and realizing that what you’ve sought all along was right in front of you the whole time.” (Fellowship of Christian Athletes)

“A page-turner that succinctly captures the true-life story of football player Brian Kinchen.” (Chicago Tribune)

“A moving-right-along recounting of one of those odysseys that screams to be made into a movie. It is much, much more than your conventional “sports book.”” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

“The Long Snapper is an inspirational and compelling tale of New England Patriot Brian Kinchen’s journey from seventh grade Bible studies teacher to Super Bowl champion.” (New Orleans Times Picayune)

Customer Reviews

Bought book fr my son.
Randy Bay
The only problem is that stretched over more than 200 pages the story wears a little thin.
VerbRiver
The reader will feel good for Brian and the kids he teaches, but that's about it.
Robert Guyette

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Brian Kinchen had been one of the best long snappers in the business, but frankly in an occupation like that a cheerleader would be more noticeable. He just did his job, did it well and walked off the field confident in his ability. His confidence also extended to his family, his faith in God and later in his young students at Parkview Baptist. He'd played in the NFL for the Browns, the Dolphins . . . both great teams until he ended up as an expendable player. He thought he had it licked when the Packers called him, but all too quickly his luck ran out when they unceremoniously dumped him when they decided they would make do with two tight ends. "Coach wants to see you. Bring your playbook." It was back to Louisiana for Brian because anyone who heard those words was a goner.

He was devastated, but just kept on trying. Rejection after rejection after rejection can break a man, but Brian somehow decided against repeatedly punishing his ego and decided that he would return to school and become a teacher. It was said that "the more things you can do the better chance you have of sticking around," but that only seemed to work early on in his career. With a wife and four kids he needed to be steady, to make and living and teaching would give him stability. Kinchen never figured he was going to end up being a long snapper, but teaching wasn't in his field of vision either, but he knew God does things for a reason and if he was meant to be a teacher, he'd be a good one.

Things were going well, but when he got a call out of the blue from Scott Pioli, a former Cleveland Browns teammate, telling him that New England wanted him to try out for them, he was uptight. He was too old, way too old to go through the heartbreak of rejection again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Martha Brasher on January 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The Long Snapper" is a captivating novel that any sports fan should read, especially young athletes with aspirations of playing professionally. It will inspire, motivate, and uplift the reader. This story makes dreams like playing professional ball, and excelling at it, seem very plausible and possible. The life story of Brian Kinchen is one that will warm your heart, beautifully retold my Jeffrey Marx. A must read.
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Format: Hardcover
Jeffrey Marx tells us the remarkable story of 38 year old Brian Kinchen, the long snapper. From his improbable journey from 7th grade religion teacher to the super bowl in a matter of months, Kinchen is an easy person to root for. A great family man, wonderfull husband, and a world class athlete. He has been given a chance from out of the blue to play the sport he loves one final time, and to leave the game on his terms.
I really would have given this book 5 stars if the author didn't focus so much on the religous beliefs of Kinchen. Obviously faith plays a prominent role in his life, but I would have preffered to read more about the football side of things. Especially when you think about what a crucial role he played in such a historical play in the super bowl.
The book is an easy read that should be worth your time. This book was not as Seasons of Life, but it was a solid effort.
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By Robert Guyette on January 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Marx follows up "Season of Life" with the story of Brian Kinchen, who was called to be the long snapper for the Patriots late in the season they ended up beating the Panthers in the Super Bowl. Kinchen was a 7th-grade Bible teacher at home with his wife and four kids in Louisiana at the time, three years removed from his 13-year NFL career. The book takes the readers through his uncertainty about whether to return, the pressure of the NFL world, and the mental anguish that goes along with all the physical pressure to perform. Overall, it's a nice story, one filled with faith and religious-based themes. It's a story of a good guy who makes good. As far as personal inspiration, it falls well short of "Season of Life", which I absolutely loved. The reader will feel good for Brian and the kids he teaches, but that's about it.
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Format: Hardcover
Marx hit the best seller list a few years ago with Seasons of Life, a book about a high school football team. In this book, Marx tells the story of Brian Kinchen, who came back after a three-year absence to fill in as the long snapper on the 2003 New England Patriots for the final two weeks of the regular season and the run to the Super Bowl. Marx tries to imbue tension in Kinchen's struggles as a 38-year-old long snapper, and while that comes off as melodramatic at times, it reflects Kinchen's honest thoughts and doubts throughout. That makes it an interesting read about the periphery of the NFL.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A wonderful, enjoyable read about a man who seems to be at the end of his usefullness but comes to find purpose and happiness through a set of extraordinary bits of luck.

"The Long Snapper" is a terrific sports book that is about more than sports. I have found myself reflecting on the lessons included frequently in the week since I finished it: Why are we here on this planet and what is our reason for existing?

Good stuff and highly recommended!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fun and easy read that gives us a glance behind the glamour of football. Also includes good life lessons by a guy who wasn't afraid to say he was afraid.
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More About the Author

Jeffrey Marx won the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. He has also written for numerous publications, including Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, Time, and The Washington Post. He lives in Washington, D.C. For more information visit his website at www.seasonoflife.com.