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Coaching Confidential: Inside the Fraternity of NFL Coaches Hardcover – November 13, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Myers, a longtime football reporter-analyst, profiles some of the most notable NFL coaches of the past 20 years, including Bill Parcells, Jimmy Johnson, Tony Dungee, Andy Reid, Mike Shanahan, Bill Belichick, and Mike Holmgren. Special attention is paid to the relationships—whether with players, owners, family members, or even the league office—coaches must manage while trying to present a competitive team each week. Thus, Myers explores the tension between Denver Broncos coach Dan Reeves and his brilliant quarterback, John Elway; the recent one-year suspension of New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell; and the prickly football mastermind that is Bill Parcells. Hard-core fans looking for an explanation of these coaches’ success, by way of x’s and o’s, will be disappointed. Still, an interesting view of the NFL from the coach’s-eye level. --Alan Moores
“Engaging….the perfect stocking-stuffer for the NFL addict on your holiday shopping list….a fun read.” – Wall Street Journal
“An intriguing book for an NFL fan...Myers, a respected pro football writer for more than three decades, has the access and insight that makes this more than a typical NFL book.” – Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times
“Buy this book. It's a great read for any football fan.” - Jeff Duncan, New Orleans Times Picayune
“One of the NFL’s greatest scribes brings fans inside the minds and the locker rooms of some of the NFL’s best, from Bill Belichick and Tony Dungy to Bill Parcells and Joe Gibbs, to give fans of sport as well as lovers of leadership a very special treat. The book appeals to as wide an audience as any written in 2012.”— Big Lead Sports
“Excellent” — The Sports Network
"The diversity of coaches and topics covered, coupled with Myers's obsessive attention to detail and sharp opinions, will appeal to multiple generations of pro football fans." —Publishers Weekly
"Finally, somebody has written this book. In Coaching Confidential, Gary Myers has climbed down in the NFL bunker and taken us behind the curtain to reveal the highly-secretive world of NFL coaches. The chapter on Bill Parcells alone will blow you away. We have had many books on pro football's players, teams, seasons and history. Myers has cracked the toughest code: what makes these coaches tick, how they work, what they think." -Sal Paolantonio, ESPN NFL National Correspondent
"This is such an easy book to devour. Gary Myers' three decades of closely covering the NFL makes him the perfect writer to take you inside the lives of so many of the game's General Pattons. His insight on the strained family lives and the never-ending anxiety for driven men like Dick Vermeil makes this a must-read for anyone who loves the NFL." -Peter King, Sports Illustrated
“Gary Myers is one of the finest NFL writers in the business. His attention to detail and passion for football are evident in Coaching Confidential. When I played for the New York Jets, I appreciated our fierce interviews that often turned into debates. This book will educate, inform, and entertain countless football fans.” –Boomer Esiason, former NFL Most Valuable Player, analyst for The NFL Today, and WFAN morning talk show host
“In Coaching Confidential [Myers] looks back at some of the most controversial moments in NFL history and gives us those ‘Oh, that’s what happened’ answers we have all longed to hear.” –Cris Collinsworth, Commentator for Sunday Night Football and former Bengals Great—Cris Collinsworth, commentator for Sunday Night Football and former Bengals great
“Over the years Gary Myers has earned our trust and respect through the integrity of his stories. Because of that, the individuals in [Coaching ConfidentialI] are willing to speak with a level of candor that is rarely seen outside of locker room walls.” - Curtis Martin, Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2012, former Patriots and Jets running back, fourth leading rusher in NFL history
“Gary Myers has always been one of the best NFL insiders in the business. But as this book proves, if you thought you had all the inside information you needed on the players and owners and coaches he covers, well, think again.” -Mike Lupica, New York Daily News
Top customer reviews
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The idea behind the book is to show a bit of the life of football coaches. It's an odd business, in which its occupants never can't work enough or not sleep enough. There's always more video to watch. That takes a toll, not only on the coach himself but on his family. You wouldn't call football coaches well-rounded personalities, either. Philadelphia writers used to love to catch Dick Vermeil comment on the world at large. When the Rolling Stones were coming to town, Vermeil said that he knew about them because his daughter subscribed to their magazine.
Myers sits down with some of the bench coaches in the business and wisely lets them talk. Sean Payton's road to fame and glory as a Super Bowl champion was pretty typical of the profession, until it took a U-turn later when the story about putting a bounty on opposing players broke. Joe Gibbs was a Hall of Fame coach, retired, came back, and retired again. Bill Parcells left jobs even more more often, only to return a short time later. Vermeil was the poster boy for burnout until he took more than a decade off, won a championship, and left again for a while. Andy Reid and Tony Dungy had to deal with tragic family problems. There's insight on everything from why the Broncos drafted Tim Tebow in the first round to why Brian Billick never got a second chance to coach in the NFL despite winning a Super Bowl.
It's all reasonably interesting and conversational. Since most of the people mentioned are famous in coaching circles, they have been well covered in the media over the years. Therefore, there are few moments here that are revelations - "merely" good background information, such as details on the trade that sent Herschel Walker from Dallas to Minnesota, a swap that turned the Cowboys around.
They also are for the most part successful coaches - the jury probably is still out on Rex Ryan of the Jets - so we read mostly about the good moments. Understandable, although losing is part of the business too. But books about the Dick Jauron years in Buffalo aren't going to sell well, even in Buffalo.
The catch here is that the book reads more like a nice collection of articles with coaches usually at the center. It's difficult to find many themes that might link the chapters together into one package. As a result, this reads more like an anthology of football stories than a book on coaching. It's written simply and to the point - the Daily News isn't known for a flowery approach.
"Coaching Confidential" goes down very easily, and fans who have been paying attention to the game over the years certainly will enjoy the collection of anecdotes. Those readers might not save this book on their shelf forever but they'll certainly come away satisfied that their time was well spent - it probably deserves an extra half-star in terms of rating.
-A look at Sean Payton around Bounty gate. It was interesting finding out the rise of Sean Payton and then the big fall with Bounty Gate. I wish there had been a bit more detail on what made Sean Payton a good coach, but that wasn't the purpose of the book. The book is more about the lives of coaches, not about the football.
-I didn't know much about Sean Taylor, the Redskin player that was murdered in 2007. In this book you get a very good glimpse of Taylor as a man who was becoming a better player and a better person being stripped of his life by thieves. One of the highlights of the book.
-I am a Peyton Manning fan, so I enjoyed reading about John Fox with Tim Tebow and his reaction on getting Peyton Manning to come to the Broncos.
-The two chapters on Parcells are pretty good. I hadn't realized how much Parcells jumped from team to team. Not a very stable coach, but somehow he was able to get a lot out of his players.
-The chapter on how Tony Dungy and Andy Reid helped Michael Vick was great. It was a connection I hadn't made before. Dungy lost a son and Reid had sons with drug problems (one of which killed himself last August). They knew about giving a person a second chance. It makes sense that they mentored Vick. It was a very good chapter, it might be a chapter that helps people forgive Vick for the crimes he committed.
-Bill Belichick turning down the Jets job and more info on Spygate. The chapter involving Robert Kraft and his three coaches (Parcells, Carroll, Belichick) was great. It talked about how Parcells was tough to deal with, how Carroll was great to deal with and how Belichick showed glimpses of the excellent coach he would be (but needed to be more media friendly). I enjoyed this chapter a lot, it seemed like one of the chapters where the author had more inside information.
The book is well-written and well-researched. I was hoping for more football information, but I guess for that kind of book, I can read Blood, Sweat & Chalk: The Ultimate Football Playbook: How the Great Coaches Built Today's Game or The Games That Changed the Game: The Evolution of the NFL in Seven Sundays which I plan to read on this holiday season. What the book delivers and delivers well is a look at how much a coach works and how they deal with crisis (such as Spygate, Bountygate, death of a player).
It's a book worth reading, but be conscious that there's not much discussion of actual football tactics.
The author, Gary Myers, seems to be on close terms with a number of the big name NFL coaches and this allows him access to the stories of these great leaders.
Is it a rehash of other books and TV shows? Probably not a lot in this book is new to the knowledgeable fan but Myers writes in a way that is interesting enough to hold your attention.
I must admit that sometimes reading the stories was like sitting with the author at the local pub with him chopping and changing stories every so often. That is not a bad thing, it just takes a while to get used to.