More than a Game: The Glorious Present and Uncertain Future of the NFL by Brian Billick with Michael MacCambridge
Scribner, September 2009
ISBN 13: 978-1-4391-0918-2
Brian Billick was the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens for nine years and his team won Super Bowl XXXV, thanks mostly to its great defense. Prior to that he was the offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings, at the time one of the most prolific offenses in league history.
Having stepped away from the game for a while, Billick has written a nice little monograph on today’s game. This is not a biography of Billick or the inside scoop of what it’s like to be a head coach in the National Football League, although a little bit of that is in here. Instead it is a topical “conversation” about issues facing the NFL today.
Billick does a nice job explaining some of the modern day offensive and defensive schemes proliferating around the NFL and gives a nice synopsis of the progression of the now pass-oriented game of professional football and how that has changed the modern game.
He also briefly discusses the “wildcat” offense, where the running back takes the snap directly and can either run or throw the ball. Billick does not think the “wildcat” offense will be around too long, as defenses are likely to catch up with it.
The most concerning part of the book is where Billick discusses the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), the players union. If an agreement is not reached, there could be a lockout, and no football, in the near future. Hopefully it will not come to that, as professional football has been able to avoid the damaging play-stoppage that has plagued other leagues, most notably the National Hockey League, which has yet to recover from its lost season.
There are many other tidbits of football knowledge in this book and it is well worth a read by NFL fans.