Since leaving coaching circles (well, being fired from the Ravens), Brian Billick has fast become one of my favorite announcers in the booth and on TV for NFL Network.
He brings a rare perspective and is clearly an intelligent and thought provoking guy beyond football and the chalkboard.
The same things come across in this book, as there is an interesting mix of football knowledge and real-world perspective from a guy who worked inside the game we all watch from the outside.
The most enjoyable aspects of the book in my eyes was the day to day details of life behind the scenes of the NFL. How the organization reacts differently from top to bottom following a win or a loss, why motivational speeches are overblown and that kind of thing. Those are the stories that are so easy to tell, but never are as people get too sucked into the topical news that floods the wires 24/7.
Billick also looks to the future in this book and presents some of his own ideas for what the league could and should look to do. The ideas are worth reading about and bring a little something extra to the book.
While the book is full of interesting information and anecdotes to go along with it all, it was written at a strange time for a topic such as that stated in the book’s subheading: ‘The glorious present and uncertain future of the NFL’. The book was written as the NFL and players hurtled head-long towards a lockout in the midst of the negotiations for the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). As we all know, after a summer of posturing, that was eventually resolved and football moved on without skipping a beat.
While Billick can’t have been expected to know that at the time, it does make reading the book now a little strange, as it has been dated by the passage of time and events.
If you can get past the idea of some time being spent on the friction between the two sides that we know was ultimately resolved, this book is an excellent read from an intelligent and likable character and will certainly be worth your time.