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Take Your Eye Off the Ball: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look
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Take Your Eye Off the Ball: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look

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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,196 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Paperback - 2010
Paperback, 222 pages
Published August 1st 2010 by Triumph Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,196 ratings  ·  89 reviews


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Andre
Nov 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easy read. The DVD, which seems more like pimping out the book, actually clarifies the book in a lot of ways.

Not surprisingly, towards the end of this book, he mentions that good coaches need to identify the learning styles of their players so they can maximize the message. I guess I'm visual.

I purchased this book because I was hoping I'd have a better understanding of offensive and defense play sets, across both the WCO and Air Coryell philosophies. Turns out this book describes everything in a
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Tim Lowe
Nov 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I love football. Specifically professional football. Very specifically NFL football.

I used to pride myself on knowing more about football than my circle of friends. I knew the difference between a 3-4 defense and a 4-3. I knew what "cover 2" meant. I had a firm grasp of the difference in assignments for players depending upon the called play.

In football, there are many little dramas playing out every time the ball is snapped. Most people resort to following the ball since that is "where the acti
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Melindam
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uno-2019, non-fiction
This has been a very interesting and educational read for a woman like me, who

1) did not know too much about the game to begin with apart from the basics
2) is not from the US
3) nevertheless tried to impress her huge NFL-fan of a husband by appearing to know more about it than she does.

PLUS, I did enjoy it. Pat Kirwan has an easy, entertaining style and never appears to looking be down on the reader from any heights of expertise. He is eager to share what he knows and why he loves the game. The m
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victor harris
Mar 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must-read for any fan who wants to know more about the on-field and office operations of the game. Very clearly explained and arranged in very manageable sections.
Taylor
Aug 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who want to expand their football learnin'
A bit torn on this one because for the first two-thirds, I felt like I was learning quite a bit, and for the last third, not as much.

Pat Kirwan - who, coincidentally, coached at Hofstra, my alma mater - is a former coach and current NFL analyst and sports-writer. You can pick up on his biases pretty easily (dude obviously loves the Patriots), but in general, he lays down an even-handed, accessible look at the current(-ish) incarnation of the game, as broken down by position and offense v. defens
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Billy
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you spend 6+ hours on the weekends watching football, definitely get this book!

A basic understanding of football is required for this book: 11 players on the field, first down is 10 yards, the yellow first down line on TV isn't on the actual field, etc.

I picked up this book after listening to Jim Miller and the author, Pat Kirwan, on SiriusXM radio all season long and was blown away at their analysis of how the games would play out on Sunday.

This book, like the show, is very insightful and
...more
Joe
Dec 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great read for fans of the NFL who know a bit more than the basics. If you have limited experience/knowledge this book might be a bit over your head. If you have played tons and watch regularly this book might be a bit basic. If you're somewhere in between this is a fantastic read. I will probably have to read it again and refer to while I'm watching games next season. At this point I feel like I understand a bunch more, but couldn't quite explain what I know to someone who is in the d ...more
Scoop Erickson
Dec 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
Without a doubt, this was one of the best books I've ever read on the art of watching and understanding football. It definitely bears re-reading, which I plan to do, in order to absorb all of the information it offers those who want a deeper appreciation of the game.
Pat
Aug 23, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a decent book to provide a deeper than entry level introduction to professional football. Some aspects may be too advanced for someone just trying to learn the game, while others are overly simplistic for a fan that has good grasp on the sport already. It is certainly a book that can provide a quick reference and Mr. Kirwan is honest about the game he has devoted his professional life to. Overall, it is an enjoyable read and insightful.
Zack Foster
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
I learned quite a bit from this book, since I've come to realize I don't have a very deep understanding of many aspects of football. However, there's quite a bit of fluff and many references to people that are dated and not explained. I recently read Blood, Sweat and Chalk as well, and that book was better for getting deeper into football strategy.
Gary
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Liked: Interesting discussion of how much player intelligence matters. Also very enjoyable future NFL predictions
Disliked: Complicated formation and route analysis with a lot of unfamiliar terminology.
Lib DM
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Very dry, awful diagrams. Wildcat chapter pretty much useless now.
Rick Borgo
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Everything I could have asked for in terms of learning about the inside language and culture of the NFL. Great insight.
Terry Mohr
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
provides the next level analysis of all football positions. Fun read and gives insight into the american football game.
Zach Koenig
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it
The premise of Pat Kirwan's "Take Your Eye Off The Ball" is simple: outside of the typical sideline shot that highlights most NFL plays on TV, there are a thousand-and-one other things transpiring that can give clues as to what is really going on beyond just following the flight of the ball. How deeply the reader wants to delve into Kirwan's discussion is a different matter entirely.

If you use this book as a study guide for NFL offenses, defenses, off-seasons, and everything in between, you will
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James Dunphy
Sep 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I spent the summer with a coworker who read this on our breaks. He was like me, very interested and knowledgeable on American football, but had little playing experience outside the backyard. I picked this up an anticipation of football season around August, but it got lost in my backlog until I finished it now at the midway point of the season.
The book is very nicely organized and flows well from chapter to chapter. The first half is generally dedicated to the offensive side of the ball, with c
...more
Rachel
Aug 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, nonfiction
This book is very good, though it's not perfect and it's not for everybody.

The subtitle is "How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look" which is sort of what the books tells you. A more accurate subtitle would be "The Things Pat Kirwan Wants You to Know about Football." Only the first chapter is really about training your eye to look at different things on the field, and it's not particularly in-depth. (I thought for a moment while reading the first chapter that the book was going to teach m
...more
Aaron
Feb 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Good read if you're into NFL football and want a deeper look. Overall, a lot of good information. It was a little slow at times, but chapters 13 and 14 alone were worth the read for me. Great inside info about the entire draft process, including trade valuations and gamesmanship and Kirwan has great ideas about the future of the sport. Some of them have already begun to take shape in the 8 years since the book came out. Recommended read.
Dave Maddock
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
Two years ago I had very little interest in football. When I decided to learn about it, I immediately checked this book out from my library. It was too obscure for me then. After watching two seasons of football, I tried again. This time it was fantastic.

It answered a lot of my questions about technique and strategy that simply are not explained during broadcasts or news coverage. Such as: identifying offensive and defensive formations, the difference between 3-4 and 4-3 defense, general techniq
...more
Jenny's Book Life
Dec 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: own-it
I was right. When you understand the rules of a sport, it becomes much more exciting. I have enjoyed learning about football....I especially enjoyed gaining basic understanding of the playoff stuff because suddenly I know what those commentators are talking about. I'm in the "in crowd" now. How rude that they all assume we know what sixth and fifth seeds are. But now I do!

These football books all seem to be written with some assumption that you already know certain things. And maybe that you are
...more
Comrade_Bazarov
Sep 14, 2014 rated it liked it
The author devotes each chapter to different skill positions and illustrates his ideas well with diagrams and route trees. He peppers his discussion with relevant examples. Also present are inset boxes with detailed answers to FAQs like 'How long does it take to switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 and vice versa?'

Not a whole lot of new information or knowledge for me, mostly because I knew most of the concepts discussed here (3-4 vs 4-3, zone vs man etc) but for a casual fan of the game this could be in
...more
Mark
Sep 06, 2012 rated it liked it
There are almost no books that teach non-players about football, so I was happy to find this gem.

Overall the book is helpful to understand what is happening on any given play and what each player is doing to help the play succeed.
The drawback is that the book skips over all of the basics - names of positions and formations - and even some intermediate information. It would have been much better if they included a chapter in the beginning of the book that covered that information, or even inclu
...more
Kristen
Mar 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I just charted my first games by personnel groupings this week. I am so happy to find a way to watch football and feel like I am participating. Lots of baseball fans keep score of their games, but football fans just watch. I have always enjoyed watching football with my husband - but, I never played, my brothers and sons never played, and I never really understood the assignments and mental game. Now that I have a glimpse into the mental game of each position I can not wait for this season! This ...more
Mike
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
A really outstanding book for people who know the basics of football, but want to take their understanding to a deeper level. As the title suggests, Kirwan takes you deep into the action that's happening all over the field when you're not looking--the offensive line, pass coverage, defensive schemes, and a whole lot more. There's also a lot of information about what happens off the field: scouting, the draft, and coaching. I have to say, that part of it felt like getting a glimpse inside the sau ...more
Harrison Miller
Sep 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When reading this book i quickly became very amused and gained a greater respect of the game of football from the college level to the NFL level. Kirwan does this by giving you incite into what the players and coaches look for, as the book progresses you start to see the difficulties for both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, you start to see just how complicated it is to be calling the plays on both sides of the ball. I also liked this book because it allowed me to understand how d ...more
Debra
Aug 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
This one was tough. Not because it was bad but because it felt a lot like studying.
I sought out this book because even though I have watched football all my life my boyfriend still mocks me because I don't recognize a screen pass or know what the flats are (dick). So anyway, while I am still no where near my boyfriend's level I do feel like I know the right questions to ask. I felt like this book is sort of advanced level football and I really could've used the intermediate level one. The autho
...more
Brian
Jan 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Just... wow. I thought I knew football. Nope. Not even close. I mean, I know I'm not knowledgeable enough to be a coach. But the insights presented in this book made me realize how far I am away from ever being a coach. Those guys have it HARD! And reading this book makes me shake my head even more at the idiots that call into sports radio shows. Most of them are complete morons. I mean... I knew that already. But this book really drove that point home. There's so much more to football than I ev ...more
Blaise
Aug 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Kirwan does a great job of breaking down so many of the nuances of professional football, making them very easy to understand. This is really a book to study and reread because he gets very specific in describing some very technical aspects of the game. He helps the viewer understand what they should be looking at in terms of action away from the ball and how it relates to every position on the field. He also has some great ideas about how to improve the game in the f ...more
Holly
Feb 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
I highly recommend this book to people who like football and are looking for a deeper understanding of the technical parts of the game. Pat Kirwan is extremely knowledgeable and is able to communicate that knowledge clearly and easily. I really enjoyed his writing style - he balanced his use of technical terms with clear explanations without talking down to the reader or making this book too elementary for established football fans.

If you're looking for a beginner's guide to football, read some
...more
Matt
Nov 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Even if you think you already know a lot about football, mankind's greatest game, you will learn something from this book. This is football as it is played today with zone blocking, option routes, sophisticated blitzes all intelligently described. Do you really know the fundamental differences between a 4-3 and 3-4 defense? Kirwan explains. Published in 2010, the book is a little dated already (proving the ever-changing nature of football strategy.) There's a whole chapter on the Wild Cat, that ...more
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