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The games that changed the game : the evolution of the NFL in seven Sundays

Each of these schemes or concepts is demonstrated by analysis of a specific game. The reader is taken through each game quarter by quarter describing in detail relevant plays, their impact on the game specifically and in general, including a few play diagrams. Now, if this sounds very geeky to you - then you're right. Don't get me wrong - the book is no play-by-play box score compilation.


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Jaworski and his co-authors focus exclusively on one team and the decisions made by that team's coach or coordinator and how each play figured into the overall scheme of that coach. The book is fun and easy to read, a huge ensemble cast of former and current players and coaches get to have their say, and depending on your age, you either get to gain some insights of the NFL before you were born Sid Gillman's Chargers and the Steel Curtain were before my time , too young I only knew about Don Coryell, Dan Fouts and Kellen Winslow Sr. What I really like was the back and forth between offensive and defensive innovations - it demonstrates the arms race in the NFL very well.

The offense starts to air it out - the defense catches up. The offense creates ever more complex formations and plays - the defense overloads and blitzes unexpectedly, and so on. The book also offers some refreshingly raw language that you'd expect from players and coaches in football, instead of the highly polished "speaking but not saying anything" in today's media-centric league.

The reason that I'm giving it only 4 stars is that the chapter titles are somewhat confusing sometimes - Sid Gillman's Vertical Stretch, for example is showcased in a game where the Chargers won by relying on their running attack. Which they could do only because the defense expected them to air it out, but still.

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The Air Coryell chapter is is actually more about Winslow's breakout game, and the begin of the receiving tight ends of the modern era. But these minor inconsistencies didn't really bother me. Now, unless you're a die-hard NFL geek looking for something meaningful to do while ESPN is showing skateboarding or oval car races, wait until the price drops. Oherwise - read this book. See all 38 reviews. Most recent customer reviews. Published 2 months ago. Published 9 months ago. Published 1 year ago. Published on December 28, Published on November 2, Published on November 1, Published on October 30, Published on September 1, Published on August 18, Published on April 20, Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.

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The Games That Changed the Game

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The Evolution of the NFL in Seven Sundays

There's a problem loading this menu right now. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. As Sid told me on more than one occasion, "People wanted to see us throw the ball. They didn't give a damn who caught it, but they wanted that ball in the air. In an era when the prevailing wisdom was "Three things can happen when you pass--and two of them are bad," Sid ignored that mind-set and passed more often so he could set up his running game. He put backs in motion, threw to backs in the flat--even sent them on "go" routes up the field and down the middle.

Sid asked himself, "Why do we always need our backs and tight end to block, then release?


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Hell, just let 'em go right away. Gillman compensated for reduced protection by putting the responsibility on his quarterbacks to throw quickly when pressured known today as making a "hot read" to the backs and to the tight end. This concept was pivotal to his philosophy--and unique. Few tight ends regularly ran vertical routes before Sid Gillman came along. Gillman believed that the success of any passing game depended on how well it dominated the hash mark areas with a pass-catching tight end. Time and again Sid preached, "You put a real tough tight end with good hands in the hash area, and there won't be anyone who can cover him.

Then you really control the passing game. Sid's first tight end with the Chargers was Dave Kocourek, a guy who averaged between 16 to 19 yards per catch every year. He was almost impossible to stop. Not many players worked out year-round, but, because of Sid, many of the Chargers did, and it gave us a huge strength advantage in games. As Bill Walsh so accurately noted, "Sid was so far ahead of his time, people couldn't totally understand what he was doing. Sid's brilliance was obvious from the minute I met him. He was almost too smart; a mad professor of sorts. He'd scribble so quickly on the blackboard that I'd have to slow him down.

It wasn't just what he taught--but how he taught it. Before Sid came to the pros in the mids, most coaches would fire up the film projector and focus on an opponent's overall strategy. Sid ignored that approach. He asked his players to study the details. Where is the linebacker? What's his depth from the line of scrimmage? Which leg is the strong safety putting his weight on?

How are the cornerback's feet positioned and which way is his head turned? What is he looking at? Other coaches spent their time getting an overview of all eleven defenders. Sid preferred to zero in on one guy at a time to pick up the right clues. If you could crack the code, every player on the field revealed something crucial.

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Once I was able to apply this knowledge, things really took off for me. My first eureka moment with Sid came during an off-season practice. I made my first throw, and Sid bellowed, "Let me see your grip! But Sid was going to mold me from the ground up, starting with the basics.

The Games That Changed the Game: The Evolution of the NFL in Seven Sundays

Shit, Ron, your palm's touching the leather! It was days before we even started working on play design. Sid wanted his quarterbacks to be fundamentally sound before he'd move on to anything else. He was also a demon about repetition. Gillman drilled you and drilled you until you ran a play without even thinking about what you were doing. His passing system was based totally on precision. I had to have that ball out to the receiver at a specific point every time.

And my receiver had better snap his head around when the pass was released or he was going to get whacked in the face mask.


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With the Eagles, I was blessed with one of the best receivers I ever threw to in Harold Carmichael, a four-time Pro Bowler, but Sid pushed him just as hard. By the time he got through with the two of us, I could have gone out to the practice field with Harold and completed those passes blindfolded. That was Sid's mantra: Do something so many times the exact way each time, and you'll perform the same in any game situation.

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