Book review: "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Football" is a gridiron guide for idiots, editors alike

Idiot's Guide

Idiot's Guide (Credit: Penguin)

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Football
$18.95, 352 pages
Alpha Books

Perhaps it was an odd choice for me, a sports editor, to read a football primer written for the “complete idiot.” (Or is it a “complete” guide for an idiot? Never mind.)

However, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Football” did fill in a few gaps in my gridiron knowledge.

For example, I didn’t know that a quarterback can take a snap and try to drop-kick the football through the uprights (though unpredictable bounces off the ground before drop kicks make them very chancy compared to a conventional field goal try.)

From minutiae such as the drop kick to defensive strategies to rule differences between the high school and NFL games, author Mike Beacom (an editor himself) explains it all, and lucidly. He’s at his best describing the responsibilities of each position, and “Linebackers Are Football Creatures” is a typical chapter.

“Running backs are sometimes too quick for defensive linemen to catch and too strong for defensive backs (particularly cornerbacks) to hold on to,” Beacom writes.

He adds, conspiratorially: “But the linebacker is the perfect predator for the task.”

Tags: Sports , Books , The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Football

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