This is an insightful book from 1986, the beginning almost of Madden’s commenting career. He was fresh off of his years coaching the Raiders and being one of the all-time greatest coaches in the game. Within it, he describes the elements of each position, including coaching, and describes what he thinks makes a successful player at that position and who are the all-time best at that position (through 1985). Unfortunately, that means a lot of Chicago Bear loving, including extolling the virtues of Jim McMahon. Or Ed. Whichever wore glasses and was flaky. Or dark glasses and was flaky. Of course, if he wrote the book in 2006, he’d be all about Brett Favre, who played the game like quarterbacks did before they were drones radio-controlled by the coaches on the sidelines.
The best insight from the book: Madden had to teach his linemen to be aggressive. Unlike linebackers, who were sort of normal-sized, linemen where huge from birth and were conditioned throughout their youth to be gentle and to not use their size to their physical advantage. So he had to teach them otherwise. Fascinating insight.
A good book if you’re into football at all. Even if nobody gets icepicked in it.