Summary: Stefan Fatsis, a 5-foot-8, 170-pound, 43-year-old sportswriter, wanted to find out what it’s like to play in the NFL. So he became a kicker and joined the Broncos.
Book Review: In this book, Fatsis is echoing the work of classic sportswriter George Plimpton who joined the Detroit Lions in the 1960s to write his book Paper Lion. Given Fatsis’ size, age, and changes in the NFL, the only position he had a chance at was NFL kicker, so he went to kicker training and tried to get almost every team to take him during mini-camp and pre-season training camp. Finally, the Denver Broncos agreed.
In general, this is a very football-focused book — similar to The Blind Side. It’s probably not something someone who doesn’t enjoy football would get or enjoy. But as I’ve mentioned, I love football, so it worked for me.
If one thing sticks out from the book, it’s just how tough the NFL can be emotionally and physically. Unlike other sports, football doesn’t have guaranteed contracts which means players can come and go without warning. Players go all out for training camp, then can be cut for almost no reason. This happens a lot to the lesser-known and more disposable players.
Fatsis takes on the NFL from a player’s perspective and profiles a lot of other players — most that won’t get contracts after the pre-season and will spend time floating through the NFL trying to make it in. This makes the book a bit of a downer at times, but ultimately more realistic than the types of football stories that get profiled in mainstream media. I can appreciate that, even if I’m more cynical about the NFL than I was before this book.
Audio Review: This book was read by the author, and I enjoyed that. Fatsis did a good job, especially in expressing his nervousness and excitement being a player in the NFL. I really appreciate that added depth to personal narrations.
The book is very, very quote heavy though, and Fatsis doesn’t do a great job distinguishing quotes from his writing. In book form I’m sure this would be find, but it’s hard in audio. A voice actor might have been better at this than the author was. Still, it was nothing I’d have stopped listening to because of, and recommend this book for football fans.
If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!