Book review: NFL Confidential


A new book titled NFL Confidential is set to be released. Written by an unnamed NFL player, the book tells the untold story and dirt from the inside. Does it hit or does it miss?

I received the copy of NFL Confidential two days ago, it was a free advance for me to review, and it didn’t take long to finish. Partly due to the content being easy to absorb and partly due to the fact that this is far from a deep read. In fact, it’s a pretty simple read. Its pace is fast enough and there is just enough information to keep the reader intrigued, wanting to know more.

Is this a great book? No. Sadly it’s not even close. There are reasons for this. The author, “Johnny Anonymous” is an NFL player who doesn’t want you or anyone else to know who he is. Johnny wants you to know what life on the inside is but he doesn’t want his fellow players to know who he is anymore than he wants you to.

At times the book reads well and the information it contains is interesting in that it sheds some light on certain aspects of the game. Specifically the stress of trying to make and keep a job in the NFL. Johnny admits he hate’s football but doesn’t really tell you why he continues to play outside the “I wouldn’t know what else I would do”. He takes stabs at position and head coaches and even the general manager. He is kinder but still blatant about his likes and dislikes with the fans.

Laced with vulgarity and “F” bombs which permeate the pages, NFL Confidential misses because there is simply too much stuff that is either in place to keep you from knowing who he is or information about his “life” that really as a reader you don’t care too much about. That’s not to say his life is boring, although it is. It’s only that what happens out of the locker room is more or less filler. Some of it’s good if you want to know what a normal NFL guy does with his time away from the game. In that sense it works to humanize the entire piece.

When the reader is brought into the locker room, the practice field, or the game field, we get more interested but even then some of it comes across as contrite. There is no ego here for certain. This author makes as much fun of himself as he does anyone else and he sheds some very good light on what happens inside team and unit meeting rooms.

As I said this is an easy read and if you are a fan of football there is a lot of information contained in the cover that will allow you take a different look at the game you love. In a way, I came away with a greater appreciation of the players themselves. Something that I haven’t really looked at before. I always knew that players were property that could be bought and sold but you never really take the time to understand what that does to a person. Especially when that person isn’t making millions of dollars.

What works however is almost everything that is wrong with the book. It’s contradictory I know. For most of the book I am trying to piece together clues to find out who this guy is or what team he may have played for only to realize that every aspect of the book that contains specific information is likely a lie. Told to throw off the trail of his identity. That works in allowing the reader to believe what he is reading.

Most of the book centers on the offensive line, the position the author says he plays and that is something the reader can believe. His knowledge is solid in that regard so there is little doubt that he does in fact play on the line. As a back-up he lets you know rather quickly. A few names pop into my head throughout. Unfortunately, he could be a little more forthcoming with his knowledge inside.

Overall it’s a good read. Not a great one and not one you would rush out to buy. It will probably be on a dollar table in a year or two but if you want to read a book with some details about the inner circle of football this is a quick and actually interesting read even if you don’t come away with a rich knowledge of NFL dirt. He dishes just enough to keep you interested but unfortunately not enough to really allow the juice to flow.

The book is marketed as “True confessions from the gutter of football” but had it been marketed on a more personal level to the author the book would have worked a whole lot better. By the time I reached the midway point I realized this fact and started enjoying the book more. Where I wanted to read dirt, I found myself more interested in the author as a person himself and everything else was just a part of his story. So while too much of his off-field life became a distraction at times, in the end, having changed my expectations of what I was reading, the book got better.

If you buy the book, read it as a story about an NFL player and his struggles with football on and off the field and the inner demons that he fights on a daily basis. Know that what you are reading is real but understand that you really don’t know what about him is real or made up. It’s likely he used a lot of different stories from other players to formulate his own off-field life and when you can do that, you will enjoy the book a whole lot more. For example, he buys a dog that has an impact on him off the field. It could be his roommate who bought the dog for all we know.

The storyteller is very likeable however and above all else, that works perhaps the most.