Author(s): John Feinstein
Report Published: On Launch
Next Man Up follows the American football team the Baltimore Ravens through their 2004 season, a real cocktail of jubilations, trials and tribulations. Feinstein, evidently good at his craft, delicately weaves a season slog into a detailed and extremely readable insight of the locker room, draft day deals and the touchline buzz.
The author is clearly a lover of the game but not so romantic as to avoid the nitty gritty issues such as insecure work contracts or the inherent danger that lingers over every snap. Bottom line of the book is: many college kids try but don’t make it and many of those that do succeed get injured, which gives the next man up an opportunity to go for gold.
This book isn’t going to change your life (unless you are an aspiring football player) but it will certainly teach you a thing or two about the gruelling world of pro-football – its sentiments, struggles and sacrifices. Even the hardened football fans back at QUAKE Books HQ, are likely to come away with a better understanding of the dedication needed to be a long snapper, punter or kicker, because Feinstein, in what is a nice touch, chose to convey how hard it is to be an excellent player in a position that will almost certainly guarantee that no one will know your name.
Next Man Up is definitely worth a read if, like me, you are desperately craving football action less than one month into the offseason (yikes!) I also think that parents and their football playing children should study this book carefully so they are under no illusion as to how tough it is to get and stay in work as a professional sportsperson.
Ex- Browns tight end Ozzie Newsome
Next Man Up showed me once again how books can solve problems. Ok the issue of not being able to watch the Jacksonville Jaguars play on Sunday is trivial, but then who said that QUAKE books have to result in earth shattering displays?
Now more than ever, I am convinced that American football players are vulnerable people, who just like the rest of us, deserve love and respect regardless of the colour of their jersey. Their dedication to battle week in and week out for field position, touchdowns and extra points really speaks to me.