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The Art of Smart Football

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Masterfully blending thought provoking analysis with engrossing storytelling, The Art of Smart Football examines football’s most innovative and enduring strategies and ideas, through the lens of the sport’s best coaches and players. The Art of Smart Football is an eye-opening, fascinating and accessible contribution to our understanding of America’s favorite sport. The Art Masterfully blending thought provoking analysis with engrossing storytelling, The Art of Smart Football examines football’s most innovative and enduring strategies and ideas, through the lens of the sport’s best coaches and players. The Art of Smart Football is an eye-opening, fascinating and accessible contribution to our understanding of America’s favorite sport. The Art of Smart Football features analysis of football's top strategists and schemes, including: Pete Carroll's aggressive defense Chip Kelly's spread offense and new-school methods The roots of Bill Belichick's defensive genius Gus Malzahn's up-tempo offense The strategies Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers use to shred defenses Art Briles and Baylor's wide open attack Nick Saban's defensive evolution The book also includes explorations of the newest trends in football, including "packaged plays" that combine runs and passes into one play, "pattern match" defenses that blend man-to-man and zone pass coverages, how defenses are responding to the spread offense, and much more. Praise for The Art of Smart Football: "The Art of Smart Football made me a smarter football writer . . . Football, as presented by these coaches and by Brown, is such an imaginative game. It’s a great read: Go buy it." -- Peter King, The MMQB/Sports Illustrated"A must read if you are a football junkie." -- Trent Dilfer, ESPN/13-year NFL Veteran Quarterback"The best analysis in the game today." -- Rolling Stone"Awesome stuff. I recommend The Art of Smart Football to any coach or fan." -- Matt Bowen, ESPN Columnist/NFL Veteran"When Chris B. Brown releases a book, you should buy it." -- Bill Barnwell, Grantland/ESPN"A deep dive into football. Highly recommended." -- Field Yates, ESPN"The Art of Smart Football is a perfect read for anyone looking to take their knowledge of the game up a notch." -- ElevenWarriors.com


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Masterfully blending thought provoking analysis with engrossing storytelling, The Art of Smart Football examines football’s most innovative and enduring strategies and ideas, through the lens of the sport’s best coaches and players. The Art of Smart Football is an eye-opening, fascinating and accessible contribution to our understanding of America’s favorite sport. The Art Masterfully blending thought provoking analysis with engrossing storytelling, The Art of Smart Football examines football’s most innovative and enduring strategies and ideas, through the lens of the sport’s best coaches and players. The Art of Smart Football is an eye-opening, fascinating and accessible contribution to our understanding of America’s favorite sport. The Art of Smart Football features analysis of football's top strategists and schemes, including: Pete Carroll's aggressive defense Chip Kelly's spread offense and new-school methods The roots of Bill Belichick's defensive genius Gus Malzahn's up-tempo offense The strategies Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers use to shred defenses Art Briles and Baylor's wide open attack Nick Saban's defensive evolution The book also includes explorations of the newest trends in football, including "packaged plays" that combine runs and passes into one play, "pattern match" defenses that blend man-to-man and zone pass coverages, how defenses are responding to the spread offense, and much more. Praise for The Art of Smart Football: "The Art of Smart Football made me a smarter football writer . . . Football, as presented by these coaches and by Brown, is such an imaginative game. It’s a great read: Go buy it." -- Peter King, The MMQB/Sports Illustrated"A must read if you are a football junkie." -- Trent Dilfer, ESPN/13-year NFL Veteran Quarterback"The best analysis in the game today." -- Rolling Stone"Awesome stuff. I recommend The Art of Smart Football to any coach or fan." -- Matt Bowen, ESPN Columnist/NFL Veteran"When Chris B. Brown releases a book, you should buy it." -- Bill Barnwell, Grantland/ESPN"A deep dive into football. Highly recommended." -- Field Yates, ESPN"The Art of Smart Football is a perfect read for anyone looking to take their knowledge of the game up a notch." -- ElevenWarriors.com

30 review for The Art of Smart Football

  1. 4 out of 5

    Steven Peterson

    This book is a lot of fun--and educational, too. The book speaks to the evolution of the passing game and the major schools thereof (e.g., West It also speaks Coast offense). The volume also speaks to defensive elements, such as Nick Saban's approach as well as Bill Belichek. Both college and professional football are catalogued. We learn about Baylor's high octane offense, different defensive schemes, and learn quite a bit about the language used by coaches. I've bee following football since firs This book is a lot of fun--and educational, too. The book speaks to the evolution of the passing game and the major schools thereof (e.g., West It also speaks Coast offense). The volume also speaks to defensive elements, such as Nick Saban's approach as well as Bill Belichek. Both college and professional football are catalogued. We learn about Baylor's high octane offense, different defensive schemes, and learn quite a bit about the language used by coaches. I've bee following football since first grade (in the days of Ed Brown and Harlan Hill of the Chicago Bears). I wish I had had access to this work many years ago! Lots of fun AND educational. . . .

  2. 5 out of 5

    Matt Davenport

    Not exactly what I was expecting, but still entertaining and insightful. I was expecting more of an in-depth dive into different football strategies, but what I was met with instead were a collection of stories and narratives about different innovative coaches. Through this perspective, Brown then dived into the actual strategies schematically that set the program apart. In this way, I gained a lot of beginning knowledge about a lot of different systems, and it was all in an easy-to-read and enj Not exactly what I was expecting, but still entertaining and insightful. I was expecting more of an in-depth dive into different football strategies, but what I was met with instead were a collection of stories and narratives about different innovative coaches. Through this perspective, Brown then dived into the actual strategies schematically that set the program apart. In this way, I gained a lot of beginning knowledge about a lot of different systems, and it was all in an easy-to-read and enjoyable way. I don't know how impressionable the knowledge actually was though, most chapters were too short for me to feel like I actually learned a lot or enough to commit it to long term memory. Will need to re-read more thoroughly again sometime. (Note: Actually began reading this book sometime in 2018, but got distracted and never finished it. Finished in 2019)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matt Moran

    A lot of technical football knowledge packed into a short, easily accessible book. This made me realize how much of the game I don't understand and how there is so much about football that you cannot learn by just watching the game on TV. A lot of technical football knowledge packed into a short, easily accessible book. This made me realize how much of the game I don't understand and how there is so much about football that you cannot learn by just watching the game on TV.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Adam Hawkes

    If you are a football fan, either college or pro, you will love this short, easy to read book. Getting insights on how a defense/offense adapts over time, the little tweaks made by the innovators of the game even how high school football tactics end up being used in the NFL, you'll get all that and more. Great use of diagrams by the author, really gives you an idea of what is (supposed) to happen on the field. If you are a football fan, either college or pro, you will love this short, easy to read book. Getting insights on how a defense/offense adapts over time, the little tweaks made by the innovators of the game even how high school football tactics end up being used in the NFL, you'll get all that and more. Great use of diagrams by the author, really gives you an idea of what is (supposed) to happen on the field.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Barry

    Great book for football nerds! I greatly enjoyed Chris Brown's deep dive into football theory and tactics. With each chapter, I learned new tendencies to look for on Sundays. Before reading this book, I was pretty "meh" about the upcoming season (with all the scandals and whatnot). Now I'm not quite as "meh"! Great book for football nerds! I greatly enjoyed Chris Brown's deep dive into football theory and tactics. With each chapter, I learned new tendencies to look for on Sundays. Before reading this book, I was pretty "meh" about the upcoming season (with all the scandals and whatnot). Now I'm not quite as "meh"!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ben Kester

    Light, entertaining read on football strategy - modern day and historical. Brown mixes football ideas with entertaining anecdotes.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ken Yager

    Great read! Smart, well written and researched. The author covers a lot of material offensively and defensively. This is a book for someone who wants to know how and why things work in football.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Todd Davidson

    For those of us too wimpy to play in high school this book is a great introduction to football strategy. It tells a great story of the evolution and increasing complexity of the game. The business lesson is that agility requires careful planning, focus, and repetition.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jake Gaiser

    Very insightful schematic and philosophical overview of football's most innovative coaches. Very insightful schematic and philosophical overview of football's most innovative coaches.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Kanavy

    Great Reag Loved this book. Loved how in-depth it was and how it provided a different perspective on the game I love!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Will Osgood

    An easy but very joyful read Goes in-depth but remains easy to understand. It is concise, but also detailed so both novices and "experts" could glean something from it. An easy but very joyful read Goes in-depth but remains easy to understand. It is concise, but also detailed so both novices and "experts" could glean something from it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jarrod Loudermilk

    I thoroughly enjoyed this, it moved beyond the tv analysis and really explained the theories involved with modern football.I consider it must read for a football fan

  13. 5 out of 5

    Oliver Bateman

    The second book of Brown's essays is quite short, and most of these pieces are available online for free, but it's worth reading in book form (and buying, simply to keep this dude in business). Brown was one of the new "how the game is played" experts who worked with the Grantland team, and outside of Zach Lowe, likely the best of them. Brown's production seems to have tapered off in recent years, but I'd like to see him back with the Ringer or some similar publication. The second book of Brown's essays is quite short, and most of these pieces are available online for free, but it's worth reading in book form (and buying, simply to keep this dude in business). Brown was one of the new "how the game is played" experts who worked with the Grantland team, and outside of Zach Lowe, likely the best of them. Brown's production seems to have tapered off in recent years, but I'd like to see him back with the Ringer or some similar publication.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chris Kamykowski

    Have recommended to my fellow football coaches and to superfans of the game.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bill Shannon

    This is the book I had hoped "Blood, Sweat & Chalk" would be. It's sort of an analogy of offensive and defensive concepts, with anecdotal examples. It not only explains what modern football concepts are and how they work, but it even shows actual diagrams from playbooks. So I learned about the Erhardt-Perkins offenses of the 1970s, the West Coast concepts of the '80s and early '90s, and the modern spread and read-option stuff. What's great about the book is that it assumes you know a little abou This is the book I had hoped "Blood, Sweat & Chalk" would be. It's sort of an analogy of offensive and defensive concepts, with anecdotal examples. It not only explains what modern football concepts are and how they work, but it even shows actual diagrams from playbooks. So I learned about the Erhardt-Perkins offenses of the 1970s, the West Coast concepts of the '80s and early '90s, and the modern spread and read-option stuff. What's great about the book is that it assumes you know a little about football -- so there is no tiresome rudimentary explanation of weak vs strong sides or 3-4s and Tampa 2 defenses. It takes very heady ideas and boils them down into why they work (which is usually mathematics and trickery.) I am looking forward to reading it again at the end of the season.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    Smart Football for casual fans Chris Brown is a great writer who manages to make football strategy accessible to the more casual fan. While Brown's knowledge of various strategies are as strong as anyone else's his work strives to bring the masses in. If you are somewhat interested in different strategies and their history you should read this. If you're looking for something more comprehensive this probably isn't the book for you. Regardless it's still a very good read. Smart Football for casual fans Chris Brown is a great writer who manages to make football strategy accessible to the more casual fan. While Brown's knowledge of various strategies are as strong as anyone else's his work strives to bring the masses in. If you are somewhat interested in different strategies and their history you should read this. If you're looking for something more comprehensive this probably isn't the book for you. Regardless it's still a very good read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hans

    This is a great book to get an inside look on the NFL. It reads quick and Chris has a written voice that is easy to digest. This book has changed the way I watch the game. I am far more engrossed into each play. The downside is I need the ALL-22 view to really enjoy the game. And, announcers really bother me with their pre-packaged statements.

  18. 5 out of 5

    John A. Thornton

    A must read for any serious football fan I have been a football fan for over thirty years and I learned more about football strategy and implementation of ideas and concepts then I have from any other source. I was amazed I could learn this from a book that can be read in one day

  19. 5 out of 5

    Addison Roberts

    Really great stuff I read this to get a better feel for what I am watching on Sunday. Learning the stories and the ideas was a lot of fun and I hope to try and get a feel for what it looks like practically.

  20. 4 out of 5

    JJ Cooper

    Even better than his first book If you want to understand what is going on in football at a deeper level buy this book. It explains the theories and the never-ending move/counter move aspects of football in ways you likely have never considered. Outstanding.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stephan Köhler

    A great little book about football tactics with the absolutely right balance between game descriptions and scheme explanations. As a minor nitpick one could say that for the novice there is not enough definition of basic terms.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Garrick Infanger

    Some interesting perspectives on the history of football schemes and formations. Best story is about Sean Payton reaching out to Bill Parcells and Jon Gruden for help with his son's 6th grade football team. Some interesting perspectives on the history of football schemes and formations. Best story is about Sean Payton reaching out to Bill Parcells and Jon Gruden for help with his son's 6th grade football team.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mackay

    A great book for football fans who want to know more about the game as it's played (as opposed to watched). A bit outdated, as will happen with anything that changes so fast, being pubbed in 2014, but the analysis and breakdown of the "inside" game still works. A great book for football fans who want to know more about the game as it's played (as opposed to watched). A bit outdated, as will happen with anything that changes so fast, being pubbed in 2014, but the analysis and breakdown of the "inside" game still works.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chance Phiniezy

    Great read Great read if you like football strategy wrapped up in the form of quick stories. Tells who developed these familiar tactics and what problem led to the evolution of older strategies.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mickey Kowaleski

    If you want a deeper appreciation for the world's most strategic sport, you can't do better than Chris B. Brown's Smart Football books. If you want a deeper appreciation for the world's most strategic sport, you can't do better than Chris B. Brown's Smart Football books.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michael Carlson

    Phenomenal read. Good glimpse behind some of the games greatest minds told in short, easy to digest essays.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joe Burkland

    A fantastic follow-up to Brown's first book. Well-written essays that highlight coaches and their philosophies, schemes, concepts and backgrounds. A must-read for the serious football fan. A fantastic follow-up to Brown's first book. Well-written essays that highlight coaches and their philosophies, schemes, concepts and backgrounds. A must-read for the serious football fan.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cortney Harmon

    Football 101 Very interesting read and take on the evolution of football. This book does the history of the game a great service.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alpha

    Great read. A bit of deja vu if you've been reading his work online, but still very worthwhile. Makes me look forward even more to football season kicking into gear! Great read. A bit of deja vu if you've been reading his work online, but still very worthwhile. Makes me look forward even more to football season kicking into gear!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nikky

    Ultimately disappointing. Largely a collection of loosely-assembled vignettes about football strategy and coaching, there doesn't seem to be any cohesive theme. Ultimately disappointing. Largely a collection of loosely-assembled vignettes about football strategy and coaching, there doesn't seem to be any cohesive theme.

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