This is one of the worst football related books I have ever read. And that’s surprising since the book is written by John Feinstein. Normally I love his books. This one is a total miss. I do not recommend any football fan reading this book. It’s a total and complete waste of time.
First, the title says “Inside the Most Important Position in the NFL.” While that statement is true, he never discusses why that statement is true in the book. One would not have go into a lengthy exegesis to empirically support that statement, but this book doesn’t even try.
Second, he follows five quarterbacks, Andrew Luck, Joe Flacco, Alex Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the long ago retired Doug Williams (let’s get into the later shortly.) None of this book explores the football journey of these quarterbacks in a way that is at all interesting, insightful, or something new football fans didn’t already know. In fact, after reading it, I could not tell you what one said versus another or anything at all that I learned about football or the life of a quarterback in the NFL.
Unfortunately, much of the book is devoted to essentially calling out the NFL and its owners for being racists. In fact, the book at times seemed to be more about Colin Kaepernick than it was about the quarterbacks featured above. The author harps on incessantly about Colin Kaepernick not being signed by an NFL team and accuses the league of being racists because owners didn’t like the national anthem protests. The owners didn’t like the national anthem protests first and foremost because it hurt their brand. American’s and football fans reacted negatively to it seeing it as disrespecting the armed forces. And Kaepernick took and incredibly long time to even say why he was kneeling during the national anthem. My personal opinion is it was more about self-aggrandizement than a protest of anything. The book is misleading in its title about what to expect in the book.
Finally, it seems he uses Doug Williams as a stalking horse to rail against racism in the NFL and not wanting to draft African American quarterbacks. Historically that is undoubtedly true for numerous reasons, and very unfortunate. Warren Moon should have been and NFL quarterback from the very start of his career, not have to go dominate in the Canadian Football League before getting a chance in the NFL. There are many cases like his and I am sure those show never got a chance in the NFL historically. But again, everything Doug Williams said in the book is old news not new news.
But let’s get to 2019. I think it would be an awfully hard case to make that the NFL specifically discriminates against African American quarterbacks anymore. Many have been drafted in the first round of the draft since 2000 and many drafted despite concerns about their character (Jamies Winston), accuracy (Cam Newton, Lamar Jackson, Teddy Bridgewater), or height (Kyle Murray). Two of the three quarterbacks in the 2019 draft were African Americans, with the number one overall pick being Kyler Murray from Oklahoma, shortly followed by Dwayne Haskins from Ohio State.
It really seemed the book was more about the author’s political agenda at times than it was about modern NFL Football.
I guess that is a long review to say – skip this one – nothing new, political diatribe at times, uninformative, and boring.
Quarterback: Inside the Most Important Position in the National Football League