Think you know the NFL? Well, you probably do. That is unless you’re the type of fan that is too naive to see how cold a business it is in the National Football League.
If you are blind to what it looks like behind the scenes of an NFL team then “NFL Confidential” should open your eyes a bit. This book was written anonymously by an alleged four-year lineman who is still in the League.
While we can’t be 100 percent certain the author is a real NFL player, the book does offer plenty of insight into the workings of pro football. Johnny Anonymous has plenty of stories that make him seem legit and he’s not trying to portray himself as a Pro Bowl caliber guy.
His biggest dream is to become the Best NFL Backup Ever. Sounds lame, but after he breaks down just how much he hates the NFL, that dream doesn’t seem so ludicrous. It’s actually pretty damn smart.
Johnny’s story starts out with him going to training camp and his coach getting his name wrong right off the bat. The guy is slotted as a third stringer at the moment, so that sounds about right.
The NFL is a meat grinder if you’re not a high-level quarterback or weren’t drafted in the first round. Teams know there’s someone ready to take your spot as soon as you can’t perform so why would a coach know a third stringer’s name on day one?
Johnny’s stories of trying to make weight are awful and I’ll let you read that for yourself. The guy goes to extreme measures to pack on the pounds as he is a bit light for an offensive lineman.
His battles with his position coach, Lopez, are entertaining enough to carry this book from cover to cover. Johnny knows his job, but since he’s not a starter he gets verbally abused at every meeting.
The book covers an entire NFL season and goes into detail about how Johnny got involved with football in the first place. His mom died at an early age, and he used football as an outlet for his anger over her death and later envisioned her watching him from above.
This part of the book gave me a closer look at the author. I expected all the meat-headed stuff that went on in the locker room, but his emotional description of his mom’s death made Johnny Anonymous real to me.
Of course, there are plenty of locker room stories to make the book entertaining. I wasn’t expecting a think tank of football players sitting around discussing world hunger. I was expecting the usual pro athlete discussions of groupies, trash talking each other, and the separation of classes on the team.
That separation came in the form of first teamers and back-ups, skill position guys and linemen, and of course, black and white players.
Kickers and punters were a whole other side show.
Johnny’s story gets interesting when he becomes a starter due a couple of first teamers getting injured. As much as he claims to hate the NFL and what it does to the employees (players), he can’t help but get caught up in the excitement of it all. He goes from third stringer on the verge of getting cut to starting, with a shot at real money the following season if he can hold his own.
The guy is truly excited to be a part of the team on the field as his dream of being the Best NFL Backup Ever fades to the back of his mind. His love of the actual game of football overrides his hatred of the business that is the NFL. The guy clearly loves to win and is a real competitor who understands the game of football on the same level as a coach.
You’ll have to read the book for yourself to see how the season ends up for ole Johnny Anonymous. You can also decide for yourself if you believe the author is a real player. There are a few points in the book that seem far fetched like the O-line coach talking about a former player calling him up the day before the player commits suicide.
Maybe that was just some extra hype to help the story along.
There’s plenty in the book that makes me think the guy is legit. Lots of inside stories that would almost have to come from an NFLer.
The book is worth a read for any NFL fan. It resonated with me as I often criticize the NFL for various missteps and the way they treat their players. I love the game but have a hard time loving the business.
Johnny Anonymous seemed to have the same hate for the NFL as the book began. But even a bitter third stringer couldn’t keep from getting caught up in the thrill of the game of football. His bitterness was overcome by his love of the game.
NFL Confidential is also plenty funny so it will entertain you if nothing else. The author is mentioned as being a contributor over at “Funny or Die,” so he could have a comedy career lined up after his playing days end.
I’d give this book 3.8 stars out of 5. It’s funny enough and has enough insider info to justify buying it on Amazon. You might come away with a new perspective on your favorite sport and what the players go through just to make the team.
UPDATE on NFL Confidential author Johnny Anonymous:
It seems the internet feels that Johnny Anonymous is the Philadelphia Eagles backup center David Molk.
Since anyone writing a book under the Anonymous title is going to change some history and facts so as not to stand out, there are always plenty of things to be found in what they leave behind. One of the big things was a radio interview where people swear that the hosts called the player “David Anonymous” and had to backtrack quickly.
Let’s see how much more the internet sleuths can find out to confirm David Molk is, in fact, Johnny Anonymous.