Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More Than a Game

The fantasy football season has ended, but the real football playoffs are just around the corner. I often wish the football season were longer, but I understand the physical toll on the players and check my desire as being too selfish.

Former Baltimore Ravens coach and current Fox football commentator Brian Billick thinks a longer season is inevitable, according to his recent book More Than a Game. In a chapter on the future of the league, he notes that the profit-driven owners will likely realize that more money can be made off of 18 weeks of regular season. That still leaves me on the fence--Yay, more football! Boo, more injuries.

Billick divides the book up into chapters that cover the development of the current system of offense, defense, owners, quarterbacks, and so on, as well as some forecasting for the future. The final chapter of the book really gets fun, where he anticipates developments that make fans more involved, like broadcasting QB/coach play calling.

There is also a bit of timely foreboding information. Other commentators have noted that the ongoing negotiations between the owners and the NFL Players Association (the players' union) may lead to no football season in 2011. The contract must be made in 2010, or it is likely that the players will go on strike. Billick also notes that the contract could go bad, especially if the players succeed in removing the salary caps that have kept team spending in check, balancing team rosters and making the game more competitive.

Before reading this book, I had no idea about the current state of football, especially not with respect to the contract. I also learned of two reputable online sources to feed my football addiction: Peter King's Monday Morning Quartback column offers a fantastic summary of the weekend's games and the Football Outsiders have an amazing collection of unique statistics and measures. I'd recommend this brief book to any fans looking to get a deeper understanding of things. Now if only I can find an interesting book that discusses the formations and plays the commentators blab about during games...

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