Sunday, August 3, 2014

Review of "Pillars of the NFL"

While this book may sound like simply a recap of the careers of some successful, it is rich with stories and information that the reader may not have previously known.  Here is my review of "Pillars of the NFL."

“Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships” by Patrick McCaskey

Football (American), Professional, History

Publish date:
March 25, 2014

472 pages

4 of 5 stars (very good)

There have been ten coaches in the history of the National Football League who have won three or more championships.  The stories of these ten coaches, from George Halas to Bill Belichick, are found in this book written by Patrick McCaskey.  McCaskey is a wealth of information given his title with the Chicago Bears and his family lineage – he is the grandson of the first coach chronicled in the book, George Halas.

However, there is certainly no favoritism toward Halas in the book, nor a shortage of information on the other nine coaches as McCaskey follows a format for each coach.  He starts by describing the early life of the coach, then his playing and coaching career in both college and professional football. The championship games coached by each man, win or lose, are recapped in highlight-only fashion.  If there is a post-football career or life for the coach, that is described as well.  Finally, notable players and coaches that played under or gained knowledge under one of the ten legends were listed with a brief career description.

I felt each story was well written and researched.  I was especially interested in the early coaches – not only Halas but also Guy Chamberlain (about whom I knew only his three championships in the early days of the NFL) and Curley Lambeau.  Without getting too bogged down with too many details, I found those stories to be enjoyable reads along with the coaches with whom I was more familiar, such as Bill Walsh and Joe Gibbs.  

I also believe that because of McCaskey’s extensive research and use of endnotes, this makes a good reference book for people who want to find out more about these coaches. The format of the book makes it very easy for someone to look up particular seasons or championship games.  If the reader just wants to check out the Super Bowls that Bill Belichick won while coaching the New England Patriots, for example, that can easily be found in this book.

Overall, this was an enjoyable book to read and one that I will keep as a reference book when I want to review information on one of these coaches – or use some of the information in any trivia contests. 

I wish to thank Mr. McCaskey for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Pace of the book: 
Surprisingly good, as the narratives for each season that the coaches were working were told in a quick, no-nonsense manner and each player mentioned had relevant information in just a paragraph.   

Do I recommend? 
I recommend this to pro football fans, as they will like this book for additional information on the winningest coaches in the game. 

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