The Bookworm Sez: ‘NFL Confidential’ is TNT on paper

Three points! That’s all your team needs to win. Can they make it?

You’re doing your part: you’re wearing your lucky shirt and hat. A stuffed mascot is nearby, the team logo hangs on the wall, and you had coffee this morning in the Official Team Mug. You’re doing everything you can for a win but, as in the new book “NFL Confidential” by Johnny Anonymous (c.2016, Dey St., $26.99, 241 pages), other forces are afield.

Johnny Anonymous came to football later than most boys.

Looking to fill a void after his mother died, he joined his high school team as a freshman. Neither he nor his father knew a thing about football but Anonymous learned quickly, just as he learned that he had talent for the game.

“Back in high school, football was fun,” he says, but in college, “it was a full-time job.” College ball was serious, both mentally and physically; it was also where Anonymous began to understand what football would do to his brain and body. He suffered injuries playing college ball and he considered quitting, but going pro was a chance to “make a … ton of money.”

He was cut from his first pro team, through no fault of his own. He started as third-string at his second team and soon decided that standing on the sidelines was an easy way to make a living — but then his teammates started getting injured.

They were out. Anonymous was in, at least for awhile.

He tried to bring fun back into the game. He tried to remember that it was a game, “not World War III,” and he endured hassle from his coach and from fans. He repeatedly lost, then found, the anger that made him good at playing offense, and he ate constantly to maintain the weight the coaches unofficially said he had to have. He hurt everywhere, often, until his teammates returned from their injuries and Anonymous stepped back because that’s what players do.

“… this isn’t a fairy tale,” he says. “This isn’t a Hollywood story. This isn’t a happy ending.

This is the NFL.”

There’s a reason why author Johnny Anonymous has changed “Names, timeline, details, the usual” in this book. “Go ahead, try” to figure out who he is. I’m sure the League would like to know, too, because “NFL Confidential” is TNT on paper.

But here’s the rub: it’s easy to wonder if Anonymous is hiding behind a pseudonym in order to embellish the truth; because this book is funny, very entertaining, and more than a little smart-alecky, readers may be tempted to dismiss his words. It would be likewise easy to say that it’s just a profanity-laced, updated North Dallas Forty, until you consider that what Anonymous describes seems to be on display, to a greater or lesser degree, each August-through-February: injuries, mental abuse, domestic issues, substance abuse, and more.

So… truth? Or just a good story? You’ll have your theories but either way, I think you’ll love this book. For die-hard fans of the ol’ pigskin, “NFL Confidential” is a big win.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Email her at bookwormsez@yahoo.com.

More in Life

Homer students pose after their performance from the musical Shrek on Saturday after the three-day Broadway Bootcamp theater workshop with director Jim Anderson in October 2023, in Homer, Alaska. (Emilie Springer/ Homer News)
Intensive Broadway Bootcamp offered in Homer in August

During the five-day bootcamp, youth participants will work with top performing artist educators to develop leadership skills through theater arts.

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Young actors rehearse their production during a drama camp put on by the Kenai Performers in their theater near Soldotna on Thursday.
Kenai Performers’ drama camp trains young actors, puts on ‘super’ show

When they arrived, most of the actors had never performed before, but in just a week they’ll put on a real show

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
A copy of Howard Weaver’s “Write Hard, Die Free” rests on an ink-splotched guard rail in front of the Peninsula Clarion’s defunct Goss Suburban printing press on Thursday.
Off the Shelf: ‘Write Hard, Die Free’ an exciting and incisive window into history of Alaska, journalism

Immediately after the death of legendary Anchorage reporter and editor Howard Weaver, I picked up a copy of his memoir

This 1961 drawing of the Circus Bar, east of Soldotna, was created by Connie Silver for a travel guide called Alaska Highway Sketches. The bar was located across the Sterling Highway from land that was later developed into the Birch Ridge Golf Course.
A violent season — Part 1

Like many such drinking establishments, Good Time Charlies usually opened late and stayed open late

Dillon Diering and Sarah Overholt dance while the Tyson James Band performs during the 45th Annual Moose Pass Summer Solstice Festival in Moose Pass, Alaska, on Saturday, June 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘We’re about community’

Moose Pass throws 45th annual Summer Solstice Festival

This summer salad is sweet and refreshing, the perfect accompaniment to salty meat and chips. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Fueling happy memories

Fresh salad accompanies an outdoors Father’s Day meal

File
Minister’s Message: The way life will be

“Is this the way it was all meant to be? Is this what God had in mind when He created us?”

Photo provided by Art We There Yet
José Luis Vílchez and Cora Rose with their retired school bus-turned-art and recording studio.
‘It’s all about people’

Traveling artists depict Kenai Peninsula across mediums

Promotional Photo courtesy Pixar Animation/Walt Disney Studios
In Disney and Pixar’s “Inside Out 2,” Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith), Anger (voice of Lewis Black), Fear (voice of Tony Hale) and Disgust (voice of Liza Lapira) aren’t sure how to feel when Anxiety (voice of Maya Hawke) shows up unexpectedly. Directed by Kelsey Mann and produced by Mark Nielsen, “Inside Out 2” releases only in theaters Summer 2024.
On the Screen: ‘Inside Out 2’ a bold evolution of Pixar’s emotional storytelling

Set only a year after the events of the first film, “Inside Out 2” returns viewers to the inner workings of pre-teen Riley

Most Read