Reddit Reddit reviews Take Your Eye Off the Ball 2.0: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look

We found 35 Reddit comments about Take Your Eye Off the Ball 2.0: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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Take Your Eye Off the Ball 2.0: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look
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35 Reddit comments about Take Your Eye Off the Ball 2.0: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look:

u/luperci · 226 pointsr/CFB

There's a good book called Take Your Eye Off the Ball: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look. I read the first edition, but I link the latest one I could find. It's the book I recommend to people if they want to learn about the nuts and bolts of football. And it's been my experience, the more you know about the sport you're watching the better the overall experience is.

Edit: Thank you for the gold anonymous redditor

u/tusqer · 30 pointsr/nfl

This is what your looking for:

It's a book called "Take Your Eye off the Ball", and it will comnpletely change football for you forever (in a good way)!

u/Seanspeed · 26 pointsr/nfl

Comes with experience. It's probably the most complex team sport there is, with games being more chess matches than anything.

You can accelerate your learning by reading books like Take Your Eye off the Ball if you're really invested in learning more, but even something like getting into the Madden games can help a lot. Plenty of online resources as well for concepts and formations and whatnot.

While you'll learn plenty just by watching, without a bit of background on the fundamentals, a lot of stuff is gonna be lost on the average viewer.

u/Jurph · 24 pointsr/nfl

If I were hiring for this position and you had a strong resume, I would be nervous about your lack of domain knowledge -- but that's something that software engineers are expected to pick up! So I would go in with:

  • I know my role (SWEng) and I'm excited to learn more about the sport ... that's normal in software engineering, and you can expect me to be up to speed by the start of the season.

    Now, you can also cram. Read this Wikipedia article to learn the names of the positions and formations. Make flash cards! Study hard! Then dive into any of the following books:

  • Take Your Eye Off the Ball - how to watch the game to learn more than a casual fan does
  • The Art of Smart Football - big-picture strategic writing about how coaches and QBs plan for games

    A reasonable bar for a non-casual fan would be to be able to answer questions like:

  • (Casual / Bare minimum) Discuss the recent history of the team you're visiting, and the recent strengths and weaknesses of their division rivals.
  • (Casual / Bare minimum) Explain the three choices that a coach has on fourth down, and discuss recent (>2005) changes in attitudes toward that decision.
  • (Casual / Bare minimum) Explain why a "nickel" or "dime" defense is a reasonable choice against a "two-minute" offense.
  • (Casual / Bare minimum) There are five offensive linemen, usually divided into three position names. Name the positions and the differences between their skills. Explain why having a good offensive line is critical.
  • (Moderate) Describe the set of games that makes up a team's schedule. Can you, as a SWEng, quantify which games have the most impact on a team's playoff chances?
  • (Moderate) Outline rule changes over the last 15-20 years surrounding the concept of the "extra point" including the 2-point conversion.
  • (Moderate) If you analyze the play-by-play data, you might notice that when a QB has many negative-yardage plays it correlates with losing, but when a QB has exactly three negative yardage plays, it correlates strongly with winning. Why? How could you adjust your software to remove this weird bias in the data?
  • (Moderate) The Ravens have two victories in the last ten years that were both secured by deliberate late-game safeties -- that is, giving up two points to the other team. Explain how and why that strategy worked, and why it isn't viable anymore.
  • (Moderate) Explain how player salaries are determined. Explain what someone means when they say "he's on his rookie deal" or "we can't cut him because of the dead money" or "they tagged him". Explain, using examples from around the league, what makes someone a "franchise QB" and what the reasonable market value is for a better-than-average QB.
  • (Advanced) Read this three-part study and then discuss how you, as a SW engineer, can help me (the GM) select the best offensive line talent.
  • (Advanced) A few years ago, in a NE@IND night game, everyone assumed New England would spend the evening passing the ball. Why? They ended up running the ball instead, and winning. What unusual wrinkle did they add to their offense that made it effective?

    Also... if the team you're applying to is the Ravens, I'll be happy to help you get up to speed.
u/DTSportsNow · 22 pointsr/nfl

Everytime someone asks this I always recommend this book: "Take Your Eye Off The Ball" ~ Pat Kirwan

Explains a bit of everything you could ever want to know.

u/NobleHeavyIndustries · 22 pointsr/Patriots

Read Keep Your Eye off the Ball. Read The Essential Smart Football. Pay for NFL GamePass. Watch the Coach's Film (All-22). They've archives going back to 2011. It's especially helpful if you watch a game (or series of plays) you're already familiar with. Get pen and paper out and take notes. Watch what each player is doing, both before and after the snap, and be ready to rewind over and over and over and over.

There's a lot of good analysis on YouTube too, if you are a learn-by-watching type.

>Start here, on Brett Kollman's channel. He's a former NFL Network production assistant. Most of his videos are story heavy and analysis light, but that video is about how to watch film.
>Sam's Film Room, with Samuel Gold, a writer for the Athletic. Good for beginners. I think he started out at r/nfl.
>The QB School, with former Patriots QB, JT O'Sullivan. Focuses on quarterback play, both good and bad.
>Dan Orlovski's Twitter has a bunch of quick analysis videos, usually focusing on QB play.
>Peyton Manning's Detail is wonderful show, but is stuck behind a paywall at There are two short videos free on YouTube. Resourceful people can find it elsewhere as well.
>Strong Opinion Sports, with Division III NCAA QB Zac Shomler. He has a lot of football video podcasts, but also a QB film analysis playlist.
>Baldy Breakdowns, with former Cowboys OLineman and current NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger. No true focus, but has great insight into offensive line play.
>Gamepass Film Sessions. NFL Players and coaches analyze their own plays. The full version is on NFL Gamepass. I'm a particular fan of the one with Joe Thomas.
>Voch Lombardi. Focuses on talent evaluation and line play. Funny as fuck.
>The New England Patriots YouTube channel has Belichick Breakdown and Coffee with the Coach. Breakdown is the more analysis focused of the two.

If you're REALLY interested, the resources are out there. Good hunting.

u/ecle · 15 pointsr/CFB

Not exactly what you asked for, but I got Keep Your Eyes Off the Ball off Amazon for just a few bucks a couple years ago, and it really helped me a lot with this very thing. The spiral bound "playbook edition" comes with a three hour DVD as well. The spiral version isn't dinky/flimsy so don't be scared.

Before that book, I never knew where I was supposed to be looking and missed out on a lot. Problem solved.

Edit to Add: There is an updated/newer version now, but Amazon reviewers are unclear about whether it has a DVD, if that matters to you--I think the book is pretty clear on its own.

u/hookem101horns · 13 pointsr/nfl

If you're new to football then I couldn't recommend this book more. Once you get a basics for the rules and general flow of the game, this will take your knowledge of schemes and ability to see the on-field strategic battle in real-time to an entirely new level. Even longtime NFL fans should read it if they haven't as everyone can still learn more.

u/_edd · 12 pointsr/LonghornNation

Take Your Eye Off The Ball is pretty much the go to literature on this.

u/war7eagle · 11 pointsr/billsimmons

Keep your eye off the ball NFL edition is good

Take Your Eye Off the Ball 2.0: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look

Also the art of smart football

The Art of Smart Football

u/peregrinus14 · 11 pointsr/nfl

If you're a new fan (like me) then this one I would say is definitely worth it to get a better understanding of the nitty gritty that goes on during games.

Apart from that, I have seen numerous recommendations for Fan Notes (That I haven't read yet) as a good intro to football culture at large. This is currently on my reading list (About 3rd at the moment).

Here is a list of books by NFL's Chris Weaselling that you might find useful. I hope that is a useful enough introduction, and happy reading.

u/ajh6w · 7 pointsr/nfl

Pat Kirwan's Take your eye off the ball is amazing.

Worth every penny.

u/Lazerkatz · 5 pointsr/NFLNoobs

Read one of my favorite books, Take your eye off the ball

This book is amazing. It taught me almost everything when I read the first version. I was so into it I read it in one sitting.

This may be just what you're looking for

u/xStoicx · 5 pointsr/nfl

For the most basic and easy to understand introduction, I highly suggest the book Take Your Eye Off the Ball 2.0: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look by Pat Kirwan.

Youtube channels -

Samuel Gold

Brett Kollmann like /u/browntown6969 pointed out as well

Blog -

Smart Football (also his books) along with the other blogs linked to on that website

All of those are really great and helped me when I first starting learning about football on a deeper level.

u/skepticismissurvival · 5 pointsr/nfl

I would recommend, in order:

Take Your Eye Off the Ball by Pat Kirwan

The Essential Smart Football by Chris Brown

The Art of Smart Football by Chris Brown

Blood, Sweat, and Chalk by Tim Layden

u/CarlCaliente · 5 pointsr/nfl

Got a PM asking about books, might as well share what I've read/enjoyed:

Most people recommend Pat Kirwan's Take Your Eye Off the Ball. Some bits of it can be simplistic, but based off what you told me it should be a good read. It basically breaks down each position group chapter by chapter, and has some extra details about coaching, front offices, scouting, etc.

Next I'd put SI's Blood, Sweat, and Chalk. It's a great balance between storytelling and technical detail. It basically chronicles significant advances in tactics on offense and defense over the decades. For example, offensive chapters start with the single wing, then goes on to the wing T, wishbone/flexbone, Air Croyell, west coast offense, spread, etc. (and many more)

Lastly I'd recommend Chris B Browns two books (and his blog) - The Essential Smart Football and The Art of Smart Football. These are similar to Blood, Sweat, and Chalk but more detailed and less about story. Still great reads.

For web reading, I loved Matt Bowen's Football 101 series on Unfortunately he works for ESPN now, but he has two years worth of excellent beginner articles on He breaks down tons of big picture concepts which can really help fill in details.

u/biglineman · 3 pointsr/nfl

They've recently updated the book.

[Take Your Eye Off the Ball 2.0: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look] (

u/ScaryCookieMonster · 3 pointsr/CFB

Also Take Your Eye Off the Ball 2.0. It's NFL-centered, but has a bunch of stuff about O-line and D-line formations, reads, blocking, secondary coverage schemes, route design, etc. Really a lot of X's and O's stuff if you skip past the NFL-centric parts.

It's really changed how I watch a game... if I'm not drinking. If I am, I end up just watching the ball haha

u/NaugyNugget · 3 pointsr/AroundTheNFL

> "Take your eye off the ball" is a great book for learning about the game, positions, systems, the draft, training and everything else.

I've heard this said as well but haven't bought it ever -- amazon us link is here...

u/winemaster · 2 pointsr/nfl

This book really helped me.

EDIT: Here's the UK link

u/DarthFrog · 2 pointsr/nfl

This book by the late Dr. Z is one of the best football books I've read. I also like Take Your Eye Off the Ball.

u/who-hash · 2 pointsr/AskMenOver30

The speed of the game and athletic ability of the players goes up 10-fold.

NFL defenses are fast. D-linemen and edge rushers get to the QBs quickly. DBs cover the field better. Offensive schemes are usually more complex and most successful college QBs simply can't adapt.

Although I have a home team that I root for I love watching any good team play. Unless it's your thing I wouldn't get caught up in any of the drama which is what most mainstream media headlines will contain. It ruins it for me.

  • I found a couple of books that helped me: Take your Eye off the Ball and The Essential Smart Football
  • I'd highly recommend against going to r/NFL unless you want memes and sh1tposting. I can only handle it in small doses. There is an occasional good analysis but you've got to wade through a lot of garbage to find it.
u/bwsmg718 · 2 pointsr/NYGiants

Take Your Eye Off the Ball 2.0: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look

You can start there and once you're finished with it I can send you some more resources.

u/Payneinmyside · 1 pointr/CFB
u/71017 · 1 pointr/IWantToLearn

My apologies that is the link to the old version, here is the more updated one.


u/exodus1028 · 1 pointr/Patriots

I'd start buying this book

Guessing plays is only possible by a limited basis, cause thats what football is all about.
If you wanna guess you must

a) know formations
b) know tendencies teams use in regards to personnel on the field, down & distance and also vs the clock
c) know strengths & weaknesses of the opponent, also in conjunction with b)

football is all about matchups, who blocks whom and who can win his matchup against whom
where are weak areas of the defense, can the offense read them and can they attack them

so it all starts with personnel on the field and what formation it is
the linked book helped me tremendously understanding these basics and how to read them on the fly (as good as it gets)

u/joeslide · 1 pointr/CFB

By reading books like this...

u/Adventure_tom · 1 pointr/CFB
u/Fritzy41 · 1 pointr/television
This is a pretty good book, doesn't go over the head of people who don't know about football and still teaches those who do without seeming dumbed down.

u/SPLACAUS · 1 pointr/nfl

I'm making plenty of changes to how I'm living my life; some small, some larger. One thing is I've wanted to get back into reading; I'm slowly working through it, but I have so much I want to go through. Should I stick to one book at a time, or can I juggle back and forth between multiple?

For those who are curious, this is what I'm working on right now, and I'm about 1/5 of my way through the first read (because I know I'll come back to reference it all the time).

u/root88 · 0 pointsr/nfl

I guess you watched the game? Because nothing whatsoever gets explained in this video. If you really want to know why things happen, read Take Your Eye off the Ball.