Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks by Bruce Feldman - Book Review

From the publisher: With unparalleled access to Heisman Trophy-winning phenom Johnny Manziel, Bruce Feldman has written a modern-day tale about the making of the next superstars in football's most important position: the quarterback.

In the world of modern football, with NFL teams worth more than a billion dollars, no position defines a franchise like the quarterback. The QB is the story of a year in the making of those star players, and of the most significant year in QB development in sport’s history… with the meteoric rise of various quarterback gurus finally coming to light. George Whitfield, profiled in the New Yorker and called the “Quarterback Whisperer,” gets a regular spot on ESPN’s College GameDay, Trent Dilfer, former Super Bowl quarterback, starts his own qb business, Steve Clarkson, another qb maker, gets profiled on 60 minutes, among many others. It is also the year 5’10” Russell Wilson wins the Super Bowl and for the first time in over 60 years a sub-6-foot QB, Johnny Manziel, gets drafted in the first round, forcing NFL power brokers to re-examine how they look at the position—and the game.

Being a former player and coach, not to mention a fan, I was fascinated by The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks by Bruce Feldman.  This is not a book about how to play quarterback, nor is it really being a quarterback.  It is a revealing look at the process that is growing rapidly around training young men to be professional quarterbacks.

While Feldman pulls back the curtain on QB development, he focuses on a couple of key individuals: Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, current analyst, and the heart and soul of the Elite 11 QB competition/reality show; and Johnny Manziel, the polarizing Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback who was a first round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns.  While focusing on these two men, Feldman brings in a wide variety of people, including current and former Elite 11 high school campers, several "QB gurus", and a litany of NFL and college coaches and talent evaluators.

My favorite parts of this book are when Feldman discussed the variety of "QB gurus" and their differing approaches to refining and coaching quarterbacks.  These include George Whitfield, Jr., Steve Clarkson (who does not come off well, in my opinion), Tom House (who made a name as a pitching coach), and Jordan Palmer, among others.  Additionally, I really enjoyed the section about brain typing, an idea Jon Niednagel refined based on the Myers-Briggs personality scale.

My one complaint with the book is that Feldman constantly repeated information when he spoke about his subjects.  It made the book seem more like a collection of articles that was put together.  This is a picky complaint, but when you binge read this book, you keep getting hit with the same stuff.

Overall, I highly recommend The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks by Bruce Feldman.  If you have any interest in the quarterback position, you will be fascinated by Feldman's book.  While he doesn't try to present any one way of training as "the way", he does present to the reader an inside look at the varied ways young men are being trained, and the men who are trying to unlock the secret to finding the next great QB.

I received a review copy of this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

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