The Perfec Pass

S.C. Gwynne. Scribner, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5011-1619-3
Even into the 1980s, passing was an almost exotic element in all levels of football, while the safe and steady running game aligned with the sport’s macho ethos. Coach Hal Mumme had other ideas, as Gwynne (Empire of the Summer Moon) writes in this excellent sports history. Mumme was fascinated with the possibilities of constantly passing and embarked on a quest to build a perfect offense, borrowing concepts from coaches and tinkering with them to fit the dream plays he scribbled on scraps of paper. His laboratories were a variety of small, overlooked high schools and colleges in Texas, Iowa, and Georgia, where a variety of small, overlooked players became statistical superstars thanks to a system that preached simplicity and repetition in a world of dictionary-sized playbooks with endless wrinkles. This offense, nicknamed “Air Raid,” made its way to big-time college ball; now, the relentlessly airborne approach has found its way to the likes of Tom Brady. Gwynne serves up an intriguing parallel history to football’s pass-dominated renovation, with Mumme playing the role of overlooked (and overworked) forefather. The author also provides an inspiring reminder that great ideas don’t automatically permeate the existing ideology. Sometimes, a devoted few must pursue their principles with diligence, even if they don’t get the glory. Agent: Amy Hughes, Dunow, Carson & Lerner. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/11/2016
Release date: 09/20/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5082-1174-7
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-5082-1175-4
Hardcover - 978-1-5011-1621-6
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