Watching Football: Discovering the Game within the Game

Watching Football: Discovering the Game within the Game

Paperback(First Edition)

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Daryl Johnston's name and voice are known to millions of television viewers who hear his insightful commentary on NFL telecasts each week during the football season. But football fans first learned to love him years ago, when "Moose" was a crowd favorite on the Dallas Cowboys' Super Bowl championship teams of the 1990s.

A bruising fullback with an unyielding work ethic, Johnston enjoyed the respect of teammates and fans in Dallas almost from the moment he joined the club as a second-round draft pick out of Syracuse in 1989. He earned national recognition in 1993, when he became the first blocking fullback selected to represent the NFC in the annual Pro Bowl game.

Moose's blocking helped the Cowboys win three Super Bowls in four years from 1992 to 1995, and helped pave the way for Dallas running back Emmitt Smith to ascend to the top of the NFL's all-time rushing charts.

Johnston was a thinking man's football player—an athlete determined to get the most out of his abilities by outsmarting his opponent as well as outhitting him. And when he retired from football following the 1999 season, he brought that same competitive edge to his role as a television analyst, first for CBS in 2000, then for Fox Sports since 2001. In 2004, he was teamed with veteran Dick Stockton and former NFL defensive star Tony Siragusa on one of Fox's most popular announcing crews.

Daryl knows that spectators who just follow the football are missing much of the game. We can all see the quarterback hand the ball to the running back, and the linebacker make the tackle. But there are 22 guys in motion on every play. In Watching Football, Moose draws upon his playing experience and years of expert analysis on television to bring the entire field into focus. So the next time you tune in an NFL or college game on television, you'll know what's coming—almost before the players do!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780762739066
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 09/01/2005
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 1,234,798
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.69(d)

About the Author

After earning the respect and admiration of his teammates for his contributions to the Dallas offense, Daryl "Moose" Johnston received national recognition for his play in 1993, when he became the first blocking fullback selected to the NFC Pro Bowl team. As the lead blocker for the Cowboys, he helped pave the way for Emmitt Smith to win four NFL rushing titles, and he helped Dallas win three Super Bowls in the 1990s.

Johnston played 11 seasons in Dallas before a neck injury originally suffered in 1997 led to his retirement shortly before training camp in 2000. He immediately became a star analyst in the broadcast booth, first at CBS and, since 2001, for Fox.

Daryl earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Syracuse and is a leading advocate for literacy initiatives.

Jim Gigliotti lives with his wife and two children in southern California. He spent 11 years with the NFL's publishing division before becoming a freelance writer and editor in 2000. His recent writing credits include Baseball: A Celebration (with James Buckley, Jr.) and children's and young adult books on numerous subjects, including NASCAR, the NBA, Major League Baseball, and Sports in America.

Read an Excerpt

Onside Kicks

I like the onside kick they started doing a lot maybe five, six years ago and is popular now. The kicker hits real hard on top of the ball and tries to pop it up real high in the air. Then, in theory, one of his teammates has time to get under the ball, or at least to pop the guy on the opposing team who gets his hands on it. Once the ball is loose, anybody can come up with it. And when you're in a desperate situation late in the game, that's the best you can hope for.

Actually, on those onside kicks at the end of the game, the hardest ones to field are the ones that don't come up at all. You wait for it to bounce up, and you're like, 'Okay, it should take a Sunday hop here eventually.' If it doesn't, you're supposed to get out of the way and let the ball go out of bounds.

I was on the "hands" team in Dallas-the unit that goes out there when you know an onside kick is coming and you need to be sure to cover it. That's the worst of the special teams because sometimes you have eight, nine, 10 guys bearing down on you when you're trying to field a ball that can take some crazy bounces.

Of course, the best onside kicks are the surprise ones. If you see something in your film study that you can exploit, you can throw one of those out there early in a game. You know, you might ask, 'Do they have anybody who leaves early to get downfield and block? Well, yeah, they do-the tackle over there bails out pretty quick, so we've got a real good shot at it.'

In Dallas, we had Eddie Murray kick for us a couple of seasons. He was amazing. Before an onside-kick try, he did nothing that would indicate to the opponent what we were planning to do. It would look just like a normal kick to the end zone was coming. Then, at the last second, he'd just make an adjustment and do the onside kick.

Sometimes you'll see a kicker kick the ball straight ahead 10 yards. That's when a team sees the center on the return team bailing out and heading downfield to block too soon. I actually had one of those pulled against me when I was playing center. It's the first thing you guard against, though. You want the other team to see on film that you aren't going to leave too soon. And I wasn't a guy who ever left too soon. So I don't know why, but the Jets tried it in a game against Dallas one year. It's hard because you can't wait for the ball. If you're the guy who is playing center, you've got to go get it. And you've got four guys coming right for you. So even if you do cover the ball, you know you're going to get blown up. I had just that one in my career. It wasn't a lot of fun.

Table of Contents

Introduction The Game Within the Game

Football 101
Inside Football
The Basics
The Field

The Savvy Viewer
A Player in the Booth
A New Game
Talking the Talk
Officials and Penalties

The Play Call
The Quarterback
Running Backs
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
The Offensive Line

The Importance of Defense
Base Defenses
Run Defense
Pass Defense

Special Teams
A Unique Phase
The Kickoff
Field Goals and Extra Points

A Player's Life
A Player's Calendar

Every Coach Is Different
The Game Plan

The Mental Game
It's All in Your Head
Life after Football

Appendix Daryl Johnston's Career Statistics

Customer Reviews