An inside perspective on professional football from an anonymous NFL rank and filer.
“Johnny Anonymous” is the pen name of a current offensive lineman in the National Football League, which he hates. He hates the pseudo-militarist mindset, the overinflated sense of self-importance of almost everyone in the NFL, and the hypocrisy of the league’s personal conduct policies. He hates the injuries and the damage the sport does to almost all who play it. He likes the money but recognizes how absurd it is that he earns what he does—never mind the obscene amounts earned by star players. In this book, the author provides a look at a year in the life of a player in the country’s most popular sport. His anonymity, which he tries to preserve by changing names and chronology, will likely draw a great deal of attention, and one suspects that savvy journalists and serious fans may be able to figure out who he is or at least draw the noose tighter. It frees him up to speak bluntly about the league without castigating specific individuals, but the anonymity may cut both ways: it makes verifying any of his assertions difficult, and it certainly diminishes the author’s accountability. Nonetheless, most observers of the NFL and its occasional descents into folly will find that his account rings true. He writes in a chatty, oftentimes profane conversational style, and he comes across as something of a likable jerk. He states that his goal was to become the “Best NFL Backup Ever,” but his plan almost failed when he had to step in as a starting center—a position he, normally a guard, has never played—for several games during the middle of the season. Nonetheless, before long, he was back to the second string.
This readable book provides insight into the life of an NFL nonstar, though the author’s anonymity proves to be a dual-edged sword.