NFL Confidential by Johnny Anonymous intrigued me from the beginning. Not only was it touted as an anonymous tell-all book from the “gutters of football,” but it was quickly rumored to have been written by one David Molk. Michigan fans know Molk as a former Wolverines lineman who won the Rimington Trophy for the nation’s best center in 2011. Despite writing it anonymously, several people dug into some of the facts and determined a lot of the storylines matched the Philadelphia Eagles and their backup center.
I have to say that my enthusiasm for reading the book faded rather quickly. Johnny Anonymous comes off as a self-righteous, hypocritical meathead. He rails against the establishment repeatedly for treating players like dirt. He says he hates football. He insults other players’ behavior. And yet he buys into all of those things in one way or another. The stereotypes that he claims to hate actually describe him well in many ways. I won’t get into the specifics in case you want to read the book yourself. Is he the worst guy on the team? No. But maybe that’s not saying much.
There’s not a ton of juicy stuff here because the author keeps things anonymous, so he uses pseudonyms for all of his coaches, teammates, and family members. He also doesn’t talk much about X’s and O’s; though I didn’t expect that, it would have been a plus.
My biggest issue with the book is the overall sense of dislike for everything and everyone around him. He truly seems not to appreciate any of the people around him, except his mother (who died when he was young) and perhaps his father. Girlfriends, teammates, coaches, etc. all come in for embarrassment and insults. He seems like an unhappy person, which is understandable when your mother dies at a very young age. And while he’s not specifically asking readers to think how he thinks, that is sort of an underlying hope for any author: Maybe these people will agree with me. This theme is encapsulated toward the end of the book when a bunch of his teammates are griping, and he jumps in with a poorly conceived joke – but one that represents his attitude:
You know what I hate? Happy people.
What have you been reading lately?