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Total Access: A Journey to the Center of the…

Total Access: A Journey to the Center of the NFL Universe

by Rich Eisen

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I grew up in a family that worshiped football. Every Sunday, Monday & Thursday. Every holiday, every family gathering that I can remember has a TV with a game on, even if it was just an old game being replayed. Because, yes, my family had games on tapes. My grandmother kept team schedules, rankings, game times and scores posted to a wall in the hallway [it took up most of the hall] and everyone in the family had their own team.

Now, that being said, I still managed to know absolutely nothing about football. I wouldn't have even be able to tell you who was playing offense and who defense.

Then I started dating a boy, whose life also revolved around football. Draft included. He gave me this book as my initiation into the NFL during our first football season together.

I read it, all the way. Rich Eisen is a fabulous writer, hilarious and sufficiently explanatory. I wasn't ever confused or bored or smothered by technical terms. When I was done with the book, I felt I actually had a legitimately better understanding of the game, the rules and the culture.

Love it. ( )
  tealightful | Sep 24, 2013 |
NFL Network host takes reader through what a year of covering various NFL events is like, starting with the Super Bowl and culminating in "the eight game package" (eight regular season games shown on NFL network at season's end). I enjoyed this one a lot, thanks to Eisen's oftentimes witty and interesting style. Ironically, I was finishing reading the book right about the time I was also losing my "access" to NFL Network thanks to the situation between them and Comcast Cable. (Finished reading 5/2/09) ( )
  YoungTrek | May 3, 2009 |
Rich Eisen is the host of NFL Total Access and as such has a privileged insight behind the scenes of the NFL. The book is named after the show and to start off with the main downer - it is quite clearly a long advert for the US audience to purchase the TV channel. This point is reinforced throughout by Eisen's continued references to the involvement of his show and it can be a little grating.

I thought the continued selling would irritate but Eisen is one of the most engaging writers I have ever read in any genre. The quality of the writing itself is exceptional and the anecdotes that cover most of the 300+ pages are fun, entertaining, and are the real insight here. The world that Eisen delves into is the one that the fan will never see - the characters behind the masks. Total Access crew members such as Marshall Faulk and Deion Sanders get the most coverage but tales such as the Pro Bowl room key game are something that just can't be seen from the other side of a TV screen.

Probably the most entertaining anecdote comes with the apparently humourless and robotic Peyton Manning ribbing Eisen on his own TV show. I'll still never be a Peyton fan but it was a real joy to have a fun side be shown.

For the casual fan of the NFL, the book does give a step by step outline of the key events in the calendar including training camps, pre-season, the regular season, post season, Hall of Fame, Owners Meeting, Combine, and Draft. None of these are shown in acute detail and Eisen is not aiming to bring new analysis to the fanbase but what he does achieve repeatedly is bringing light and fun to each area.

There is a downpoint in the book and it is Chapter 6. Chapter 6 is just a set of different "interesting" anecdotes but without showing anything of character. The section in the chapter that posts various emails Eisen received was so dull that I just skipped 10 pages.

While I'm on about negatives, the foreward by Steve Sabol is the worst I have ever read and is indulgent luvvie nonsense that has no place in such a quality book.

If you like the NFL at all, get this book. Laugh out loud at Eisen's attempts to run the 40 in front of the watching head coach crowd, or at the pranks they all seem to be pulling on each other constantly. Most of all just enjoy the fun surrounding what is the greatest game sports has to offer. ( )
  Malarchy | Mar 12, 2009 |
Really loved this book. It was a great look inside the NFL -- especially while enjoying Pro Bowl weekend in Hawaii. Nice to see the antics that the players, coaches and staff get into -- and how they experience our sport. ( )
  skinglist | Feb 10, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312369786, Hardcover)

Rich Eisen always wanted to write a book, not only because he has a lot of fun, interesting stories he’s been dying to share with everyone, but also because he’s interviewed hundreds of athletes--many of whom like to refer to themselves in the third person. In his eleven years as a national television sportscaster, Rich Eisen has been envious of those athletes because Rich Eisen has never been able to do that on his job, so the host of NFL Network decided to write a book and use it as an admittedly feeble excuse to go third-person on everybody. Not throughout the whole book, of course. That may get quite exhausting for the reader. But for an entire book jacket? Well, Rich Eisen was all over that.

That’s the why behind this book. As for the how, Rich Eisen just took it one sentence at a time and hoped for the best. You know, start with a few words and turn those words into sentences which turned into paragraphs and chapters and, eventually, into this book. Rich Eisen didn’t worry about the big picture and just kept focusing on the things that he could control--the keyboard, the ON/OFF button on his computer, his dictionary, his thesaurus, and last--but certainly not least--the spell-check on his word processing program. One day, when it’s all over, only then will Rich Eisen look back on his career and try to put it all in perspective, but right now Rich Eisen absolutely knows he would not be where he is today without his spell-check.

By now you must be wondering: What’s this book about? It’s about a journey. It’s about eating, living, and breathing the most popular sport in the history of America. The passion. The pageantry. The pigskin. Thanks to his role as host of the NFL Network’s signature program, NFL Total Access, Rich Eisen gets to go to virtually every event on the NFL Calendar---the Super Bowl, the Pro Bowl, the Scouting Combine, the NFL Draft, and the Hall of Fame Induction Weekend. You name it, Rich Eisen is there. And thanks to this book, you can go along for the ride with him--in front of the camera interviewing league MVPs and former presidents of the United States or behind the scenes with some of the game’s all-time greats like Deion Sanders, Ray Lewis, and Brett Favre, just to name a few. I mean, Rich Eisen doesn’t want to name-drop. In all seriousness, Rich Eisen doesn’t have an ego problem.

At any rate, if you love the NFL (and who doesn’t), then this book is for you. If you’re curious what it would be like to live the sport year-round, this book is for you. You see, it’s not all about Rich Eisen. It’s about you reading this book and enjoying it to its fullest. At least Rich Eisen hopes you will.

Advance Praise for Total Access:

“I've always admired Rich Eisen’s work, so it's no surprise to me that his book is very entertaining.  What is a surprise is that he's somehow found time to write it in between the NFL Network’s 6,347 hours of coverage of weak-side linebackers who could be draft-sleepers.  That sort of programming and this book about it are both genuine public services.” ---Bob Costas

“A lot of things in our lives are far less than as advertised, but this book advertises Total Access and gives you Total Access. That’s right. Total Access! I’m not kidding. I liked this book and I’m not a reader.” ---Tony Kornheiser, columnist for The Washington Post and co-host for ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption

“Rich uses his great sense of humor to detail the life of an on-air NFL personality. It is a world I know well, but still I couldn't stop turning the pages. It is a great read---a must for anyone who loves television and Pro Football.” ---Joe Buck, Fox Sports

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:15 -0400)

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Provides football fans with insider information on every aspect of the National Football League, from off-season events and lesser-known player trivia to the rookie draft and the Super Bowl.

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