The Perfect Pass

  • by S. C. Gwynne
  • Narrated by Santino Fontana
  • 8 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling, award-winning historian S. C. Gwynne tells the incredible story of how Hal Mumme and Mike Leach - two unknown coaches who revolutionized American football in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s - changed the way the game is played at every level, from high school to the NFL.
Hal Mumme is one of a handful of authentic offensive geniuses in the history of American football. In 2015 ESPN Magazine, the nation's leading sports magazine, called him the single most influential football coach in the last quarter century.
Mumme spent 14 mostly losing seasons coaching football before inventing a potent passing offense strategy that would revolutionize the game. That transformation began at a tiny college called Iowa Wesleyan, where Mumme was head coach and Mike Leach his assistant. It was there that Mumme invented the purest and most extreme passing game in the 145-year history of football, where his quarterback once completed 61 of 86 passes (both national records). His teams played blazingly fast - faster than any team ever had before. They rarely punted on a fourth down and routinely beat teams with 10 or 20 times Iowa Wesleyan's students. Mumme did it all with average athletes and without even a playbook.
In The Perfect Pass, S. C. Gwynne explores Mumme's genius and the stunning performance of his teams as well as his leading role in changing football from a run-dominated sport to a pass-dominated sport. He also shares the history of a moment in American football when the game changed fundamentally and transformed itself into what tens of millions of Americans now watch on television every weekend. Whether you're a casual or ravenous football fan, this is a truly compelling story of American ingenuity and innovation and how a set of revolutionary ideas made their way into the mainstream of sports culture that we celebrate today.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Hal Mumme: A coaching biography

Although I enjoyed this book, and came to admire Coach Mumme, this book is not as much about the game of football as it is about about the history of the game and one man's struggle to improve the game. The listener hears about the conflicting goals of the coaches, the school athletic directors and administrators. The history of the rules regarding passing the ball is eye opening. Who knew that passing the football was such a terrible thing to do?

I was a very young kid watching Joe Namath in his white taped shoes sending the ball flying all over the field on television in the 1960s. Bear Bryant seemed ok with that, since nothing happened on his teams that "The Bear" was not ok with. So I am still a bit confused about the need to fight for the usefulness of passing a football" in the eighties. But I am just a saturday afternoon fan and its all fascinating.

Since we sent two children to Auburn we follow that team too and it seems Gus owes much of his strategy to Hal Mumme too. The writers speak about the SEC being smash mouth football. But from fifty years of watching SEC teams, I think they are just as happy to pass the ball if it will win a game. The people protecting the quarterback and the people trying to get to the quarterback seem just as dangerous to each other as when they were rushing the ball down the field. In the end as someone who watches those games high in stadiums and on television It is great to actually see the ball. When the ball is tucked into scrums of people moving around in a pile, the tension as to who has it is intense, but for fans its great to see it flying. This was the point that the writers made that i really understood. Anyway go Coach Mumme.

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- Richard

Great story

A very good story about the rise of passing football and Hal Mumme. I throughly enjoyed it.
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- Coach Mark

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-20-2016
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio