When Steve Belichick died in November 2005, the New York Times headline cited him as “Coach Who Wrote the Book on Scouting,” and quoted Houston Texans General Manager Charley Casserly calling Football Scouting Methods “the best book on scouting he had ever read.” Joe Bellino, Navy’s Heisman Trophy winner in 1960, told the Times that Steve Belichick “was a genius. On Monday nights, he would give us his scouting reports, and even though we were playing powerhouses, I always felt we were prepared because he found a way for us to win.”
“Effective football scouting is but one ingredient of successful football, but poor scouting can be primarily responsible for football defeats,” the author notes in the book.
The book covers how to scout opponents, recognize defenses, analyze offenses, discover “tip-offs” that reveal the opponent’s plays, compose a useful report, self-scout, and conduct postgame analysis.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Halberstam remembered Steve Belichick in the Washington Post as a scout who excelled “first in the period before there was very much use of film and tape, and scouts had to do most of their work with nothing save their own eyes from the press box,” and then who was equally skilled in breaking down game film in later years, “where he still remained the master, someone who would run the tape back and forth countless times looking for one more clue about what an opponent was going to do.”
Bill Walsh, San Francisco 49ers coach, told Halberstam, “Steve had superior intelligence and intellect, and he not only saw the game as very few scouts did, but as he was seeing it, he understood as very few scouts did.”
“Steve Belichick taught many younger men how to scout and how to watch film and how to prepare their teams for the next week’s game,” David Halberstam noted, and his best student was his own son Bill, “one of whose greatest skills as a coach to this day remains his ability to analyze other teams, figuring out both their strengths and their vulnerabilities, and shrewdly deciding how to take away from them that which they most want to do.”
Bill Belichick is the only NFL coach to win three Super Bowls in a four year span, and is one of only four coaches in NFL history whose father played in the NFL; Steve Belichick played fullback for the Detroit Lions in 1941. Bill Belichick has been ranked as the number one NFL coach in 2008 by SportsIllustrated.com, Forbes, the Chicago Sun-Times, and NBC Sports.
In recent years Football Scouting Methods has been one of the top ten most sought out-of-print books; used copies have been quite scarce. This scarcity is explained by Halberstam in his book The Education of a Coach: “The book was not a bestseller—the author himself estimated that it sold at most four hundred copies,” despite “featuring jacket quotes from, among others, the legendary Paul Brown: ‘Scouting is essential to successful football coaching.’” This reissue edition makes the original 1962 text available once again in exact facsimile.
When CBS asked Bill Belichick to name his favorite book, he replied “Well, I’ve got to go with my dad’s. Football Scouting Methods. I’d have to go with that.”
Pages: 190 (184 pages main text + vi roman-numbered pages frontmatter)
Size: 6.7″ x 9.6″
Publication Date: September 10, 2008
Binding: Perfect-bound softcover