Saturday, September 2, 2017

Book Review: 'War Room' by Michael Holley


"Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you." -- Luke 6:38 (NKJV)

When Bill Belichick became head coach in Cleveland, the deck was stacked against him. I didn't fully realize how so until reading War Room. But from that disaster came something valuable and lasting: a better way to assess college talent in preparation for draft day and taking on undrafted free agents. In a small way, War Room is like Moneyball in providing insight into better ways of making player decisions. The book lacks, however, the sheer verve and enthusiasm for the subject that made Moneyball so appealing to so many.

The other big surprise is how well the book reveals the caring side of Bill Belichick in looking out for people. The connection to Thomas Dimitroff had always slightly puzzled me. Now, I get it! I thought I understood the Belichick-Pioli relationship, but the book expanded my appreciation for their work together.

I enjoyed the in-depth treatment in the book about how Dimitroff and Pioli have applied the same kinds of measurements and similar kinds of thinking in Atlanta and Kansas City. It provides a perspective on how wise Belichick is in applying what he has developed at the Patriots.

I think the book would have been even more appealing if it had also covered the reasons why those who leave the Patriots don't prosper as coaches. The contrast between how well the two general managers have done makes the point all that more pressing and intriguing.

The legend of coach Belichick will only grow after people read and understand War Room.



Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Donald Mitchell. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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