Read and React: Paul Brown

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To keep you in the spirit of the gridiron post-season, take a look at this book of the week about the man who revolutionized today's game of football.

In Paul Brown: The Man Who Invented Modern Football, author George Cantor tells the story of the legendary coach whose innovations changed the game forever. After masterminding Washington High School's (Massillon, Ohio) successful football program, Brown went on to win a National Championship with the Ohio State Buckeyes, four championships in the All-American Football Conference, and three in the NFL. He even had a team named after him—the Cleveland Browns.

Brown is responsible for many "firsts" in the modern game of football, including calling plays for his quarterback, scouting opponents through game films and systematizing the college draft. The inventor of the draw play, he also designed the first facemask for helmets, a passing offense that attacked specific areas of an opponent's defense and a defensive scheme that counteracts the offense he created (to name just a few).

Brown was the first coach to require his players to pass written exams on the team playbook. He also fostered team chemistry by keeping his players together in a hotel room the night before a game, which, of course, is now ritual among teams. Coach Brown earned the title of greatest teacher of the game.

STACK's Take: Everyone knows about Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh and Don Shula. But before these legends, there was Paul Brown, a man who's rarely mentioned in the category of all-time greats, mainly because he never won a Super Bowl. This book shines the spotlight on one of the game's true geniuses, a man who created a franchise that bears his name. For those who consider themselves football junkies, this book is a must-read and a great way to learn about the history and evolution of the game.


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