Monday, August 16, 2021

Review of "Offensive Conduct: My Life on the Line," by John “Hog” Hannah

 Review of

Offensive Conduct: My Life on the Line, by John “Hog” Hannah ISBN 9781600788604

Four out of five stars

An honest rendition of Hannah’s life

 John Hannah was a superb football player, making his name as an offensive lineman. There is no doubt that he was one of the best, “Sports Illustrated” ran an article stating that he was the best. While a good deal of what he experienced is similar to what others have reported, his experiences are unique.

 What is well known now in retrospect is how ruthlessly authoritarian college football coaches were. Hannah played for the University of Alabama under the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant. Bryant’s treatment of his players was often cruel in the physical and psychological sense. Words of praise were extremely rare; players were motivated by fear and intimidation. Such reporting was simply not done decades ago.

 Hannah describes his focus on football to the general exclusion of all other things as well as how the growth of his ego sometimes overwhelmed him. Again, this is a common trait among  athletes at the highest level. He also details his physical problems as the battering his body took on the gridiron had a cumulative effect. With the growing honesty about brain damage and other injuries in the NFL, Hannah’s experiences are also quite common.

 As sports autobiographies go, this one is better than most. It is honest, there is little in the way of self-promotion or excuses, and he explains but does not dwell on his poor treatment by Patriots management.

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