Book Review: The Point After

The Point After: How One Resilient Kicker Learned there was More to Life than the NFL by Sean Conley

The Point After is the autobiographical story of Sean Conley, a kicker trying to make his way into the NFL. The story is interesting and the writing fast paced and personal.

A brief summary is of the book is Sean Conley dreamed of playing football in the NFL. He had the talent to kick so he tried to chart his life towards that goal. Along the way he faced some major hurdles, one of which was his high school didn’t have a football team or the pain of draft day when your name doesn’t get called. These were just some of the challenges that faced Conley as he did all in his power to make his dreams a reality.

Conley’s story is so interesting because it doesn’t sound like the classic NFL story. But the more one is in the sports world, the more familiar this story becomes. Several NFL players, like Ziggy Ansah, didn’t play football in high school. Conley is not alone at missing the classic Friday night lights. Conley’s story also takes us through the Division III ranks and what football looks like in these smaller programs. This is something a handful of players in the NFL can also claim as their own story.

The most fascinating part of this story was his insights into the position he played. As a kicker the amount of NFL rosters space is infinitesimal. Unlike quarterbacks or most other positions there is no depth chart for kickers. There are 32 NFL teams and 32 NFL kickers. Kickers don’t have backups. So of the quality collegiate kickers in the United States their chances of playing in the NFL are far smaller than their teammates. Conley’s story takes you through the euphoria of the position and the pain and unfairness of kickers as well.

Having read it, one more fully appreciates the skill, work and risk taken each time a kickers runs onto the field. Most savvy football fans count extra points as given and short field goals as their right. But after reading this work by a kicker, each one of these special teams plays has more tension and drama.

Hard Knocks has opened the eyes of most fans to the cutthroat atmosphere that is the NFL. The Point After brings that tension even higher as Conley is competing for so few spots in the whole NFL. It vividly describes what athletes and their families go through pursuing their dreams. The great addition this book adds to the literature and storytelling is the voice of the millions that try to make it to the NFL and never suit up in a regular season game. The difference between the players fans see on tv and those that go on to live regular lives like those fans is so slim. Conley expertly and personally tells the story of those that come just short and what it costs them in the process.

I would recommend this book to any sports fan. Conley tells stories of his relationship with well known names of the NFL like Bill Cower, Jim Harbaugh and Barry Sanders. These stories are fun additions in a story that is mainly about the anonymous of the NFL. This work is a great addition to any football fans library who wants to understand the NFL more comprehensively. It would be a good gift to any young football players hoping to make the NFL. It gives a living testament to what can be sacrificed in the pursuit of a goal and a reminder of the things that are most important in life have very little to do with football, or sports.

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