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Extended Audio Sample A Few Seconds of Panic: A 5-Foot-8, 170-Pound, 43-Year-Old Sportswriter Plays in the NFL Audiobook, by Stefan Fatsis Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.25 out of 54.25 out of 54.25 out of 54.25 out of 54.25 out of 5 4.25 (24 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stefan Fatsis Narrator: Stefan Fatsis Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2008 ISBN: 9781400177677
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After more than a year spent working out with a strength coach and polishing his craft with a guru-like kicking coach, Stefan Fatsis molded his forty-ish body into one that could stand up—barely—to the rigors of NFL training. And over three months in 2006, he became a Denver Bronco. He trained with the team and lived with the players. He was given a locker and uniforms emblazoned with the number 9. He was expected to perform all the drills and regimens required of other kickers. He was unlike his teammates in some ways—most notably, his livelihood was not on the line as theirs was. But he became remarkably like them in many ways: he risked crippling injury just as they did, endured the hazing that befalls all rookies, daily gorged on 4,000 calories, and slogged through two-a-day practices in blistering heat. Not since George Plimpton’s stint as a Detroit Lion more than forty years ago has a writer tunneled so deeply into the NFL.

While Fatsis honed his mind and drove his body past exhaustion, he communed with every classic athletic type—the affable alpha male, the overpaid brat, the youthful phenom, the savvy veteran—and a welter of bracingly atypical players as well: a fullback who invokes Aristotle, a quarterback who embraces yoga, and a tight end who takes creative writing classes in the off-season. Fatsis also witnessed the hidden machinery of a top-flight football franchise, from the God-is-in-the-details strategizing of legendary coach Mike Shanahan to the icy calculation with which the front office makes or breaks careers. With wry candor and hard-won empathy, A Few Seconds of Panic unveils the mind of the modern pro athlete and the workings of a storied sports franchise as no book ever has before.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[A] remarkable account.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “An incredibly fascinating read…squashing the notion that the life of an NFL player is always glamorous.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chad Martin | 2/16/2014

    " Fun to get a behind the scenes picture of NFL training camp. Especially fun for those Broncos fans that remember all the names of the players from the glory days after the two Super Bowl wins. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sam Walter | 2/10/2014

    " This was a great look into the inner workings of an NFL training camp. It doesn't hurt that it's the Broncos training camp either. Fatsis basically learned how to kick field goals from scratch and talked his way into the Broncos locker room. Great read, good narrative and unique insights into the team. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Josh | 2/8/2014

    " a great look back on shanahan as the coach and the nfl in general "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jesse | 1/21/2014

    " This is a book I might considering giving a second try. I got a little bored with the author's journey to improving his kicking ability and never made it past about the 1/3rd mark of the book. As a Broncos fan, it was interesting to read about Mike Shannahan and his time with the team. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Craig Cottingham | 1/20/2014

    " #49 for 2008. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kateparis12 | 1/15/2014

    " absolutely loved this book. if you are a fan of professional football you will totally dig the inside look this book gives you. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 A. | 1/13/2014

    " Fantastic story about a sportswriter who spent three months with the Denver Broncos organization, as a kicker. Hilarious, true, and often heartbreakingly sad about the realities of professional football as a career. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Phil | 1/12/2014

    " Good honest account of a preseason with an NFL team "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff Raymond | 12/27/2013

    " Sportswriter decides to try and be a kicker for the Denver Broncos and spends training camp with them. Absolutely riveting from beginning to end, and possibly the closest any of us will get to seeing the inside of a modern NFL training camp. Very cool book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anthony | 11/14/2013

    " Great book! I really enjoyed that it gave great insight in the world of the NFL. This is a must read for any pro football fan! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Toby Driscoll | 3/13/2013

    " Nice player's-eye view of the modern NFL. Fatsis's overplayed self-regard notwithstanding, this book provides a rare antidote to the Pravda that is the official information machine. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Perry | 1/7/2013

    " Like Word Freak, excellent look at closed group that the author participates in. NFL is very tough. @PerryMissner "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gabe | 12/14/2012

    " I really enjoyed this. It's a good quick read, you wind up rooting for Fatsis (and the players he meets along the way) and it gives you a different perspective on NFL players in general. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melissa | 12/5/2011

    " The best sports book I have ever read. I highly recommend it to even the most casual football fan. Stefan Fatsis is a great storyteller. I cared about the NFL players and about the Broncos to a surprising degree. I am going to find other books by this author. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sally Mouzon | 10/10/2011

    " I really enjoyed this book; it made me look at football, particularly the kicking game, in an entirely new way. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachel | 9/1/2011

    " I could not put this book down! Stefan provides great perspective not only on the path to reaching an NFL training camp, but also insight on the culture and personalities of the NFL. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leslie | 7/31/2011

    " Stefan gives those of us that never had (or have) a chance to be a pro athlete a glimpse into what their world is really like. Of course, just like in Wordfreak, he tells us to the last detail. If you love football, read this one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff Jacot | 4/28/2011

    " Great, great book. I think I have a new appreciation for kickers, and I actually now like Todd Sauerbrun's attitude. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric | 3/3/2011

    " Entertaining and illuminating. Being a player in the NFL mostly sucks. Worth reading even if, like me, you don't give a crap about football. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Colby | 2/20/2011

    " fun book, quick read, insight into NFL, from the author of another fave book on competitive scrabble - wordfreak. bonus points for obscure reference to william and mary football too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff | 10/20/2010

    " Sportswriter decides to try and be a kicker for the Denver Broncos and spends training camp with them. Absolutely riveting from beginning to end, and possibly the closest any of us will get to seeing the inside of a modern NFL training camp. Very cool book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt | 8/18/2010

    " This book loses a little steam towards the end, but it's still super fun, especially for football fans. I feel I have a much greater understanding of what it's like to be a fringe NFL player. I'm sure this information will come in useful somewhere. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anthony | 6/21/2010

    " Great book! I really enjoyed that it gave great insight in the world of the NFL. This is a must read for any pro football fan! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin | 1/22/2010

    " A fun read for any football fan (though not particularly informative); a great read for any Broncos fan. "

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About the Author

Stefan Fatsis is the New York Times bestselling author of Word Freak. He is a sports reporter for the Wall Street Journal and a regular guest on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.