I just finished reading S.C. Gwynne’s; The Perfect Pass; An American Genius and the Reinvention of Football. The Perfect Pass is a brief history of football’s passing game and the development of the Air Raid Offense by it’s iconoclast alchemist Coach Hal Mumme. ESPN called Mumme one of the most influential football coaches in the last quarter century. Coach Mumme wanted to create a passing first offense and buck the system of run heavy offensive systems prevalent in football prior to the 1980’s.
Many people might be more familiar with Mike Leach. Texas Tech’s ex Head Coach Mike Leach coined the term Air Raid Offense while an assistant to Coach Mumme at Valdosta State College in 1992 and helped Coach Mumme revolutionize the modern passing game of football. Coach Mumme was the actual inventor of the Air Raid Offense and taught the concepts to Coach Leach. Over their years coaching together at Iowa Wesleyan, Valdosta and Kentucky they developed and honed Mumme’s progressive wild far-out passing concepts and ideas into the Air Raid Offense of today.
The book is a great history of the modern passing game. The book reviews the early football era and the passing rule changes helped along by President Teddy Roosevelt. The book introduces The Spread Offense, The Run and Shoot, West Coast Offense, No Huddle and Two Minute Offense and the teams and coaches that made them great. Some of the names you will remember like; Pop Warner, Knute Rockne, General Eisenhower, Dutch Meyer, Sammy Baugh, Norm Van Brocklin, Otto Graham, Sid Gillman, Ken Stabler, Jerry Rice, Roger Staubach, LaVelle Edwards, Jim McMahon, John Elway, Joe Monata, Bill Walsh, Don Coryell, Dan Fouts, Mouse Davis, Tiger, Ellison, Jack Neumier, Warren Moon, and Dennis, Erickson. I had heard all these names and seen them play but to understand how they all intertwined to influence the modern passing game was very interesting.
The book is also a very good biography in the life of a football coach and the trials and tribulations that they must go through to become a NCAA coach. It was very eye opening to learn about the salaries, time, recruiting, etc that it takes to be a high school or college coach. This book should be read by anyone that is thinking about becoming a professional football coach.
The book also has some interesting technical passing concepts explained in the book. A few of Coach Mumme’s favorite plays are reviewed and discussed in detailed about the development, tweaks and game results which influences how the final version of the plays come about. The book also discusses drills and how he runs his practices.
And finally in my opinion The Perfect Pass is an adventure story, much like Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer trying to find the pirate treasure. Coach Hal Mumme with the help of Mike Leach set out to find the Perfect Pass. They found it in the Air Raid.
“Now and then we had hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.” Mark Twain.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I highly recommend it and hope you enjoy it as much as I did. If you read it please leave me a comment below. I would love to hear your opinion of the book.
Remember to play for fun and winning is funner,