If you’re like me, you love books that tell the stories of the people who work in the game and how they do their work. Books like Illegal Procedure; War Room; The Draft; The Dark Side of the Game; The League; Pros and Cons; Razzano: Secrets of an NFL Scout; Meat Market; Al Davis: Behind the Raiders Shield and many others are all part of my personal library. I even wrote such a book myself.
There’s a new one to add. This one is written by former Giants scout Steve Verderosa, who was part of the construction of two Super Bowl winners; helped build teams for Bill Parcells; and who was in on the selection of Lawrence Taylor, Eli Manning and many others. Any time you do something for 30 years, you’re going to have a few good stories, and though I haven’t had a chance to read the galley copy Steve sent me, I’m positive his new book will be chock full of them.
The book is called So You Wanna Be An NFL Scout, and it’s Steve’s first book about his experiences crossing the country, looking for draft prospects. I asked Steve a few questions about his decision to write it, what it took, what to expect in the pages of the book, and more. Here are my questions and Steve’s answers:
- Lots of scouts say they’re going to write a book someday, but few do. What made you decide to write this? Is it something you always planned to do? “I never set out to write a book but I was encouraged by 2 published authors as I stated on the back cover I sent you. One was Sal Paolantonio of ESPN.”
- Did you write down stories and try to take notes along the way in preparation for this? “I didn’t take notes but some of the stories of my travels were so vivid they were easy to recall.”
- From the start of your career to your retirement, what’s the biggest change you saw in scouting? “For me, the biggest changes in scouting would be, first, the software. When I started, we carried around a 16 mm projector. Now the tape is high definition. Scouts carry around their iPads and the football facilities are posh and plentiful. Sometimes, we would have to watch film in a shower or locker room.
Free agency is another huge change. 1989 was the advent of free agency; it was Plan B (free agency). Now you have salary cap (and) free agency. Teams change sometimes more than 50 percent from year to year.”
- What’s the hardest part of scouting? “The hardest part of scouting, for me, was the time away from your family. My kids are all grown now 30, 28 and 25, but they were babies then. Growing up, you miss a lot. You can never get that back. That being said, my boys enjoyed training camps as kids, and they went to three Super Bowls.
- What did you enjoy least? “I probably liked the combine and the travel the least.”
- What is the most surprising thing an aspiring NFL scout will learn from this book? “I hope an aspiring young scout can learn to ‘trust his eyes,’ do the work and have a conviction. Also, you will be wrong and will miss on a player, because we all did. Stay humble. Listen and learn from people that have been there and done that.”
- What players appear in the pages of the book? “I talk about a lot of players but highlight (former Giants) LT (Lawrence Taylor), Tiki Barber, David Patten, Eli Manning, etc.”
- Obviously, this will be of tremendous interest to Giants fans. What appeal is there for fans of other teams? “The book is not just about the Giants. I did spend 32 years there, but my first year in the league was with Tampa Bay. I talk about scouting systems, drafts, coaches.”
Steve’s new book is available on Amazon in hardcover and paperback as well as Kindle. Order it here.