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American Book Fest "Best Book" Finalist
ABOUT THE BOOK
Spies on the Sidelines: The High-Stakes World of NFL Espionage details the collection techniques that NFL teams utilize to gather information on their opponents in order to gain a game-day advantage, as well as the countermeasures used to defend against these. The book spans the entire history of the league and contains anecdotes from every NFL team. Topics include spying on practices, stealing paperwork and signals, debriefing personnel that switch teams, listening devices, headset tampering, elicitation, Spygate, Deflategate, and so much more!
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While the phrase “three-letter agency” is a euphemism for American spook organizations such as the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) and the NSA (National Security Agency), the NFL is a three-letter agency in its own right. Behind the game day action of the NFL is a world much like the cloak-and-dagger realm of American intelligence agencies. The NFL has its own history filled with espionage-related stories that sound like something right out of the Cold War: spies disguised as reporters, military officers, and priests and even a dwarf playing the role of a baby being pushed in a stroller; covert surveillance of targets’ movements; hiding draft prospects by shuffling them in and out of hotels in aliases; tapped telephones, signals interception, decoy signals, encryption, code breaking, and radio frequency jamming; false flag operations; monitor- ing air traffic and airline passengers; spies scaling rooftops and tele- phone poles and clandestine photography undertaken from high-rise hotels with long-lensed cameras; peepholes, secret listening devices, surveillance photos relayed by zip line and whispered conversations masked by running water; stolen documents and trash cans sifted for secrets; subversion of individuals mired in debt; and a hilltop secured by Navy SEALs.
These stories and more are contained herein and highlight the extraordinary measures NFL teams are willing to undertake to gain an advantage over their adversaries.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin Bryant is an Army veteran with over twenty years of experience safeguarding and gathering information for the Department of Defense, including thirteen years as a Special Agent during which he conducted national security investigations and instructed federal agents in training.
Kevin graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) with a B.A. in History, and graduated with top honors from American Military University with an M.A. in Intelligence Studies and an M.S. in Sports Management.
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BLURBS AND REVIEWS
“A great book! I learned during my career that great teams that cheat aren’t unbeatable, but they sure are more difficult to beat, especially in the postseason.”
—Cam Cameron, former Dolphins head coach and former Chargers and Ravens offensive coordinator
The first systematic and detailed examination of espionage tactics, techniques, and procedures continuously used by NFL teams to gain the game day competitive advantage against their opponents. Kevin Bryant provides the only comprehensive review of the extreme measures NFL teams’ owners, coaches, players, and managers take to collect information, steal play signals, and to disrupt opposing NFL teams, to “win at all costs.” This original work gives us insights into what our favorite NFL teams will do to win on game day, with all the dirty tricks, cheating, bribery, deception, lies, coercion, and betrayal that would rival the most thrilling James Bond movie. This thorough and lucid book is indispensable for NFL fans.
— David P. Garey, former Deputy Director of Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence for Headquarters, United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
In Spies on the Sidelines, Kevin Bryant takes a deep dive into the murky waters that pro football’s millions of fans never see—the effort by teams to gain an advantage by any means. SpyGate and DeflateGate are just the most notorious examples of the sign stealing, clandestine information gathering, and other nefariousness that goes on behind closed doors. Bryant’s guided tour is a total page-turner.
—John Eisenberg, author of The League: How Five Rivals Created the NFL and Launched a Sports Empire
A fascinating look at the dark underside of NFL football. This book is a reflection of the 'win at all costs' culture that has steam rolled America.
—Mike Boryla, Former Eagles Pro Bowl quarterback and now author of The Case of the Disappearing Quarterback
Kevin has drawn on his experience as a former Special Agent and his years of experience collecting and protecting information for the Department of Defense to research this fascinating look into the cutthroat world of NFL 'espionage'. Very detailed and vivid and one hell of a read.
— John Willis, retired intelligence officer
Kevin Bryant’s Spies on the Sidelines is the single most revealing book about espionage in professional sports.
—Brian Hooper, Former Associate Director for WMD Terrorism Threats, U.S. Department of State and President, Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) Atlanta
Sports story or true crime story? Kevin Bryant nails it. It’s both. Professional football is actually just a big business. Profits rise on wins and fall on losses. As in any business, spying for competitive advantage is—in the end—about stealing money. With incidences compiled and documented in a fascinating read, the true scope of espionage materializes. Football is definitely not ‘only a game.’
— Kevin D. Murray, corporate counterespionage specialist, technical surveillance countermeasures consultant for NFL teams
[Spies on the Sidelines] is a well-researched examination of the measures taken by professional sports organizations, in this case some teams in the NFL, to achieve success commercially and on the field. In doing so, Kevin Bryant has opened possibilities and interest of similar work relating to high-value sports, an under-researched area.
— M.Hanif Majothi, assistant professor of intelligence studies, University of North Georgia
Two of the qualities that are most noticeable in sports books are the depth of research carried out and the passion of the author for the subject. On both of these qualities Spies on the Sideline scores incredibly highly. Bryant’s passion for the subject shines through on every page. It results in a fascinating book that provides a unique angle on an aspect of professional football that typically goes undiscussed.
—Brendan Crowley, All Sports Book Reviews