BEHIND THE MASK
by Takeo Spikes
Foreword by Dick Lebeau
Only a linebacker with the skill and wisdom of Takeo Spikes could produce such a compelling book about the fierce position that he played impressively for 15 NFL seasons. BEHIND THE MASK is as intimate, compassionate and warm as it is insightful. In the process of exploring linebackers like never before, this brilliant work provides valuable life lessons about success, at work and at home.” – Jerry Brewer, Sports Columnist and Author of Pass Judgement: Inside the Seattle Seahawks' Super Bowl XLIX Season and the Play That Dashed a Dream
December 9, 2016—(Atlanta, GA) — Two-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All-Pro Takeo Spikes makes his book publishing debut with the release of his photography collection titled BEHIND THE MASK (T. Spikes Publishing; December 2016; ISBN: 978-0-692-75898-4; 144pp $34.99). BEHIND THE MASK combines personal narrative, iconic images and original photography captured by Spikes himself. The former player gets first-hand accounts from some of the National Football League’s most prominent defensemen spanning generations as they each discussed their personal drive, hurdled obstacles and secrets to greatness.
BEHIND THE MASK profiles linebackers because they are football’s fiercest gridiron warriors. This distinctive collection of both black-and-white and color portraits includes London Fletcher, Harry Carson, Ted Hendricks, Bobby Bell, Rickey Jackson, Willie Lanier, Kevin Greene, Mike Singletary, Derrick Brooks, Cornelius Bennett, Takeo Spikes and the late Chuck Bednarik.
Linebackers are to the defense what the quarterback is to the offense: the on-field coach, the team leader, the heartbeat. Good linebackers require the trifecta of strength, speed, and smarts. The linebacker position is the most physically demanding position on an NFL team. They take great risk and physical hits from other players in their pursuit of the quarterback and ball carrier. The average career of an NFL player is three years. A linebacker who plays more than three years is very rare. Those profiled in BEHIND THE MASK played for 10 to 15 years, making them notably some of the most impactful NFL players.
Spikes’ interest in photography began earlier on in Sandersville, Georgia. Upon receiving the local paper, he noticed that the photo accompanying the coverage of his football game often appeared blurred. In an effort to capture better images of him playing, he bought his mom a camera and one for himself. “As I learned more about shooting, I bought bigger, better cameras and practiced whenever I found time.” During his first 11 seasons in the NFL, Spikes, was the guy consistently snapping and sharing pictures with his teammates and friends. During my NFL career, I had an opportunity to play in London and shoot candid photos of my teammates off the field. Post trip, I decided to send them to the guys in the shots. Not only did they love the photos, but, they asked me to send more.
In the same fashion that Spikes showed his leadership on the football field, his latest venture shows him in a new role as a book author. I recognized at an early age I had leadership skills. I insist on excellence and I refuse to fall short of any goal without a fight. I believe there are two things we all have the ability to do: persuade and inspire. I believe in inspirational change comes from within. With BEHIND THE MASK, Spikes wants to fuel readers to achieve greatness. Be inspired to do their best in all areas of life, professional, family, personal, set goals, stick to them and commit to excellence.
Hall of Fame General Manager Bill Polian had this to say, “This is a unique, captivating and informative book which will enlighten and entertain readers whether or not they are football fans. I recommend it enthusiastically.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Takeo Spikes was a High School All-American for Washington County High School in Sandersville, Georgia and was the Independence Bowl MVP while at Auburn State University. He was drafted into the NFL by the Cincinnati Bengals, 13th overall in 1998. The two-time Pro Bowl selection and a two-time All-Pro completed his NFL career with the San Diego Chargers in 2012. Since hanging up his cleats, he has become an analyst for NFL and college, a radio host for Sirius XM NFL and pursued his love for photography, all while earning an Executive MBA from the University of Miami. BEHIND THE MASK is the first of a series.
BEHIND THE MASK
- Spikes Publishing
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