Freezing Cold Takes: NFL: Football Media’s Most Inaccurate Predictions—and the Fascinating Stories Behind Them by Fred Segal (2022)

Since 2015, @OldTakesExposed has chronicled very bad sporting predictions on twitter. It’s a fun account to follow and a reminder that the internet never forgets! This type of twitter page, focused on calling out those with a public profile for their errors, inevitably always flirts with the risk of being overly blunt, and possibly misleading, given the lack of nuance available in 140 characters.

Freezing Cold Takes: NFL allows the man behind the twitter feed, Fred Segal, to take a more in-depth look at some of the more notorious bad takes on the NFL. Segal takes a number of interesting moments in NFL history where the perceived wisdom, or some especially vocal pundits, were spectacularly wrong in their predictions of how a player, coach or team would work out.

The focus of the book is not on pointing and laughing at the foolish pundits but rather an interesting way of reflecting, through pretty extensive research, on what actually happened and why it may not have seemed obvious at the time. Its a different, entertaining way of exploring modern NFL history and also capturing the chance, perseverance and blind faith often involved in creating winning football teams.

There are fourteen Freezing Cold Takes in the book but I particularly liked the chapter on Bill Belichick’s hiring by the Patriots and the extraordinarily negative reaction from pundits. It’s hard to imagine a worse prediction in hindsight yet the logic at the time of doubting him is understandable. But for the stubborn determination of the Kraft family to hire him, the entire modern history of the NFL looks very different.

I’d highly recommend Freezing Cold Takes: NFL for any football fan.

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