The Best Books about American Football
Any true fan of the game will tell you that there is more than just physical strength involved when battling your opponent on the gridiron. Multiple aspects and factors need to be taken in consideration in order for each team to score optimal results, and each member of the audience to appreciate the moves made to achieve this goal.
As you can see, the topic is football and further down you will learn about all the different publications of authors that offer their reasoning on the matter.
Some of the books deal with the social, economic and cultural backgrounds that influenced the rise of the NFL or any particular player.
Others, however, focus their readers’ attention on their actual game performance, the moves and strategies which result in wins or losses season after season. Many additional aspects of the game also find their place between the lines of such works of literature, which is why some of them have reached the status of indispensible guides and textbooks into the world of pro football.
Go through the list of books comprised here in order to get started on your ‘formal NFL education’. Sooner rather than later, you will come across a real treat – an expert rendition on the football arts by a true craftsman of the written word.
by Ron Jaworski, Greg Cosell and David Plaut
Also known as ‘Jaws’, the main author of this book is one of the most recognizable icons in the world of the NFL. He used to be acting football commentator and host of the TV show NFL Matchup.
Along with the nephew of announcer Howard Cosell and the analytical mind of Plaut, these three co-authors make up one of the prime sources when it comes to football strategy and tactics.
Some critics openly opposed the publication of this book, claiming that its analytical thematics will not serve any purpose over the course of some time.
Nonetheless, its popularity today is proof enough that this work is relevant as much as it was decades ago, and will be of use for decades to come.
by George Plimpton
This work of literature authored by famous writer George Plimpton is a worthy addition to anyone’s reading list, and even more valuable in the hands of a football fan. Dealing with the obvious matter of the Lions, this book sets the story in Detroit, among the leading players in the team’s 1963 training camp.
George Plimpton uses his skills of craftsmanship throughout the pages of this publication in an attempt to approach the everyday life and struggles of the top performers in the NFL.
He introduces the difficulties of getting accepted in such environments in order to provide a character that the readers can identify with.
Paper Lion enables you to learn first-hand about the insides of locker rooms and the personal secrets of football legends, so you could consider it a fine, light read.
by Bill Walsh
Bill Walsh’s work consisting of about 550 pages is the complete guide for anyone related to football in any remotely way. When asked about the general goal that is supposed to be achieved through his book, Walsh described it as a ‘thesis’.
Whether or not you agree with his description, Walsh was definitely right not to classify this as a sports book.
Finding the Winning Edge depicted multiple aspects that refer to many different profiles of people involved in football. From high school to professional coaches, coordinators, team owners to the players themselves, everyone can learn something and benefit somehow by reading his words.
Even the great Bill Belichick, coach for the Patriots, still praises this book today, depicting it as a Bible to every person interested in football in any way.
If that is not an across-the-board approach to football literature, there is no saying what is.
by David Marannis
The title of this book is bound to appeal to any average reader, but even more to the football fan once they learn that it is an account of one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, Mr. Vince Lombardi.
As you will discover, the name behind the legendary trophy stands for a single person with an excellent track record, unique coaching skills and above all talent.
Just to give you a hint, Lombardi’s personal profile illustrated on the pages collides with the general perception of a historical coach.
His lack of charisma and withdrawn character portray him as an enigma, but it is his ability to resurrect an entire football team and turn them into champions which seemed to be his strongest feature.
Ultimately, Marannis’ book touches upon the belief that there is lack of balance in football due to the game’s overwhelming inclination towards quarterbacks, leaving the reader with a lot more than they bargained for.
by Steve Belichick
The recognizable surname belongs to two legendary figures in the world of professional football. One is the author of the book mentioned above and affirmed expert in the area of scouting and recruiting team players. The other is arguably one of the greatest football coaches that ever lived and worked in the NFL.
Football Scouting Methods may seem a bit limiting, due to the title that seems to focus most of the book on dry explanations of various modes of scouting. However, it provides much greater insight into the football of a different era, back in the 50s and 60s, when nothing was really for certain and guaranteed. Readers will also gain personal access into the workings of the mind that helped shape Bill Belichick. Steve, as both a father in his personal life and an authoritative figure in the professional sphere, goes through the book expressing his most valuable opinions which are today evident in his son’s actions.
If not for any of these reasons, then you might simply be inclined to read the book if you knew that every football scout swears upon it and treats it with utmost reverence.
by Paul “Dr. Z.” Zimmerman
Novice football fans often make the mistake of underestimating the power of this book and discarding it as a piece of literature from a different time.
Although you might feel like it is a bit out of space, this guide is a back-to-back encyclopaedia of the world of professional football.
If you choose to dedicate your time to this work, remember that there is no one piece of literature you should trust blindly.
However, in the case of Dr. Z’s book, the basics and the overall explanations are as close as it gets to the real deal.
by David Harris
This is a book whose title stays true to its contents – David Harris virtually illustrated the workings of the NFL’s inside mechanics. What is more, his storytelling starts in the early days of turmoil, fights and disagreements up until the world power that is the National Football League.
People interested in autobiographical data should also find The League to be an appealing read.
Namely, Harris provides an accurate portrait of all major personae that were in any way involved in the moulding of the NFL as we know it today.
Starting from simple feuds to criminal activities, David Harris is sure to take you on an exciting passage through time, if you are willing to spare a few hours.
by Michael Lewis
The previous publications seem to cover all major aspects of the NFL – strategy, recruiting, personal interrelations and even basic football education. What is left is to define the social and macro-cultural impact that this phenomenon has had over the multitude of people who follow it daily.
The book The Blind Side follows two separate storylines which at the same time prove Lewis’ literary genius and illustrate the team as one organism and the players as separate components of it.
On the one side, there is the storyline of Michael Oher and the many ups and downs that obstructed his path to the NFL.
At the same time, the book also deals with the process of defining the final look and functioning capacities of the football teams, specifically the evolution of their offensive line.
This is a fine recommendation for any reader that enjoys a moving story every now and then, but it is an even better choice for football fans. All you have to do is be open-minded and willing to think outside the box, beyond the small picture, and truly perceive an entire nation governed by a pigskin object.