Chances are you’re missing sports in your life during these tough times. While we can’t turn on the TV to enjoy live games right now, we can still consume sports in different ways. Books are a great alternative and provide a chance to learn more about the game we love, in this case, football. That’s why I decided to share with you some of the football books I’ve read and recommend them to you.
The list is limited to books that I’ve read, so if I skipped your favorite, chances are I haven’t read it. Make sure to share your recommendations in the comment section below!
Take Your Eye Off The Ball 2.0 by Pat Kirwan
Whether you’re a fan with basic knowledge of the game or you’re an expert, you’ll learn from Kirwan’s guide to watching football. The author takes an in-depth look at every single position in football as he explains the function of each and how they all fit together.
He discusses what he looks for in a quarterback, a 3-4 defensive end versus a 4-3 defensive end, he answers frequently asked questions and even takes a look at Jimmy Graham’s dispute with the New Orleans Saints when he wanted to be paid as a wide receiver.
It’s a very fun read and as the name itself suggests, you’ll take your eye off the ball the next time you’re watching a football game and you’ll enjoy it a little bit more.
Blood, Sweat and Chalk by Tim Layden
Following those words in the title, the book reads “The Ultimate Football Playbook: How the Great Coaches Built Today’s Game.” This is an excellent read for any football fan looking to learn about the history of the game. When I bought it, I did it with the hopes of learning a little bit more of X’s and O’s. While Blood, Sweat and Chalk, discusses certain offenses and defenses, its value lies in the stories of how desperate coaches and struggling teams found answers.
It’s immensely fun to read about the single wing and the wishbone and how coaches came up with it. Not to mention, looking for YouTube videos later to fully visualize how some of the formations work.
That seems to be the way football works. We often compare football to chess because of how offenses and defenses strategically adapt over the years. Layden does a great job of showing how that evolution takes place in this book.
Gridiron Genius by Michael Lombardi
In this book, Lombardi provides great insight into how NFL teams are built. As an experienced NFL executive, he shares stories of his time around three of the greatest coaches in the history of the league: Bill Walsh, Bill Belichick, and Al Davis. The book is a “Master Class in Winning Championships and Building Dynasties in the NFL” and while you may not be ready to manage a professional football team after reading it, you certainly learn a lot from it.
He shares his philosophy on each aspect of the game, from offense and defense to front office management and game planning during the season.
Lombardi isn’t afraid to share his thoughts, which has earned him some criticism on social media, but this book is truly worth the read. Bill Belichick’s foreword has a strong beginning: “A lot of people write books about football. But only a few of them have Mike Lombardi’s credentials.”
The Essential Smart Football by Chris Brown
This collection of essays by Chris Brown is pure gold for die-hard football fans. Brown takes a look at the X’s and O’s of some coaches and teams that have changed the way football is played. Brown shares the stories of these coaches as well, who are often in struggling teams that need something new and different to go back to winning.
Brown helps fans understand a lot of theories in football and complicated concepts in easy-to-read fashion that will have you thinking “just one more essay” before you go to bed.
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