With the end of the NFL season just around the corner, we thought we’d pass along some book recommendations for anyone needing a football fix.
Here are some NFL and college football related books that are worth checking out (we’ll do Browns-specific books later in the week). Some may no longer be in print, but if you can find a copy it will be well worth your time:*
- Badasses: The Legend of Snake, Foo, Dr. Death and John Madden’s Oakland Raiders, by Peter Richmond. The Oakland Raiders of the 1970s were some of the most outrageous, beloved and violent football teams every to play the game. Peter Richmond tells the story of Oakland’s wrecking crew of castoffs, psychos, oddballs and geniuses who won six division titles and a Super Bowl championship under the brilliant leadership of coach John Madden and eccentric owner Al Davis.
- Johnny U: The Life & Times of John Unitas by Tom Callahan. Johnny U is the first authoritative biography of Unitas, based on hundreds of hours of interviews with teammates and opponents, coaches, family and friends. The depth of Tom Callahan’s research allows him to present something more than a biography, something approaching an oral history of a bygone sporting era.
- Saturday Rules: A Season with Trojans and Domers (and Gators and Buckeyes and Wolverines) by Austin Murphy. No two programs are more storied than Notre Dame and USC. With the inside scoop on these top-ranked teams, Murphy closely follows their arcs through the 2006 season, up to their late-November showdown in the L.A. Coliseum. Murphy puts you in the field, in the meeting room and in the huddle as both teams fight to keep alive their national title ambitions.
- Boys will be Boys: The Glory Days and Party Nights of the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty by Jeff Pearlman. In Boys will be Boys, award-winning writer Jeff Pearlman chronicles the outrageous antics and dazzling talent of a team fueled by ego, sex, drugs – and unrivaled greatness. Rising from the ashes of a 1-15 season in 1989 to capture three Super Bowl trophies in four years, the Dallas Cowboys were guided by a swashbuckling, skirt-chasing, power-hungry owner, Jerry Jones, and his two eccentric, hard-living coaches, Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer. Together the three built a juggernaut that America loved and loathed.
- Going Long: The Wild 10-year Saga of the Renegade American Football League in the Words of Those who Lived It by Jeff Miller. From its inauspicious beginnings through its improbable Super Bowl victories and its ultimate demise, the American Football League had a colorful and sometimes bizarre 10-year history. Going Long takes you back to that thrilling decade with the men who made the AFL – and who made it great.
- Take Your Eye off the Ball: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look by Pat Kirwan. This is not a beginner’s introduction to football, nor is it a technical manual for only the most studious of fans. Instead, it clearly and simply explains the intricacies and nuances that affect the outcomes of every NFL game. Take Your Eye Off the Ball explains the pros and cons of different personnel groups, tells you what to look for when projecting a college quarterback’s success in the NFL and gives fans a simple, easy-to-remember checklist to help them understand the action on the field. Baseball claims to be America’s national pastime, but football is its passion. Take Your Eye Off the Ball will make fans feel like they’ve got their own personal head coach by their side each and every Sunday, enhancing the fan experience by making football more accessible, colorful, and compelling than ever before.
- The Last Coach: A Life of Paul “Bear” Bryant by Allen Barra. The Last Coach traces Paul Bryant’s rise from a family of truck farmers to recognition as the most successful and influential coach in the game’s history. At the height of the Depression, football took Bryant to the Rose Bowl with Alabama’s 1934 national champions and on to a career as an assistant and, finally, a head football coach, where he matched wit and grit with the greatest coaches of two generations, men like Tennessee’s General Robert Neyland, Oklahoma’s Bud Wilkinson, Notre Dame’s Ara Parseghian, Ohio State’s Woody Hayes and Penn State’s Joe Paterno. Through it all, Bryant’s influence has not only endured but prevailed as his former players and assistants continue to define the best in not only college but professional football.
- Perfect Rivals: Notre Dame, Miami and the Battle for the Soul of College Football by Jeff Carroll. College football is a sport of rivalries – and no two teams were ever more perfectly matched than the Miami Hurricanes and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. In Perfect Rivals, award-winning sportswriter Jeff Carroll takes us inside the locker rooms and onto the gridiron, as two storied programs with very different cultures battle for national supremacy, school pride and the soul of the game itself.
If you do decide to check one of these out, you won’t be disappointed. And remember to shop at your local bookstore. If you don’t have one in your area and are in the Hudson area, it’s worth a stop at The Learned Owl.
If you missed it, our basketball book recommendations are here and our baseball books are here.
*Summaries are all taken from the individual book jackets.
Thanks to Scott at WFNY, who found this column by Clay Travis at Fanhouse.
After writing about how the Terrible Towel is Terribly Stupid, Travis posted a column with the response of Steeler fans.
We especially like the one hoople head who was considerate enough to leave their phone number in the death threat they sent to Travis.
Speaking of Terrible Towels, we’re pretty sure this constitutes child abuse.
Fox Sports Florida is the latest to pile on the Cavs.
If we had known Liverpool were going to turn into the Cleveland Indians …
Alex Mack thinks touchdowns, not field goals.