There’s a coolness in the air (some days, anyway) and the football season is finally upon us. To celebrate, we compiled a list of ten great books about football from all different aspects of the sport. Whether you like to watch high school, college, or professional football, we have great suggestions for all football fans.
Season of Saturdays: a history of college football in 14 games by Michael Weinreb—Part memoir, part reporting of some of the most influential games of college history, Weinreb examines the coaches and teams that made the games great. From the first college game in 1869 to the debate over amateur athletes, Weinreb tackles the controversy and the changes that formed the way we know the sport today.
Breaking the line: the season in Black college football that transformed the sport and changed the course of civil rights by Samuel G. Freedman—In 1967, during the Civil Rights Movement, the coaches from two black colleges, Louisiana’s Grambling College and Florida A&M, teamed up to bring integration to the sport at both the college and professional level. Together they redefined the game.
The Southern tailgating cookbook: a game-day guide for lovers of food, football, & the South by Taylor Mathis—Spice up your tailgate or game day at home with these great southern recipes. With over 100 recipes and tons of mouth-watering pictures, you’ll be sure to find a new simple or extravagant recipe to add to your playbook.
Gridiron gauntlet: the story of the men who integrated pro football, in their own words by Andy Piascik—In 1947, four black players joined the Cleveland Browns and the Los Angeles Rams to become the first African-American professional football players. These and eight other African American men tell their stories of discrimination and success in the world of professional football.
League of denial: the NFL, concussions, and the battle for truth by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru—In 2005, the National Football League concluded, “Professional football players do not sustain frequent repetitive blows to the brain on a regular basis.” Even the casual football fan can see that professional football can be a dangerous sport. This fast-paced story follows players from the field to the lab to uncover the health concerns and pressures professional football players face.
I beat the odds: from homelessness, to the blind side, and beyond by Michael Oher—You may have seen The Blind Side, but you can also read about Michael Oher’s transformation from homelessness to success on the football field in his own words. Oher separates fact from movie fiction in an attempt to inspire the many children who find themselves in a similar circumstance.
Friday night lights: a town, a team, and a dream by H.G. Bissinger—In the small, west Texas town of Odessa, things are falling apart. The Permian High School Panthers and their winning record bring hope and pride to their community. Bissinger examines the town, the team, and the coaches in a snapshot of pure Americana.
Bloody Sundays: inside the dazzling, rough-and-tumble world of the NFL by Mike Freeman—Dig deeper into the world of football with this great book. Freeman breaks down and studies the game into three main components—coaching, offense, and defense—and uses these sections to profile football’s most iconic players and coaches. He also delves into the “secret society” of gay players; as well as, the physical and mental problems players face.
Carry the rock: race, football, and the soul of an American city by Jay Jennings—In 1957, the Little Rock Nine became famous for their bravery as they integrated into a predominantly white school in the fight for education equality. On the fiftieth anniversary of this event, Jennings returned to his hometown of Little Rock to revisit the fight for integration and equality. What he found was the compelling story of the school’s unified and diverse football team.
Tales from Michigan Stadium by Jim Brandstatter—Relive some of the greatest moments in University of Michigan football history. From the first touchdown at Michigan Stadium to Lloyd Carr’s legendary coaching career, this book is full of stories from the Wolverine’s rich history.
The Deen bros. get fired up : grilling, tailgating, picnicking, and more by Jamie and Bobby Deen—Whether you’re grilling at home or at the stadium, here are some more great recipes for game day. With a variety of sides and entrees, there are a ton of easy recipes to choose from.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame 50th anniversary book: where greatness lives edited by Joe Horrigan and John Thorn—The Professional Football Hall of Fame opened on September 7, 1963. In commemoration of the hall of fame’s 50th anniversary, essays from famous football journalists, newscasters, and players were compiled to celebrate the sport’s rich history. This book contains sidebars, pictures, and artifacts to honor some of the greatest players in the sport.
Collision low crossers: a year inside the turbulent world of NFL football by Nicholas Dawidoff—Dawidoff spent a year behind the scenes with the New York Jets. Equal parts Moneyball, The Office, and Friday Night Lights, Dawidoff gets to the heart of the team and brings their season to life.
Fantasy football: 7 valuable lessons that will make you a better fantasy football player by Ken Kocon—Are you looking to improve your chances of winning your fantasy football league this year? This insightful book has tips and tricks to help improve your season.
Okay, just like the real Big Ten, maybe we got a little carried away. Either way, grab one of these great books to read while you wait for the next game to start.