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Posted on Feb 3, 2017 in Top Picks, What We're Reading Now

5 Football Books to Prep for the Big Game

The 2017 NFL postseason is almost over. We’re two days away from the biggest professional sporting event in America. We’ll give massive rings to the best team of 2017, and Americans will gorge in excess for a few hours.

With the game just days away, the Books-A-Million office has been buzzing. But it’s also got us thinking about some of the best coaches, players, and stories of the game. So, with that in mind, we sat down to figure out which football books fans need to (and often haven’t) read.

Today, we’ve created the required reading list for football fans across the states.

The Perfect Pass: American Genius and the Reinvention of Football by S.C. Gwynne

 

 
Football, like many of the great American sports, is relatively young. But it’s already gone through multiple transformations. Hal Mumme is responsible for one of the most pivotal transformations in the history of the game. An unsuccessful head coach at Iowa Wesleyan, Mumme engineered an extreme passing game: the Air Raid. Using a shotgun offense, no-huddle tempo, and flexibility at the line-of-scrimmage, Mumme was able to defeat more talented teams. For readers interested in the history of the game – and passing in particular – this book is a must read.

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Take Your Eye Off the Ball by Pat Kirwan

 

 
NFL viewership is down, but an estimated 116 million people are expected to watch Super Bowl LI on Sunday. That’s about 1/3 of all Americans. But how many of those people actually know what to watch at the line-of-scrimmage? Few, probably, but Pat Kirwan can help. His book Take Your Eye Off the Ball details the intricacies of offense and defensive play calling. Fans are shown what to look for when determining plays and even player performance. After reading this, even the most ignorant football fan can become an armchair general on Sunday morning.

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The Quarterback Whisperer by Bruce Arians

 
Bruce Arians on the football field
 
Great coaches can be the difference between a last stringer and an elite NFL quarterback. Great QB coaches bring up names such as Jim Harbaugh, Andy Reid, Chip Kelly, Mike McCarthy, and Doug Marrone. However, Bruce Arians stands out above the rest. Trained by the legendary Bear Bryant, Arians has had a major impact on some of the greatest quarter backs in the modern NFL, including Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and Andrew Luck. No two quarterbacks are the same, but Arians has the ability to gain trust and drive them to succeed.

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Above the Line by Urban Meyer

 
Urban Meyer running onto the Ohio State University football field
 
Love him or hate him, Urban Meyer is a modern legend in the NCAA. He’s headed up two of the greatest teams in the SEC and B1G. But don’t let his success and humble demeanor fool you, it hasn’t been easy. Meyer’s drive for success and perfection at Florida led to health concerns and damaged familial relationships, and he was willing to take a step back from his career before returning to the gridiron in 2012. In Above the Line, Meyer offers readers the wisdom and inspiration many need to take control despite the toughest circumstances.

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Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger

 
Friday Night Lights cover, football players on the field
 
Friday Night Lights is a non-fiction book that focuses on the 1988 Permian High School Panthers. That’s right, high school football. Don’t scoff. In rural America, high school football is an institution that can unite a community in spite of social and racial barriers. But Bissinger is also critical of the cherished high school football programs and the role it plays in communities and in the lives of players. As student athletes are churned up in a practical football mill, the school and community’s attention to football serve as a disservice to the students of Permian High School.

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