I have been wanting to post something different than usual. So, with the begining of the NFL, EPL and stretch run of MLS, I decided to list my favorite football books.
1. The $1 league: The Rise and Fall of the USFL by Jim Byrne (1987). You have to enjoy the business side of sports to like this book, but I have read this book about the creation of a new pro football league in the 1980s several times. The star of the book becomes New Jersey Generals owner Donald Trump who basically ruins the USFL by wanting to take on the NFL.
2.A Season with Verona: Travels Around Italy in Search of Illusion, National Character, and...Goals! by Tim Parks (2002). Parks, an English teacher in Italy, watches every match of his favorite club, Hellas Verona. Parks is a great writer and covers much more than just Serie A action, as he goes into the character of Italy as a country.
3.Next Man up: A Year behind the Lines in Today's NFL by John Feinstein (2005). Feinstein is a brilliant sports writer and he gets incredible access to follow the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens for a year.
4.Never Die Easy: The Autobiography of Walter Payton by Walter Payton and Don Yaeger (2000). This heartbreaking memoir was being written when Payton passed away from liver cancer. Yaeger finished the book and used tons of interviews with Payton’s friends and family to turn it into more of an oral history.
5.Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger (1999). This also made for a great movie, but the book that follows a High School football team in Texas is extremely poignant.
6.Going Long: The Wild Ten-Year Saga of the Renegade American Football League in the Words of Those Who Lived It by Jeff Miller (2003). Just like the overly long subtitle says.
7.Now You See Him ...The Barry Sanders Story by Barry Sanderss and Mark E. McCormickk (2003). Some of this bored me, but getting a look into his personality and why he quit football is quite interesting.
8.Long Bomb: How The Xfl Became Tv's Biggest Fiasco by Brett Forrest (2002). I don’t care what anyone says the XFL was so silly it was cool. Forrest followed the crazy league and one of its teams, the Las Vegas Outlaws, for the XFL’s only season.
9.I Am Third by Gale Sayerss and Al Silverman (1970). The greatest football movie of all time, Brian’s Song, was based on Sayers autobiography that stars himself and teammate Brian Piccolo.
10.Proving Ground: A Season on the Fringe in NFL Europe by Lars Anderson (2001). The league that created Kurt Warner and other NFLers gets its due in this book. Anderson spends the year following the now-defunct Scottish Claymores and several of their players who went overseas to get another shot at the NFL.