Classic Football Reads

The Chiefs have a bye week coming up in a few weeks. The local team will be resting up from their good start. Sadly there will be a bit of a void to fill for many football fans. Just in case you need your fix or you want to read some excellent books on the game I have posted some titles and quick reviews of classic football literature. As I wrote this blog I realized that most of these books are a little “old school” so I apologize if I didn’t list a book about Tom Brady or Colin Kaepernick, but that’s how I roll.

instant-replayInstant Replay
by Jerry Kramer

Written by Green Bay Packer all-pro guard Jerry Kramer in diary form, the book tells the story of the 1967 Green Bay Packers. It really was the first book of its kind telling the behind-the-scenes story of the Packers of Vince Lombardi. This is a must-read for a fan who is interested in the history of football. It brings to life the players from this legendary team. I have read this book many times since I was a teenager.

johnmaddenOne Knee Equals Two Feet
by John Madden

You may not remember but former CBS and later Fox sportscaster John Madden was a great football coach before he retired and picked up the microphone for his second career. Madden wrote several humorous books about the NFL and his coaching career for the Oakland Raiders. I find it ironic that as a commentator Madden had a gift for not taking himself too seriously. As a coach of the hated Oakland Raiders he frequently bullied his way around the sidelines screaming and yelling. As a KC Chief fan I did not like him as a coach. As a fan who watched him on TV I liked him a lot better.

The blind side : evolution of a gameThe Blind Side
by Michael Lewis

Fans of the movie with the same name might not recognize this book. While the movie focused totally on Michael Oher, the book goes much deeper. While the quarterback is certainly the focus of any team, and its success many times rests on his shoulders, you can’t win unless he is protected. In short you need to protect the Q.B.’s Blindside .The other storyline is about Oher and his impoverished upbringing rise to stardom in high school and rise to being one of the most coveted prospects in college football. Oher is now a professional football for the Baltimore Ravens

iamthirdI Am Third
by Gale Sayers

In the early 1970s and late 1960s Gale Sayers was the dominant running back in the NFL. Unfortunately for Sayers his career was destroyed by knee injuries.  This 1970 autobiography serves double duty. It is the story of how Sayers catapulted himself out of an Omaha ghetto to become one of the greatest running backs in National Football League history. It is also the tale of his friendship with Chicago Bears teammate Brian Piccolo, who died of cancer. Sayers’ memoir was the basis for the film Brian’s Song. The title came from Sayers motto and words to live by:  God is first, my family is second. I am Third.

Friday night lights : a town, a team, and a dream Friday Night Lights
by H.G. Bissinger

This book about Texas high school football is an excellent study about the Odessa Permian Panther football program. The book tells the story of the 1988 football season and recounts the trials, tribulations, and the hold that football had on the town. Bissinger and his family spent the entire season in Odessa getting to know the players, the coaches and the town. Sports Illustrated rated one of the top five sports books ever written. The book became a sort of franchise spawning a movie and a television show. All three are excellent works and I recommend them.

So there you have it, books from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and the 21st century. These are all excellent books, with legendary teams, heroic players and memorable plays – and even a little humor thrown in.

  • James Leach

    I’m from St Cloud Minnesota and I spent 4 months in Kansas, 1 month in Topeka and 3 in Leavenworth and I enjoyed my time in Kansas being the day I left Minnesota on February the 19th -2012 the temperature was 19 below and Kansas was a welcome site ….like a summer vacation. ..The Department of Veterans Affairs Vamc ..and the staff made me feel right at home. .
    Tyvm
    James Haywood Leach II

  • James Leach

    Great people and wonderful fans. .as a young teenager I love the KC Chiefs and Otis Taylor ….Even though you’re beat my Vikings in the super bowl. ..im happy to see the Chiefs back on top.

  • Dave Coleman

    James, of course I remember Super Bowl IV very well. I was a freshman at a boarding school in Missouri and there were it seems about a dozen kids from Minnesota at school. I was either very confident or very naive because I had about 2 bucks out on bets on the Chiefs. that was my weekly pop money. Now in 1970 2 dollars to a 15 yrs old was a heck of a lot of money. Appreciate your thoughts, Go Chiefs…

  • James Leach

    Well tyvm Mr Dave Coleman for your comment, yes life was very simple and people words had value. ..and how I miss them days. .