I often get asked for suggestions on what to read. How can one expand their knowledge of football, the draft, and/or scouting? Here are some books/articles to check out.
The GM: Inside the Story of a Dream Job and the Nightmares That go with It
by Tom Callahan
This is a book about Ernie Accorsi, who helped build the 2007 Giants team that won the Super Bowl. Great book. Lots of NFL history.
Finding the Winning Edge
by Bill Walsh
Bill Walsh tells you how to build and run a football team. Actually, he talks about a whole organization. The book is out of print and hard to find, but a great read.
Play Football the NFL Way
by Tom Bass
Bass was a longtime assistant coach in the NFL and goes over techniques and practice drills on a position-by-position basis. A bit technical, but valuable information.
The Pro Style
by Tom Bennett
This is a book put out in the late 1970s that covers a lot of ground. It deals with the history of the game. It also explains strategy and some technical aspects of football. The book is great because it does all this in a quick, simple way and uses a lot of photos to show you what blitzing is or how play-action passes work. You can study the pictures and understand what is really happening. You have to find this as a used book, but it is worth the search.
The Armchair Quarterback
by John Thorn
This is more about the history of the game and how different strategies evolved over the years. There are also some fun essays to read.
Blood, Sweat, and Chalk
by Tim Layden
This is a more recent book about innovations in the game of football. It covers high school, college, and the NFL. This is one of the great football books ever written. Tons of history. Easy to read and full of great stories. A must for any football junkie.
The Games That Changed The Game
by Ron Jaworski and Greg Cosell
Another instant classic. This book just came out late in 2010, but is absolutely a must for anyone who loves NFL football and the strategic side of the game. Jaws and Cosell mix history, strategy, and personal anecdotes to make this a book you’ll finish too fast. The kind of book that you can read over and over.
The Education of a Coach
by David Halberstam
Whether you love or hate Bill Belichick, the man has spent his life in the game of football. He knows the sport inside-out and this book is a journey from his youth right up until his final Super Bowl win. You get a ton of history on the game. It doesn’t hurt that Halberstam was a great writer.
Any of the Madden books.
Hey, Wait a Minute! I Wrote a Book
One Knee Equals Two Feet
by John Madden
It is easy today to pick on Madden for being too pro-Brett Favre and a bit of a caricature as a broadcaster, but anyone who was young in the 1980s and watched football learned a lot from him. His books are great reads. You learn about him as a coach and broadcaster. He’s also a great storyteller.
by Art Donovan
Speaking of great storytellers, Donovan is one of the best ambassadors the game of football has ever had. This is a book you read to be entertained more than informed. Donovan was a very good player and part of some dominant Colts defenses back in the 1950s.
by Jerry Kramer
If you want to know about Vince Lombardi and his Packers teams from one of his players, this is the book to read. Kramer is one of the best Guards in NFL history. He offers some good insight to the Packers as they were on the hunt to win Super Bowl II. The funny thing is that the Super Bowl wasn’t such a big deal back then.
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If you want to learn about football, scouting, and the draft, go read anything you can by Joel Buchsbaum. He is the late, great draft guru for Pro Football Weekly. He turned down lots of offers from NFL teams to remain with PFW and cover the draft for them. Type his name into Google and go look for old columns and articles from him.