75 Football Books That Can Change Your Life

By Coach Martin | Football Basics


This list of football books is a great reading list for all football junkies out there.

Whether you’re a coach or player trying to develop your skills, a novice fan just trying to learn the ropes, or a devout follower who wants to read something football-related while waiting in between seasons, these 75 football books are for you.

This list is complete with biographies of legendary coaches, memoirs of star players, inspirational messages from respected football figures, and manuals for strategies and schemes.


Must-Read Football Books:

Friday Night Lights

The people of Odessa, Texas are very fanatical about football and the way they treat the sport inspired H.G. Bissinger to spend a season there, follow the lives of their highschool football team, and analyze how the sport is such a huge part of the town’s soul.

Provocative and authentic, this book about how dreams meet reality is considered by many to be one of the greatest football books of all time.

Quiet Strength

Tony Dungy’s calm and controlled way of coaching has long since intrigued many, especially after the Indianapolis Colts’ victory in Superbowl XLI, making him the first African American coach to win the Superbowl.

In his memoir, his thoughts about leadership and how he uncompromisingly holds on to his values while pursuing his goals will make you redefine what success really means.

Coming Back Stronger

In the aftermath of an awful shoulder injury, the effects of Hurricane Katrina, and the Saints not being able to practice on their stadium, everyone thought it was the end for Drew Brees and his team.

But despite the setbacks, Drew didn’t give up.

In fact, he doesn’t even see them as setbacks.

In his words, “A step back is not necessarily a setback. Sometimes you have to take a few steps backward before you can get the momentum to jump over a chasm in your life.”

A truly inspirational read for football fans of all ages.

4. “Through My Eyes” by Tim Tebow and Nathan Whitaker

Through My Eyes

Star quarterback Tim Tebow wasn’t always star quarterback Tim Tebow.

He walked a pretty difficult path to reach where he is now, blocked by multiple coaches telling him he won’t make it and that he should just switch positions.

But he lived the way he wanted to and held on to his faith and family values while pursuing his dreams.

I Beat The Odds

A lot of people already know about Michael Oher’s story, as it has been depicted in the famous book and film “The Blind Side,” but this is his version of events in his own words.

He looks back on how he went from being homeless to playing in the NFL and inspires readers that no matter how hopeless your situation is, you can break out of that cycle and pave a different path of your own.

Next Man Up

Bestselling author John Feinstein was able to persuade the Baltimore Ravens to let him closely observe how they operate on a day-to-day basis.

He had access to owners, coaches, and players, observed their interactions with one another and how they handle loss as a team.

If you’re looking for insider information on how an NFL team operates, this is a great book for you.

7. “The Education of a Coach” by David Halberstam

The Education of a Coach

Bill Belichick has led a team that's been dominant season after season.

And in this book, David Halberstam highlights Belichick's background, how he is as a leader, and how he is as a man.

This book has a lot of insights on effective coaching too, so it's perfect for coaches who want to read about the kind of determination and ambition that it takes to be a successful coach and rise to the top.

It's an even better read if you're a Patriots fan.

Patriot Reign

It's amazing how before Bill Belichick arrived in New England, the Patriots weren't as acclaimed as they are today.

And the best thing about this book is that Michael Holly gives readers behind-the-scenes anecdotes on how Belichick and his team work together, shedding light on how a team that used to be a laughingstock now has a place as an NFL dynasty.

Belichick and Brady

Belichick's time as head coach of the Cleveland Browns wasn't so fabulous and in the 2000 NFL draft,

Tom Brady was 199th on the list and he was soo skinny that scouts didn't think he'd ever succeed.

But things changed.

Belichick became the head coach of the Patriots and Tom Brady replaced Drew Bledsoe as quarterback, and no head coach-quarterback duo has been more successful than those two.

In this book, sportswriter Michael Holley writes about their relationship and how they came to dominate football.

10. “Relentless: A Memoir” by Julian Edelman


You should definitely read this book if you're a Patriots or Edelman fan.

But even if you're not, surely you'd be interested in learning how a 5'5" highschooler weighing less than 100 lbs ended up becoming one of the most intense players in the NFL.

Throughout his career, Julian has been told "no" over and over again, but he persevered and never gave up.

This honest and inspiring book will teach you to be relentless when pursuing your dreams.


Bill Belichick is such a fascinating and controversial figure that he's sure to inspire many to write books about him.

In this one, writer Ian O'Connor, through in-depth research and interviews, recounts Bill's full story for the first time - from his childhood, watching college games with his father, and becoming defensive coordinator for the Giants to making history with the New England Patriots and fighting his way through numerous controversies throughout his career.

Guts and Genius

This book uses dozens of interviews with coaches and players to dig into the careers of Hall of Fame legacies Bill Walsh, Bill Parcells, and Joe Gibbs.

All three of them experienced failure when they were still starting out, but they were all able to turn things around and found themselves Superbowl Champions.

Even in today's games, their influence is evident--football teams use strategies they devised and coaches who used to work for them now dominating their fields.

This book is a fairly fast read, too.

gridiron genius book cover

Michael Lombardi has won the Super Bowl three times and even became a general manager for the NFL and he's learned a lot during his 30 years in football.

In this book, he shares insights gleaned from coaching legends Bill Walsh, Al Davis, and Bill Belichick as well as lessons from his personal experiences.

This is a very informative and eye-opening book, especially for coaches who'll learn about what makes a great NFL team, honing leadership skills, setting guidelines for discipline, and how to watch a game and learn from it.

14. “The Essential Smart Football” by Chris B. Brown

The Essential Smart Football

In this book, Chris B. Brown offers a unique look on major innovations in football strategy.

He shares them within a historical context, explaining how the strategies came to be developed through time.

It contains informative analysis of strategies and schemes by Urban Meyer's Spread Offense, Nick Saban's School of Defense, Tom Brady's No-Huddle attack, Bill Belichick's Hybrid Defense, and many others.

It's also a great book for novices because it avoids jargon as much as possible.

The Perfect Pass

In this book, historian S.C. Gwynne recounts the story of Hal Mumme, a somewhat anonymous football coach who was behind the evolution of the forward pass.

He innovated the air raid offense which has transformed football at every level.

It's a fun and interesting read with the perfect balance of football strategy, history, and character development.

Blood Sweat and Chalk

This is a great read for coaches, players, and fans alike.

It's a book mainly about strategy, covering important plays and schemes by big football names such as Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh, and Tony Dungy.

Tim Layden takes you to interviews with coaches and players who were behind these innovations, how they dreamed them up, and how the schemes evolved through time.

17. “The Games That Changed the Game: The Evolution of the NFL in Seven Sundays” by Ron Jaworski, David Plaut, Greg Cosell, and Steve Sabol

The Games That Changed The Game

If you're a football geek who wants to learn more about the strategic aspects of this very physical sport, then this book is for you.

Here, Ron "Jaws" Jaworski breaks down seven key games in the past 50 years that changed how football is played today.

It's fast-paced and very engaging, especially because of how much it reflects Jaworski’s warmth and love of the game.

However, this book isn't fit for complete novices as you'd need to already know all the field positions as well as be able to read a basic play in diagram to be able to understand this book.

18. “The Art of Smart Football” by Chris B. Brown

The Art of Smart Football

The Art of Smart Football is a compilation of clear and concise content that mostly came from Chris B. Brown's website and it features analysis of strategies and schemes by Pete Carroll, Nick Saban, Chip Kelly, and others.

It also explores the newer trends in football. What's good about it is that it's not too technical, so it's accessible to all readers.

America's Game

Professional football started to gain popularity in post war America and eventually transformed into an integral part of society today.

In this book, MacCambridge weaved together the story of how pro football evolved through the years.

You'll read about the histories of key franchises such as the Browns, Colts, and Rams, and you'll get to know the stories of many interesting characters - Paul Brown, Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh, etc - and how they revolutionized football to the game that it is today.


Bestselling author Peter Richmond tells the fascinating story of the fun-loving Oakland Raiders during the 1970s.

John Madden was coach then and Ken Stabler was the quarterback.

This book chronicles their rivalry with the Pittsburgh Steelers, from coming close to eventually beating them and winning a Super Bowl.

This is a great book recommended for those who love sports history or for fans of the badass 1970s Oakland Raiders.

Their Life's Work

Gary Pomerantz spent several years following the Pittsburgh Steelers, producing this well-researched and well-written book that might as well be your all-access pass to the history of the 1970s Steelers.

With four super bowl championships and twelve hall of famers, there might never be another team like this one, and this book does each player justice with individual chapters on their backgrounds as well as their current lives and how everyone of them came together as a family, experiencing loss, wins, and growth as a team.

This is a very immersive, honest book that tells the story of the greatest dynasty in football history.

22. “The Game: Harvard, Yale, and America in 1968” by George Howe Colt

The Game

One of the greatest football games in history--a season ender between Harvard and Yale--happened on November 23, 1968.

It might even be the most impossible comeback of all. And this book is a detailed look at the players as well as the political and war-time tensions that defined that year.

If you've watched Kevin Rafferty's film "Harvard Beats Yale 29-29," you'll be familiar with a lot of players from the film that are in the book.

This is a great read if you love reading about football (or sports in general), historical events, and cultural issues.

The Ones Who Hit the Hardest

Pittsburgh in the 1970s was a dark time for its people.

Around 150,000 steelworkers lost their jobs and they were in desperate need of heroes.

So when the Pittsburgh Steelers began dominating the NFL, becoming the most feared team in the league, it gave much-needed inspiration to everyone from Pittsburgh.

Especially during a time when sports was one of the few things people could look to for relief.

In this 376-page book, you'll learn about the backgrounds of hall of famers such as Terry Bradshaw, Mean Joe Green, and Jack Lambert as well as how they built an incredible dynasty under the leadership of coach Chuck Noll.

Playing Through the Whistle

This isn't a book about football strategy but about how football shapes a player and a town.

The small town of Aliquippa in Pennsylvania is noted for the rise and fall of the J&L Steel Company and their high school football team's success, creating elite players such as Darrelle Revis, Ty Law, and Mike Ditka.

This is a sociological book, complete with first-person interviews and gripping historical narrative.

And if you want to understand how high school football  and the rise and fall of a business impacts a small town, then you will enjoy this book.

25. “Barry Sanders Now You See Him: His Story in His Own Words” by Barry Sanders, Mark E. McCormick, and John Madden

Barry Sanders Now You See Him

Barry Sanders was having an awesome career as a running back, but his sudden retirement without explanation baffled many.

He was set to break records and accomplish much more than he already has.

So why did he leave? Well, Sanders breaks his silence in this book and shares why he made the decision to quit.

This is a book about humility and perseverance, and if you're a football fan, it's worth picking it up.

Slow Getting Up

Football is popular, yes, but it's also pretty damaging to its players.

Not just physically with degenerative conditions and early onset arthritis, but financially too with terrible pensions upon retirement.

In this book, Nate Jackson reflects on his 8 years playing on the fringes of the NFL and captures the lives of his non-superstar colleagues in controversial yet funny prose.

It definitely brings to light the trials and tribulations a lot of pro football players go through, and it's very well worth reading.

Collision Low Crossers

Nicholas Dawidoff spent a year with the New York Jets, not just for mere observation but he got the players and coaches to open up to him too.

The result? An in-depth behind-the-scenes look at how the New York Jets operated during the 2011 season.

This is a great book for coaches as it's mostly written from the coaches' point of view.

The amount of work they do--18-hour days, all-nighters, and missed family obligations--all to prep their team before they hit the field is both inspiring and terrifying.

A Few Seconds of Panic

What happens when a 43-year-old reporter decides to become an NFL football player? Well, you get this book.

Stefan Fatsis spent more than a year preparing his body to withstand NFL training and he became a placekicker for the Denver Broncos for 3 months.

It's such a fun and interesting book written by a very innovative journalist. It's a great inside look at professional football players and what the management is like.

29. “The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football” by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian

The System

College football is a multi-million dollar industry with millions of viewers filling stadiums every year.

But behind this are dark truths and this book outlines so many of the issues that haunt college football like taking advantage of athletes who are essentially working full-time jobs with hardly any monetary compensation, injured players who aren't properly taken care of, out-of-control recruiting methods, bribery, sexual assault, and many others - all of which make up "the system" of college football.

Although not everything is negative, as authors Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian also highlight coaches and players that remain honest despite the scandals surrounding them.

All in all, it's a book of different perspectives and it cuts out commentary to only report the facts.

30. “League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth” by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru

League of Denial

When Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian physicist, found a link between CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and older professional football players, he thought the NFL would welcome his findings and make efforts to make the game safer.

But the NFL sought to cover up the scientific evidence instead and even hired doctors of their own to come up with research that would say there's no connection between football and brain damage.

This is the devastating theme of this book--concussions, denial, and corruption. It's an important read for fans, coaches, players, and even parents.


This is the first biography about Walter Payton, well-researched and based from more than 700 sources.

It highlights Payton's life from his childhood in Mississippi to his 12 years playing for the NFL.

After you read this, you'll come away with an even greater appreciation of Payton's hard work and greatness as well as an understanding of how the game has changed since then.

Perhaps most valuable is the way Jeff Pearlman humanizes Payton--that he has flaws too and not infallible, but that only makes him more relatable.

32. “Never Die Easy: The Autobiography of Walter Payton” by Walter Payton and Don Yaeger

Never Die Easy

Walter Payton said he took up football to get girls' attention but as fate would have it, he'd become one of the best running backs the NFL has ever seen.

Never Die Easy is his autobiography written with the help of journalist Don Yaeger.

It's warm, funny, and inspirational. This book will push you to become a better person and athlete.


As a Bears fan, Rich Cohen tracked down all the players and coaches of the iconic team and asked them everything he's always wanted to know from their wins and losses to their dreams and fears.

Bears and NFL fans of any age would love this book. Coaches and players interested in learning techniques by Buddy Ryan and Mike Ditka would thoroughly enjoy this book too.

34. “Swing Your Sword: Leading the Charge in Football and Life” by Mike Leach, Bruce Feldman, and Peter Berg

Swing Your Sword

Mike Leach's path to coaching was pretty unconventional. He didn't play college football and started coaching with no personal connections.

With his law degree, he primarily put academics above football and disregarded conventional wisdom when he doubted it. And maybe it was because of this that he became one of the most successful college football coaches.

Easy to read with its conversational tone, this book is all about Mike's unorthodox approach to coaching and how he achieved success with it.

You Win in the Locker Room First

To put it shortly, the 7 Cs stand for Culture, Contagious, Consistent, Communicate, Connect, Commitment, and Care. And in this book, former NFL coach Mike Smith and leadership expert Jon Gordon guide you through each C to build a winning team.

It's easy to read and it's set up like a lecture where you get each author's perspective in a back-and-forth manner.

Reading this will give you invaluable lessons on leadership, success, and how to deal with failures and mistakes.

Above the Line

This isn't just Urban Meyer's memoir; it's a book on core principles for leadership.

It's perfect for coaches as it teaches a lot on how to keep a positive attitude, how to build your team, and how to empower your players to help them achieve things they never thought they would.

37. “Saban: The Making of a Coach” by Monte Burke


Nick Saban consistently pushes his coaches and players to grow out of their comfort zones.

In this book, Monte Burke writes Nick Saban's biography, from his early life through his time in the 2014 season. It's filled with valuable lessons on leadership.

Other coaches might benefit from Saban's process-oriented approach to developing his athletes.

38. “Win Forever” by Pete Carroll, Kristoffer Garin, and Yogi Roth

Win Forever

Pete Carroll is considered by many to be one of the most successful football coaches today.

He believes in teaching players to develop as people and not just athletes.

This fast-paced, energetic and authentic book teaches you how to become a better communicator, how to make leaders out of each of your players, and how to develop your own philosophy of coaching.

Highly recommended for all coaches.

39. “The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership” by Bill Walsh, Steve Jamison, and Craig Walsh

The Score Takes Care of Itself

The best parts about this book is how Bill Walsh turned the poorly-performing San Francisco 49ers into an NFL dynasty and they almost read like a memoir, written by Walsh himself.

There are so many insightful gems to learn from this book such as focusing to get better rather than winning, keeping your competitors nameless so you'd just focus on yourself, and how real motivation should come from within you and not from speeches or other people.

How Good Do You Want To Be

A lot of great motivational books are written by figures at the top of their profession, and "How Good Do You Want to Be?" does not disappoint.

Nick Saban is a great coach. In this book, he explains his "process" in full detail and inspires you with anecdotes on his career history and family.

He highlights the importance of discipline, communication, and focusing on success. It's a book that's more than football; it has so many lessons you could apply on everyday life as well.

41. “Winning Every Day: The Game Plan for Success” by Lou Holtz and Harvey MacKay

Winning Every Day

Lou Holtz has been assigned to numerous different teams with different players, but he keeps leading them to the same successful result.

How does he do it? Well, in this book, he shares his game plan with you.

This Is The Day

Tim Tebow often gets asked by people who are stuck in place when it comes to reaching their own goals. Maybe they're petrified by fear or just lack the motivation to go through.

In this truly inspirational read, Tim Tebow advises everyone that "this is the day" to take action, to take risks, to just step forward and do the things you need to do.

It's a Christian book, but even if you're not a Christian, anyone can take something from it.

43. “Hate Me Now, Love Me Later” by Jason Brown

Hate Me Now, Love Me Later

You might have heard about coach Jason Brown from the Netflix series, "Last Chance U," and this book is very much a coaching book.

There's a brief narrative about his background, but it's mostly about the way he coaches and the philosophies that he applies to his everyday life.

It's a very easy read and highly recommended for those who love rooting for the underdogs.

The Quarterback Whisperer

Bruce Arians has had a hand in the success of elite quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Ben Roethlisberger, and Carson Palmer.

He's been labeled the "quarterback whisperer" because of his ability to connect with quarterbacks and push them to play at their best.

In his memoir, he shares his coaching techniques, strategies, and psychology and how they've played a part in helping him work with some of the best quarterbacks in recent years.

Believe It

In Week 14 of the 2017 NFL season, starting quarterback Nick Foles of the Philadelphia Eagles went down with a torn ACL and everyone thought the Eagles would lose.

But despite that, Nick Foles kept playing and led his team to their first ever Super Bowl win.

And this book is all about that victory--how, despite the obstacles he faced, Nick Foles didn't give up, stayed true to his faith, and held on to his dreams and it eventually paid off. If you love inspiring memoirs, you'll definitely love this.


Another astounding sports biography written by Jeff Pearlman tells the story of Brett Favre, the Green Bay Packers' intense quarterback who led his team to 2 Super Bowls and one championship win.

This book draws from more than 500 interviews to recount the story of Favre--from his childhood in a rough rural town to getting drafted into the NFL and made his impact.

It’s a book about passion, demons, grief, and redemption.

47. “QB: My Life Behind the Spiral” by Steve Young and Jeff Benedict


In this great memoir, NFL quarterback Steve Young talks about football, family, and life in general.

As someone with severe separation anxiety, he's endured intense physical and mental tolls throughout his football career.

If mental health is an issue that's close to your heart, then you'll definitely enjoy this book.

The Genius of Desperation

Die-hard football fans know how interesting and rich the history of football strategy is, and in "The Genius of Desperation," Doug Farrars walks you through the history of tactics and strategy in the NFL as well as the people and circumstances that brought them about.

The book contains stories of football's greatest innovators and the obstacles they had to go through.

It features insights from famous football figures like George Halas, Paul Brown, Bill Walsh, and many more.

49. “Take Your Eye Off the Ball 2.0: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look” by Pat Kirwan, David Seigerman, and Pete Carroll

Take Your Eye Off The Ball 2.0

This book is perfect for new football fans that love watching games on television but who sometimes don't know what's going on.

A lot of questions you might have will be answered in "Take Your Eye Off the Ball 2.0."

This book explains the game's nuances and intricacies in a clear and simple manner--from player selection and game strategy to play calling and running and pass patterns.

The 2.0 edition even comes with a DVD for even more in-depth explanations.

Brady vs Manning

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are two of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and their duels on the field have made for really epic games.

This enjoyable read takes you through these living legends' histories and rivalry and how it's shaped both of their careers.

The great thing about this book is that it doesn't laud one more than the other, but takes a look at each one's career in equal measure.

Definitely recommended for Brady and Manning fans alike.


In "Quarterback," bestselling sportswriter John Feinstein explores the stories of five quarterbacks--Doug Williams, Alex Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Andrew Luck, and Joe Flacco.

He takes readers to experience what it's like to be a quarterback--from drafting and dealing with injuries to winning records, titles, and Super Bowls.

52. “War Room” by Michael Holley

War Room

After thoroughly following and observing three NFL teams--the Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs, and the New England Patriots - Michael Holley brings you "War Room," an engaging report on the inner world of professional football and what it takes to be victorious in the NFL.

Boys Will Be Boys

From bestselling author Jeff Pearlman who interviewed almost 150 people for this book comes another amazing sports narrative detailing the glory days of the 1990s Dallas Cowboys. It's the characters that make this book the entertaining, uplifting, and raunchy read that it is.

After all, if you were going to be a Dallas Cowboy, you needed to live the lifestyle--and most often that meant drugs, hangovers, and infidelity. "Boys Will Be Boys" tells stories you've never heard of before--the lives of star players Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and others.

Reading this book is going to be a wild ride.

54. “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game” by Michael Lewis

The Blind Side

This is based from the true story of Michael Oher, born from poverty but would eventually become one of the highest-paid athletes of the NFL.

Michael Lewis does Oher's story justice in this book, taking a complex history and weaving it into an inspirational account of kindness and hope.

Recommended for football fans of all levels and would especially resonate with young student-athletes.

When Pride Still Mattered

Vince Lombardi only got his big break when he was 46 years old.

He worked hard for twenty years, working as a high school coach and as an assistant. When his opportunity came to coach the Green Bay Packers, he led them to 5 world championships in just 9 seasons.

In this book, David Maraniss recounts his life--how this man came to be such a legendary figure in football.

56. “Instant Replay” by Jerry Kramer and Dick Schaap

Instant Replay

When offensive lineman Jerry Kramer started to keep a diary for the Green Bay Packers' 1967 season, he didn't realize it'd be one of the best seasons in football history.

With the help of journalist Dick Schaap, they used the accounts in his diary to make "Instant Replay," and it's an interesting inside account of that year.

From training camp through the historic Ice Bowl, this book is filled with great stories about Vince Lombardi, the team's star players, and eventually to Kramer's key move that led to the winning score.

Paper Lion

Sportswriter George Plimpton decided to write a piece about what it's like as a professional football player--from training and preparations to playing the actual game.

And to him, interviewing actual football players wasn't enough; he wanted to go undercover and experience it firsthand.

So he tried to get into the Detroit Lions and none of them even knew he was just a reporter. And boy did it result in such a fun and informative book.

Against the Grain

This book isn't just about football, it's also a tale of perseverance, faith, leadership, and commitment.

It will show you how important it is to not give up and to give your all every single time.

This book has 14 chapters and in each chapter is a tenant you can use to make your life successful. It's filled with inspirational stories that will resonate with you on a deep level.

59. “The Sacred Acre: The Ed Thomas Story” by Mark A. Tabb and Tony Dungy

The Sacred Acre

After the F-5 tornado struck Parkersburg, Iowa in May 2008, Ed Thomas was a beacon of hope, teaming up with his players for a momentous and victorious game.

So when he was murdered at age 58 by a former student, everyone was devastated.

Especially to those who looked up to him as a hero. "The Sacred Acre" is all about what happened and the aftermaths of those tragedies.

It's an inspirational book about love, faith, and forgiveness and it will be so good you won't be able to put it down.

The Junction Boys

Paul Bryant's legendary training camp in Junction, Texas was grueling to every player who joined the program.

And out of more than 100 players, only a handful would survive. But the shared pain and exhaustion from days of harsh training helped form an unbreakable bond between them.

After reading "The Junction Boys," you'll have a deeper appreciation for Paul Bryant and his players.

The book will suck you right in and you'll feel as if you were a part of the team too.

61. “Namath: A Biography” by Mark Kriegel


Joe Namath was a born-athlete. He excelled at basketball, baseball, and football, and his reputation to guarantee victory at the Superbowl turned him into a legend.

This intriguing, well-researched book covers the life of an icon, both in sports and in marketing. It recounts his football career, his victories, and even his flaws--drinking and womanizing.

It's a great book about both the glitter and darker truths of being a celebrity athlete.

62. “Coach: The Life of Paul "Bear" Bryant” by Keith Dunnavant


Even after his death, coach Paul "Bear" Bryant is still considered one of the best college football coaches. His legacy is of a persevering man who overcame poverty through sheer will and determination.

In this remarkable biography by Keith Dunnavant, Paul Bryant's life is laid bare--from his early days to his career highlights and his perfections and imperfections.

It's an amazing account of a man who had an extraordinary gift for leadership.

Meat Market

Recruiting is a very important part of building a team. If you don't have the best athletes, you can only take them so far. And this book is all about the recruiting process.

"Meat Market" takes you behind the scenes of what coaches go through to get top tier players.

It's a huge part of the game that you don't see on television and it'll give you much-needed insight to how the world of college football works.

A Civil War

If you're interested in learning about what it's like being a student-athlete at an academy school, then this book is for you.

In "A Civil War," sportswriter John Feinstein spent a season with both the army and navy programs to recount their 1995 season and their football program's rivalries.

He also talks about the academies' histories and the backgrounds of the coaches and players.

65. “Season of Life: A Football Star, a Boy, a Journey to Manhood” by Jeffrey Marx and Robert Bender

Season of Life

After Joe Ehrmann's time playing as a defensive lineman for the NFL, he volunteered to coach the Gilman High School football team and now he's an ordained minister and motivational speaker.

In "Season of Life," author Jeffrey Marx reconnects with his childhood hero and they talk about football and most importantly, life.

As a minister, coach, and speaker, Ehrmann uses his platform to redefine masculinity--that it's not just about wins and scores, it's about responsibility, courage, and forming meaningful relationships.

66. “InSideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives” by Joe Ehrmann, Gregory Jordan, and Paula Ehrmann

InSideOut Coaching

If you enjoyed the previous book, you're going to love this one. Joe Ehrmann is a firm believer that as a coach, sports can transform lives.

But only if the coaches use their platform the right way. It's not just being transactional and merely teaching the technicalities to win games, but about developing players to become better human beings.

He knows how much of an impact coaches can have on young athletes' lives, so in this book, he shares his coaching philosophy to help you become a transformational coach and change society through your profession.

67. “Fatso: Football When Men Were Really Men” by Arthur J. Donovan, Bob Drury, and Arthur J. Donovan


"Fatso" is a hilariously written account of what football was like in the 1950s.

Although published in 1987, it's still an enjoyable book to read today.

It's filled with funny stories told by Art Donovan himself and will leave you laughing while you read.

We Own This Game

If you're interested in youth football, you should read "We Own This Game." It's a tight account on what a season of youth football in Miami is like.

You should be warned that it won't be as positive as you'd hope, because it talks about parents who rarely do what's best for their kids and shallow coaches who couldn't care less about their young players.

It's not all like that however, and some do try their best to be motivating for the kids, but in the end a lot of them only focus on what they can get from the players, not what they can give.

This book is an honest and powerful book about the realities of youth football.

69. “Bear: The Hard Life and Good Times of Alabama's Coach Bryant” by Paul W. Bryant and John Underwood


When Paul Bryant coached Alabama, he won 6 national championships and 13 conference championships.

And when he retired, he had the most wins as head coach in college football history.

In his autobiography, Paul Bryant shares how he became a successful coach. It's a great book for young and rising coaches.

Our Boys

The Smith Center high school football team, led by coach Roger Barta, had the longest-running winning streak--67 games in a row.

This inspired writer Joe Drape to move to Kansas so he could write about them. In this book, Drape weaves a tale of community, support, and love.

It's a moving story about coach Barta and the amazing high school football players of Smith Center, Kansas.

Three and Out

When Rich Rodriguez took over coaching for the University of Michigan, it seemed like that would be a formidable partnership.

But the opposite happened, resulting in 3 terrible seasons for both Rodriguez and the university.

In this book, writer John Bacon was granted unlimited access to the program to write a detailed insider's account on what went wrong during Rodriguez's three years in Michigan.

You're Okay, It's Just a Bruise

What happens in the locker room of the 1983 NFL team Los Angeles Raiders? Dr. Rob Huizenga answers that in this book.

As the team's internist back then, he had access to the sidelines of every game, and it was like being on a battlefield.

With a close-up look to a lot of the team's operations, he was able to observe the methods of owner Al Davis, how injuries affect the players, and the use of drugs and steroids in the NFL.

If you enjoy insider sports narratives, you'll definitely love this one.

Twelve Mighty Orphans

The Fort Worth school for orphans in Texas was just that until coach Rusty Russell arrived and turned 12 orphans into one of the greatest athletes high school football has ever seen.

The Masonic Home Mighty Mites dominated the 1930s and 40s, and this is an inspirational tribute to the courageous coach and players that came from nothing and became a symbol of hope and dreams for the whole nation.

The Last Coach

Great coaches inspire great books to be written about them.

In "The Last Coach," Allen Barra writes about Paul Bryant's life, from his beginnings as a child in a family of truck farmers to becoming one of football's most recognized coaches.

You'll love this book, especially if you're a fan of Coach Bear. He just leaps to life from the pages.

75. “Bill Walsh: Finding the Winning Edge” by Bill Walsh, Brian Billick, and James A. Peterson

Bill Walsh

If you want to be a great football coach, then you'd love this book, especially since you'll be getting lessons from none other than Bill Walsh himself.

Though a lot of the insights here are football-specific, you can apply them to any other sport or organization.

This book is a gold mine of concepts and philosophies to become a better leader.

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