Media Mondays: Football Edition

It’s that time of the year again (and we almost didn’t have one!), when we take out our tailgating gear or get the fantasy draft board out. That’s right folks, it’s football season.

Football marks a memorable season in a lot of sports fans’ lives. For some, we gather weekly, and either hang out at our best bud’s pad, or band together with my fellow compares at the stadium’s section E3 tailgate. While most sports have a huge fan base, there is something about the camaraderie of football that is special. When my team is down, I seek compassion and sympathy with other fanatics. When my team is winning, I can share my pride with those alike.

People of all ages, gather to worship, analyze, and talk about football. It is a time when best friends can argue, about which team is better with no hard feelings,  and when generations of fathers and sons (or mothers and daughters) discuss about the fundamentals of a sport. It truly is a bonding sport, no matter which way you look at it. Well, for most fans anyway. On the field, football can be a brutal sport.

Football is also something that I personally would wake up at the crack of dawn to pack up the car and drive to the stadium at an unearthly hour. Why? Because I love football. There is that unsaid excitement on a Sunday Game Day. I also get that giddy feeling when it is 4:59pm, and you’re itching to get home from work to watch Monday Night Football.

Football is magic.

The other half and I at a San Diego Chargers tailgate.

Now, it may seem counter-intuitive, talking about socializing and gathering, but there are many books written about football. For this football fan, not only do I love to watch the game, but I love to read about it as well.

Here is my list of favorite books about football. Each one has further enhanced my love of the game.

When Pride Still Mattered : A Life Of Vince LombardiWhen Pride Still Mattered : A Life Of Vince Lombardi by David Maraniss

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: September 3, 2000
ISBN: 0684870185
ISBN-13: 9780684870182
Genre: Non Fiction, Biography

Synopsis: When Pride Still Mattered is the quintessential story of the American family: how Vince Lombardi, the son of an immigrant Italian butcher, rose to the top, and how his character and will to prevail transformed him, his wife, his children, his players, his sport, and ultimately the entire country. It is also a vibrant football story, abundant with accounts of Lombardi’s thrilling life in that world, from his playing days with the Seven Blocks of Granite at Fordham in the 1930s to the glory of coaching the Green Bay Packers of Starr, Hornung, Taylor, McGee, Davis, and Wood in the 1960s.

Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a DreamFriday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by H.G. Bissinger

Publisher: Da Capo Press
Publish Date: September 28, 2004
ISBN: 0306814250
ISBN-13: 9780306814259
Genre: Non Fiction, Biography

Synopsis: Return once again to the enduring account of life in the Mojo lane, to the Permian Panthers of Odessa — the winningest high school football team in Texas history. Odessa is not known to be a town big on dreams, but the Panthers help keep the hopes and dreams of this small, dusty town going. Socially and racially divided, its fragile economy follows the treacherous boom-bust path of the oil business. In bad times, the unemployment rate barrels out of control; in good times, its murder rate skyrockets. But every Friday night from September to December, when the Permian High School Panthers play football, this West Texas town becomes a place where dreams can come true. With frankness and compassion, Bissinger chronicles one of the Panthers’ dramatic seasons and shows how single-minded devotion to the team shapes the community and inspires-and sometimes shatters-the teenagers who wear the Panthers’ uniforms. Includes Reader’s Group Guide inside. Now a an NBC TV weekly drama series.

Instant Replay: The Green Bay Diary of Jerry KramerInstant Replay: The Green Bay Diary of Jerry Kramer by Jerry Kramer, Dick Schaap

Publisher: Doubleday
Publish Date: September 5, 2006
ISBN: 0385517459
ISBN-13: 9780385517454
Genre: Non Fiction, Biography

Synopsis: In 1967, when Jerry Kramer was a thirty-one-year-old Green Bay Packers offensive lineman, in his tenth year with the team, he decided to keep a diary of the season. “Perhaps, by setting down my daily thoughts and observations,” he wrote, “I’ll be able to understand precisely what it is that draws me back to professional football.” Working with the renowned journalist Dick Schaap, Kramer recorded his day-to-day experiences as a player with perception, honesty, humor, and startling sensitivity. Little did Kramer know that the 1967 season would be one of the most remarkable in the history of pro football, culminating with the legendary championship game against Dallas now known as the “Ice Bowl,” in which Kramer would play a central role. Nor could he have anticipated that his diary would evolve into a book titled Instant Replay, first published in 1968, that would become a multimillion-copy bestseller and be celebrated by reviewers everywhere, including the Washington Post’s Jonathan Yardley, who calls it “to this day, the best inside account of pro football, indeed the best book ever written about that sport and that league.”

This groundbreaking look inside the world of professional football is one of the first books ever to take readers into the locker room and reveal the inner workings of a professional sports franchise. From training camp, through the historic Ice Bowl, then into the locker room of Super Bowl II, Kramer provides a captivating player’s perspective on pro football when the game was all blood, grit, and tears. He also offers a rare and insightful view of the team’s storied leader, Coach Vince Lombardi.

The Blind Side: Evolution of a GameThe Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Publish Date: September 2, 2006
ISBN: 039306123X
ISBN-13: 9780393061239
Genre: Non Fiction, Biography

Synopsis: One day Michael Oher will be among the most highly paid athletes in the National Football League. When we first meet him, he is one of thirteen children by a mother addicted to crack; he does not know his real name, his father, his birthday, or how to read or write. He takes up football, and school, after a rich, white, evangelical family plucks him from the streets. Then two great forces alter Oher: the family’s love and the evolution of professional football itself into a game in which the quarterback must be protected at any cost. Our protagonist becomes the priceless package of size, speed, and agility necessary to guard the quarterback’s greatest vulnerability: his blind side. This paperback edition contains a brand-new 2007 afterword.

SportsmanSportsman by Dhani Jones

Publisher: Rodale Press
Publish Date: June 7, 2011
ISBN: 160961111X
ISBN-13: 9781609611118
Genre: Non Fiction, Autobiography

Synopsis: The Sportsman follows Dhani’s discovery that the parts of his life that, to many, seemed to be distractions— including an off-season TV show that sent him around the world to learn and compete in other sports—actually served to cross-train him in ways he’d never imagined, enabling him to become more grounded, globally aware, and, most surprisingly, a much better football player.

Part travelogue, part workout guide, part Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, The Sportsman is an invigorating account of Dhani’s global sporting adventures and the lessons he has learned along the way. From dragon boat racing in Singapore to carrying 300-pound rocks in Iceland to biking in Italy, Dhani’s adventures taught him to be tougher, smarter, and stronger than ever. The Sportsman is a reminder that by connecting to the world through its people and customs and the spirit of competition, we empower ourselves in ways that can surpass our craziest expectations.

One thought on “Media Mondays: Football Edition

  1. Pingback: Weekend Reads « bookchelle

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