In honor of the start to the 2017-2018 NFL season, here are 5 new nonfiction books about football.
While I had 2 concerns when I began reading Truth Doesn't Have a Side, this book turned out to be my favorite of the five. The first concern I had was about the amount of scientific or medical detail that might be used to explain CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy). I don't enjoy science and was concerned that I would be drowning in medical terminology. But the explanations were very well done; they were detailed enough to present a clear picture but not so detailed as to lose the average reader.
My second concern was due to my love of sport. I freely admit I romanticize the game. I love football. I love the physicality. I love the athleticism. I am in awe of the agility and strength the players have. I think it is a beautiful sport. So I was scared to read the book because, selfishly, I didn’t want to lose those feelings. And I didn’t. I still think football is a beautiful game. Omalu presents the evidence in a matter-of-fact way so that emotion is never part of the equation. The brain is vulnerable. It's floats around inside the skull. No helmet is capable of protecting the brain. It's simple science.
Aside from football, I was saddened to read about the prejudice Omalu has experienced in America. I just don't understand how we can be so cruel to one another simply because of the color of one’s skin or nationality. I'm sorry that America and Americans did not live up to his childhood idealism of our country. I wish we were better people.
Regarding football, I remain conflicted. I love the game and I will continue to tune in every Sunday while praying for the players' safety and trying to ignore what my conscience is telling me.
By: Gary Myers
This is a book that tells the stories of nine quarterbacks and the influence their fathers had on their football careers, from little league to the NFL. Chapters include stories from first families of football such as the Mannings and the Harbaughs as well as newcomers like Jameis Winston.
The book isn’t just about quarterbacks and their fathers, though. It also includes stories from the sons of Phil Simms and Joe Montana. Can you imagine the scrutiny you face when you are playing football and your dad is Joe Montana?
I particularly enjoyed the stories of John Elway, Phil Simms, and Joe Montana who were football stars before I came to appreciate the game. I had no idea Elway also played baseball for the Oneonta Yankees. I was born in that area of NY and still have extended family there.
(Gary Myers also wrote another excellent book called Brady vs Manning.)
By: Thomas George
Drafting a rookie quarterback that can develop into a franchise quarterback is the dream for all NFL teams. Blitzed is about the different approaches taken by teams to develop their rookie quarterbacks. For example, he compares the approach taken by the Philadelphia Eagles with Carson Wentz to the approach taken by the LA Raiders with Jared Goff. He also talks about quarterbacks who’ve done well in their rookie years—such as Dak Prescott—as well as those who didn’t work out—like Ryan Leaf.
The things that turn a rookie QB into a franchise QB—Do you sit him out so he can watch and learn? Do you start him right away? Will he and the head coach mesh well? Does he, at a young age, possess the professionalism to mature into a great player? How will he handle the pressures, the adversity? What kind of support will the team provide? How is the rest of the offensive line? Is the protection there for him to play well? It’s an interesting look into the many variables that decide who will be successful and who will be a bust.
Champions Way is a well-written look at the seedy side of college football, specifically at Florida State. It's sad and discouraging when winning is more important than people. And the way these young men are taken advantage of? When they come out without even a college education? It’s unethical and it makes me question how complicit I am just by being a football fan.
I’ll be honest and confess that I didn’t finish this book. Not because it was poorly written or a bad story but it is heavily geared toward the Alabama fan. There’s a lot of names, game plays, and statistics thrown around that are probably common knowledge to someone who follows closely Alabama football but for someone like me who just happens to catch an SEC game on the occasional Saturday? I was lost pretty quickly. However, if you’re a #rolltide fan, you should definitely check it out.
*All of these books were obtained either through Edelweiss or Netgalley. I was provided digital review copies in exchange for feedback. An review posted to my blog was not a requirement.*