Top 10 NFL Books

Top 10 NFL Books

Postby JDOtt » Mon May 10, 2021 9:06 pm

I'm starting my NFL library and am interested in getting feedback on everyone's Top 10 NFL books of all-time.
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Re: Top 10 NFL Books

Postby RichardBak » Mon May 10, 2021 10:12 pm

10 copies of Paul (Dr. Z) Zimmerman's New Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football.

Just messing around. There's a bunch of really good FB books out there, with some my personal faves not directly tied to the NFL (like Friday Night Lights).

Just off the top of my head, I can think of When Pride Still Mattered, Pro Football Chronicle, Iron Men, When the Colts Belonged to Baltimore, Pigskin, The Sunday Game, America's Game, The National Forgotten League, On Any Given Sunday, Gridiron Gauntlet, The Golden Age of Pro Football, War Football, Paper Lion, Brown's Town, The Game That Was, Fatso, and there's 15-20 others I'd recommend but I'm having brain flatulence right now. Of course, a guy's age, personal tastes, research interests, etc. is gonna influence his Top 10, so you'll probably have to expand the list to a Top 20-25 to get a general consensus of an "essential" NFL library.
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Re: Top 10 NFL Books

Postby GameBeforeTheMoney » Wed May 12, 2021 1:09 pm

Trying to remember what I started with but that was really founded with books offered at the Scholastic Book Fairs in the late 70s...

Anthologies are probably good starting points -- a book that goes through the history of the Super Bowl year-by-year sort of thing....or books that go through the NFL by decade. A book on the history of the AFL would be a good starting point as well, especially if you're favorite team started in the AFL.

When Pride Still Mattered is indeed an absolute classic and if you're into Lombardi at all, it's iconic. Biographies are indeed a great place to start. The Earl Morrall one was good, the Gale Sayers "I am Third" was very popular in its day. If you can find those old "Great Linebackers of the NFL" or Receivers,( or whatever position) that I think were published by the NFL, those are really good starting points for getting to know the great players.

It really depends on what you're most interested in and trying to learn....specific team(s)? Player/coach biographies? Certain decade(s)? Overall history of football?
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Re: Top 10 NFL Books

Postby JDOtt » Wed May 12, 2021 6:23 pm

Thank you both for your feedback, I really appreciate it. Great suggestions and I especially like the late 70s Scholastic Book Fair reference as that’s in my era and when I started appreciating the NFL.
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Re: Top 10 NFL Books

Postby RichardBak » Wed May 12, 2021 7:27 pm

I forgot to mention the series of "Great Teams" books that came out in the 1970s. The NFL and Macmillan collaborated on a few of these team histories before abruptly ending the run. They issued books on the Browns, Lions, Rams, and a few others. What I especially liked about them were the 5-6 interviews each book contained, which remain a great source for first-person anecdotes by players and coaches who are long gone. The Lions book, for instance, had interviews with Bobby Layne, Lou Creekmur, Dutch Clark, and Buddy Parker, among others.

Never did understand why the Great Teams series ended. Must've been poor or mediocre sales.
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Re: Top 10 NFL Books

Postby JDOtt » Sat May 22, 2021 9:26 pm

RichardBak wrote:I forgot to mention the series of "Great Teams" books that came out in the 1970s. The NFL and Macmillan collaborated on a few of these team histories before abruptly ending the run. They issued books on the Browns, Lions, Rams, and a few others. What I especially liked about them were the 5-6 interviews each book contained, which remain a great source for first-person anecdotes by players and coaches who are long gone. The Lions book, for instance, had interviews with Bobby Layne, Lou Creekmur, Dutch Clark, and Buddy Parker, among others.

Never did understand why the Great Teams series ended. Must've been poor or mediocre sales.


Yes, I recall seeing the Great Teams books, the art work on the covers was outstanding!
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Re: Top 10 NFL Books

Postby JKelly » Thu May 27, 2021 10:18 am

I don't doubt the series died due to poor sales. In retrospect doing that series in the mid 1970's in of itself was a limiting factor. About a quarter of the NFL teams at that point really didn't have an extensive amount of great runs to have a book done about them.
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Re: Top 10 NFL Books

Postby RichardBak » Thu May 27, 2021 12:04 pm

JKelly wrote:I don't doubt the series died due to poor sales. In retrospect doing that series in the mid 1970's in of itself was a limiting factor. About a quarter of the NFL teams at that point really didn't have an extensive amount of great runs to have a book done about them.


That's a great point. We tend to think of teams like Oakland, Miami, few others as being around forever. But at the time that series came out, the oldest AFL teams were less than a couple decades old and the NFL itself was barely more than a half-century old.

That said, you have to wonder why Macmillan/NFL didn't include the Bears and Packers--who pretty much owned the NFL's first 50 years--in their first batch of books. Maybe those titles were already in the works when they canceled the series??
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Re: Top 10 NFL Books

Postby Lee Elder » Sat Jul 03, 2021 4:05 pm

For what it is worth:
,
I'd start with Total Football II. Its a very in-depth look at professional football, an important research source. Warning: This is a huge, heavy book.

Papa Bear by Jeff Davis covers George Halas, which makes it the story of the NFL. Good read, too.

Instant Replay, Jerry Kramer's first book, is still a good read today. It recounts the 1967 Packers season. Two other good ones on the Packers -- When Pride Still Mattered and That First Season. I did not grow up as a Packers fan, but I have to admit that these are good reads.

I enjoyed reading Paul Reeths' book, The United States Football League, 1982-1986.

The PFRA has produced two very good books about championship teams, The 1966 Green Bay Packers: Profiles of Vince Lombardi's Super Bowl I Champions and The 1958 Baltimore Colts: Profiles of the NFL's First Sudden Death Champions. Cards on the table, I wrote a chapter for the Colts book. Another book in the PFRA's Great Teams Series, this one on the 1951 Rams, is due out later this year.

Hope this helps!
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Re: Top 10 NFL Books

Postby JDOtt » Sun Jul 25, 2021 8:48 pm

This is great input, thanks so much for the suggestions, I really appreciate it!
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