The Superbowl is 5 days away, and while I’ll freely admit that I’m not much of a football fan (Is that the one with the helmets?), I do enjoy a good read.
So in the spirit of sports, here are some of the top rated books on our great American tradition:
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.
With frankness and compassion, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist H.G. Bissinger’s national bestseller chronicles the dramatic 1988 season of the Permian Panthers–the winningest high school football team in Texas history. Friday Night Lights shows how the town’s singleminded devotion to the team shapes the community and inspires (or shatters) the teenagers who wear the uniforms.
America’s favorite sportswriter lifts the shroud of secrecy that envelops the NFL to give us the most intimate look we have ever had into the workings of a professional football team. Feinstein follows a single team through an entire season, capturing a vast spectrum of experience and emotion, from the owner’s goals to the coach’s day-to-day travails to the feeling of the sleet-soaked ball in the hands of a receiver. Anyone who loves football – any team, in any era – will savor the details revealed here about the most sensational sport in America.
More than any other sports figure, Vince Lombardi transformed football into a metaphor of the American experience. The son of an Italian immigrant butcher, Lombardi toiled for twenty frustrating years as a high school coach and then as an assistant at Fordham, West Point, and the New York Giants before his big break came at age forty-six with the chance to coach a struggling team in snowbound Wisconsin. His leadership of the Green Bay Packers to five world championships in nine seasons is the most storied period in NFL history. Lombardi became a living legend, a symbol to many of leadership, discipline, perseverance, and teamwork, and to others of an obsession with winning.
They were America’s Team—the high-priced, high-glamour, high-flying Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s, who won three Super Bowls and made as many headlines off the field as on it. Led by Emmitt Smith, the charismatic Deion “Prime Time” Sanders, and Hall of Famers Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin, the Cowboys rank among the greatest of all NFL dynasties…Jeff Pearlman chronicles the outrageous antics and dazzling talent of a team fueled by ego, sex, drugs—and unrivaled greatness. With an unforgettable cast of characters and a narrative as hard-hitting and fast-paced as the team itself, Boys Will Be Boys immortalizes the most beloved—and despised—dynasty in NFL history.
So settle in, turn on the TV, and completely ignore it while you read instead.
*Book summaries courtesy of Goodreads.
Who’s gonna win the game? Let me know in the comments.