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Pro Football

Football, the most popular spectator sport in the US, has a surprisingly long history going back 150 years. The sport evolved from rugby and soccer and was originally played by college teams. The first college football game was played in 1869, when Rutgers defeated Princeton. In the 1880s Walter Camp—now considered the father of American football—codified the game and introduced innovations like the eleven-player team and the quarterback position, bringing the game closer to what it is today.

Football became professional in the 1890s and in the following decades it was played mostly in small towns. But confusion surrounded the rules and the way teams found players. In 1920 a group of representatives from various teams met to form a professional league—later to be known as the National Football League (NFL)—to enforce consistent rules and bring order to the sport. In the following years, the game developed with the introduction of more changes, among them using a draft to select players, setting up divisions, changing the shape of the ball, and establishing a championship game. Although the first game was televised in 1939, it was the growing popularity of television in the 1950s that made professional football take off nationally. Today the NFL produces the Super Bowl, frequently the highest-rated television show of the year.

This minibibliography lists a selection of the books about professional football in the NLS collection. There are many more titles about football, both college and professional, available. You can find them by typing the name of a person or team in the “Search the collection” box on BARD, the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download website.

Digital braille and talking book titles can be downloaded from the NLS BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) service. Contact your local cooperating library to register for BARD. Registered users may also download audio titles on iOS and Android devices using the BARD Mobile app. Braille titles may be downloaded using the app on a device linked by Bluetooth to a refreshable braille display. To find your local cooperating library, go to or call toll-free 888-NLS-READ (888-657-7323).




Lost Champions: Four Men, Two Teams, and the Breaking of Pro Football’s Color Line
by Gretchen Atwood

The NFL first banned black players in the early 1930s. And in the aftermath of World War II, black Americans fought discrimination and faced violence in all quarters. Many know that Jackie Robinson integrated major league baseball in 1947. But few remember the names of the four men who broke pro football’s color line in 1946: Kenny Washington and Woody Strode with the Los Angeles Rams and Bill Willis and Marion Motley with the Cleveland Browns. Unrated. 2016.
Download DBC16602

The Best Game Ever: Giants vs. Colts, 1958, and the Birth of the Modern NFL
by Mark Bowden

A play-by-play account of the December 28, 1958, NFL championship between the New York Giants and the Baltimore Colts, the first-ever overtime game to be broadcast on national television. Highlights players such as Frank Gifford and Johnny Unitas and describes the game’s effect on football’s popularity. Some strong language. 2008.
Download DB67157

If These Walls Could Talk: Detroit Lions; Stories from the Detroit Lions Sidelines, Locker Room, and Press Box
by Lomas Brown (with Mike Isenberg)

An insider’s account of recent Detroit Lions football history includes a behind-the-scenes look at the era. Stories about coaches and stars including Wayne Fontes, Jim Caldwell, Barry Sanders, Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, Ndamukong Suh, and more. 2016.
Download DBC11179

Collision Low Crossers: A Year inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football
by Nicholas Dawidoff

Reporter Dawidoff chronicles the year he spent with the New York Jets, when he attempted to portray day-to-day life in the NFL. Describes scouting, the draft, practices, and strategy meetings. Discusses the personalities of the general manager, coaches, and players. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2013.
Download DB77752

The King of Sports: Why Football Must Be Reformed
by Gregg Easterbrook

Explores the history and popularity of American football—the most popular spectator sport in the country. Details how football became deeply ingrained in United States culture and society and probes its darker sides, including corruption and player concussions. 2013.
Download DB78797

Quarterback: Inside the Most Important Position in Professional Sports
by John Feinstein

The author of sports books including A Good Walk Spoiled (DB40694) and A Season Inside (DB29466) looks at the most visible and pressure-filled position in football. He profiles five NFL starting quarterbacks, showing how the fortunes of their teams rest squarely on their shoulders. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2018.
Download DB93041

Bloody Sundays: Inside the Dazzling, Rough-and-Tumble World of the NFL
by Michael Freeman

New York Times sports reporter Michael Freeman offers an inside look at the National Football League. Focuses on Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden, Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith, Giants defensive end Michael Strahan, and the Eagles front office. Explores underground—including gay—societies and the physical ruin some players experience. Strong language. 2003.
Download DB59728

The Perfect Pass: American Genius and the Reinvention of Football
by S. C. Gwynne

Historian and author of Empire of the Summer Moon (DB71705) switches gears to examine the evolution of football strategy. As he discovers, the passing game was relatively rare before the 1980s, when Hal Mumme took over at small Iowa Wesleyan University and reinvented the offense. 2016.
Download DB86709

War Room: The Legacy of Bill Belichick and the Art of Building the Perfect Team
by Michael Holley

The behind-the-scenes story of how the fabled Patriots coach and two of his assistants—now successful head coaches in their own right—developed the art and science of assembling a powerhouse squad one draft pick and one trade at a time. Some strong language. 2011.
Download DBC03818

NFL Century: The One-Hundred-Year Rise of America’s Greatest Sports League
by Joe Horrigan

The former executive director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame presents a history of the National Football League. From its founding in Canton, Ohio, in 1920, he chronicles the NFL’s successes as well as its struggles through wars, controversies, and labor disputes. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2019.
Download DB96372

The Real All Americans: The Team that Changed a Game, a People, a Nation
by Sally Jenkins

Washington Post journalist recounts the 1911 and 1912 championship season of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School’s college football team. Details the school’s founding by Lt. Col. Richard Henry Pratt and describes the careers of player Jim Thorpe and coach Pop Warner. 2007.
Download BR17400
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Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times
by Mark Leibovich

Writer for the New York Times Magazine looks at the National Football League. With a special focus on the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady, examines both the economic and cultural dominance of football, as well as growing concerns about concussions and the impact of player protests. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2018.
Download DB92398

Iron Men: Bucko, Crazylegs, and the Boys Recall the Golden Days of Professional Football
by Stuart Leuthner

An oral history of professional football’s pubescent years, from post-World War II through the advent of the Super Bowl in the mid-1960s. Includes the comments of such personalities as Pat Summerall, Otto Graham, Jim Ringo, Andy Robustelli, and Joe Schmidt. Some strong language. 1988.
Download DB29237

America’s Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured a Nation
by Michael MacCambridge

A history of American football concentrating on the development of the National Football League during the last half of the twentieth century. Focuses on the sport’s use of television, marketing, racial integration, and innovative leadership to overtake baseball as the dominant spectator sport. Some strong language. 2004.
Download DB61512

One Knee Equals Two Feet: And Everything Else You Need to Know about Football
by John Madden

Television football analyst and former Oakland Raiders coach assesses the skills of the great players he has seen firsthand. Written in Madden’s inimitable style, the commentary features humorous anecdotes and telling bits of football wisdom. Bestseller. 1986.
Download DB23929

My Greatest Day in Football: The Legends of Football Recount Their Greatest Moments
by Bob McCullough

Twenty-nine players and coaches relive their best moment in football. Includes Don Shula and the “perfect season,” Bart Starr and the “Ice Bowl,” Y.A. Tittle and the day he was traded to the New York Giants, and Leroy Kelly making it into the Hall of Fame. Some strong language. 2001.
Download DB54384

Home Team: Coaching the Saints and New Orleans Back to Life
by Sean Payton (with Ellis Henican)

Football coach Sean Payton explains the reasons his team, the New Orleans Saints, were able to win the 2009 Super Bowl championship—only four years after Hurricane Katrina devastated their city. Discusses rehabilitated quarterback Drew Brees and other players, beating the odds, and inspiring the fans. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2010.
Download DB71476

Pigskin: The Early Years of Pro Football
by Robert Peterson

Chronicles the development of professional football from its origins in college sports of the 1880s to being a nationally televised attraction in the twentieth century. Traces the founding of the NFL in 1920 and the careers of the game’s original stars. Features interviews with former players about the early years. 1997.
Download DB45629

Green Bay Packers: Trials, Triumphs, and Tradition
by William Povletich

This is the history of the NFL’s only small-town franchise—and the only franchise owned by fans—the Green Bay Packers. The Packers’ creative and profitable management has been led by names such as Lambeau, Lombardi, Holmgren, and Rodgers. 2012.
Download DBC04732

The Blueprint: How the New England Patriots Beat the System to Create the Last Great NFL Superpower
by Christopher Price

The New England Patriots were once considered a football team in trouble. Then, in 2000, Bill Belichick was hired as head coach and Scott Pioli as VP of player personnel, quarterback Tom Brady was drafted, and everything changed. Their focus on team rather than talent led to three Super Bowl victories in four seasons. Price tells the franchise’s success story, often from inside the locker room. 2007.
Download DBC03977

Leaders of the Pack: Starr, Favre, Rodgers, and Why Green Bay’s Quarterback Trio is the Best in NFL History
by Rob Reischel

Green Bay Packer football fans will learn more about Bart Starr, Brett Favre, and Aaron Rodgers through comparisons to quarterback trios of other NFL teams. 2015.
Download DBC04731

The Greatest Football Game Ever Played: When the Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants Faced Sudden Death
by John F. Steadman

The pathos and excitement are reborn in this account of the first-ever overtime game between the Giants and the young, aspiring Colts. America’s intense love affair with professional football is captured. Unrated. 1988.
Download DBC12221

Seattle Seahawks Super Season: Notes from a 12 on the Best Season in Seahawks History
by Mark Tye Turner

From the perspective of a dedicated Seahawks fan, Mark Tye Turner, author of Notes from a 12 Man (DBC00301), compiles this vivid and insightful account of the year the Seattle Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII with coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson. Starting in the 2013 preseason and following through to the aftermath of the team’s momentous victory parade, Turner’s account of the season is filled with stories and anecdotes from the Seahawks’ thirty-eight-year history. 2014.
Download DBC00302


Bill Belichick

Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time
by Ian O’Connor

Sportswriter presents a biography of the New England Patriots coach who led his team to multiple Super Bowl wins. Interviews paint a portrait of the coach, including insights into his relationships with quarterback Tom Brady and team owner Robert Kraft. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2018.
Download DB93008

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady

Belichick and Brady: Two Men, the Patriots, and How They Revolutionized Football
by Michael Holley

A sportswriter looks at the relationship between head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. Chronicles the path that brought the pair together and their many successes, including multiple Super Bowl wins. Commercial audiobook. 2016.
Download DB88602

Terry Bradshaw

It’s Only a Game
by Terry Bradshaw

Autobiography of celebrated Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback and television broadcaster. Bradshaw discusses his rise to fame in football, his struggles with attention deficit disorder, his three divorces, and his strong belief in God. 2001.
Download DB54130

Jim Brown

Out of Bounds
by Jim Brown (with Steve Delsohn)

Jim Brown spent nine years as a fullback in the National Football League, setting records and becoming a legend. Since retiring—at the age of twenty-nine—he has acted in films, worked in television sportscasting, managed a singing group, and posed for a magazine centerfold. He speaks frankly about his choice of lifestyle. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. 1989.
Download DB30752

Jim Brown: Last Man Standing
by Dave Zirin

Sports journalist presents a biography of Brown, star running back with the Cleveland Browns from 1957 to 1966. In retirement, he pursued an acting career, was a civil rights activist, and was active in politics, but also faced charges of domestic abuse. Some strong language. 2018.
Download DB91377

Derrick Coleman

No Excuses: Growing Up Deaf and Achieving My Super Bowl Dreams
by Derrick Coleman (with Marcus Brotherton)

The author describes his early life as a deaf person and his rookie year in 2014, when the Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl. 2015.
Download BRC01821
Download DBC00596

Tony Dungy

Quiet Strength
by Tony Dungy

Autobiography of the first African American coach to lead his team to a Super Bowl win, taking the Indianapolis Colts to victory in 2007. Dungy describes the priorities and attitudes that contributed to his winning experiences and emphasizes putting God and family first. Bestseller. 2007.
Download DB65352

Marcus Dupree

The Courting of Marcus Dupree
by Willie Morris

Documents the recruitment by college football coaches of Marcus Dupree, a talented young black athlete from Mississippi, who in 1981 became the most-sought-after prospect of the season. In telling the young man’s story from poverty to fame as a University of Oklahoma running back, Morris discusses the newly integrated south and America’s commitment to sports. Some strong language. 1983.
Download DB20146

Frank Gifford

The Whole Ten Yards
by Frank Gifford

Gifford’s long NFL career earned him a place in the Hall of Fame in 1977. His looks earned him modeling and acting jobs. And a combination of the two contributed to a long, successful career as a sports broadcaster. He discusses these facets and his personal life. Gifford, the husband of the much-younger television host Kathie Lee Gifford, has grown children as well as two younger offspring. Some strong language. 1993.
Download DB37789

Rob Gronkowski

It’s Good to Be Gronk
by Rob Gronkowski (with Jason Rosenhaus)

One of the NFL’s greatest tight ends and among the league’s most colorful characters, Rob Gronkowski recalls his boisterous boyhood, his college career at the University of Arizona, and the agony and ecstasy of playing professional football for the New England Patriots. 2015.
Download DBC03963

Growing Up Gronk: A Family’s Story of Raising Champions
by the Gronkowski Family

The first family of football—with three sons in the NFL, including Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots—takes readers into their fun-loving, rough-and-tumble home in upstate New York, a one-of-a-kind incubator of athletic greatness. 2013.
Download DBC03975

David Kopay

The David Kopay Story: Extraordinary Self-Reflection
by David Kopay (with Perry Deane Young)

The former pro football player who became the first professional athlete to reveal his homosexuality tells about his years in a Catholic seminary, his marriage, and his search for a sexual identity. Some strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex. 1977.
Download DB11779

Vince Lombardi

Run to Daylight! Vince Lombardi’s Diary of One Week with the Green Bay Packers
by Vince Lombardi (with David Maraniss)

The fiery coach of the Green Bay Packers offers an insider’s view of pro football in this classic sports book. His account highlights seven days in the life of the Packers as he shaped up his team for a crucial Sunday game in the 1962 season. 1963.
Download DB21456

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

The life and times of football giant Vince Lombardi are chronicled, including his humble beginnings in Brooklyn and his many years in school athletics, before he became head coach of the Green Bay Packers in 1959. Recalls his philosophy of winning and the influences on his life. Bestseller. 1999.
Download BR12471
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John Madden

Hey, Wait a Minute! (I Wrote a Book!)
by John Madden (with Dave Anderson)

Account by the irrepressible former coach of the Oakland Raiders, who has also been an announcer of football telecasts and the star of commercials. He tells of his boyhood, his football days, and some of the memorable plays he witnessed. Some strong language. Bestseller. 1984.
Download DB20944

Archie and Peyton Manning

by Archie and Peyton Manning (with John Underwood)

Dual autobiography of father and son football stars—Archie, quarterback of the New Orleans Saints and other teams in the 1970s and 1980s, and Peyton, drafted for the same position by the Indianapolis Colts in 1998. They discuss college and professional successes and frustrations, family ties, and football activities of Peyton’s brothers. 2000.
Download DB57573

Joe Montana

by Joe Montana (with Richard Weiner)

Autobiography of noted quarterback Joe Montana. After proving his football skill in his last year at Notre Dame, Montana was a third-round pick for the San Francisco 49ers. He led the team to win four Super Bowls and was named most valuable player three times. Before retiring in 1995 at thirty-eight, Montana also played with the Kansas City Chiefs. Some strong language. Bestseller. 1995.
Download DB41922

Joe Namath

All the Way: My Life in Four Quarters
by Joe Namath

Memoir of the Hall of Fame quarterback who shot to stardom when he led the New York Jets to an underdog victory in the 1969 Super Bowl against the Baltimore Colts. As he recalls each quarter of that game, he also shares details of his personal life. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2019.
Download DB95858

Ryan O’Callaghan

My Life on the Line: How the NFL Damn Near Killed Me and Ended Up Saving My Life
by Ryan O’Callaghan (with Cyd Zeigler)

Memoir of a football player who feared condemnation while hiding his sexual orientation during six seasons in the NFL. The author admits to having had regular suicidal thoughts and a painkiller addiction. In retirement, he created a foundation to address LGBT issues in sports. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2019.
Download DB97127

Michael Oher

The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game
by Michael Lewis

Sportswriter analyzes the National Football League’s obsession with left tackles, exposes the machinations behind college athletic recruitment, and profiles African American football prodigy Michael Oher. Describes the homeless Memphis teen’s adoption by a wealthy Evangelical white family and his development into a star high school left tackle. Strong language. 2006.
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I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness, to The Blind Side, and Beyond
by Michael Oher (with Don Yaeger)

Professional football player and the subject of the book and movie The Blind Side (DB63689) describes his childhood in Memphis and his climb out of homelessness. Offers advice to kids in poverty and suggests ways adults can reach children who need help. Bestseller. 2011.
Download DB73109

Ahmad Rashad

Rashad: Vikes, Mikes, and Something on the Backside
by Ahmad Rashad (with Peter Bodo)

Ahmad Rashad, formerly Bobby Moore, was an outstanding high school football player in Tacoma, Washington, and attracted national attention in the late 1960s at the University of Oregon. After an unhappy stint with the St. Louis Cardinals, he became an All-Pro wide receiver with the Minnesota Vikings before going into TV sports broadcasting. 1988.
Download DB30762

Jerry Rice

Go Long! My Journey beyond the Game and the Fame
by Jerry Rice (Brian Curtis)

Former professional football player and Dancing with the Stars contestant Jerry Rice recounts his rise to fame through hard work and perseverance. Describes his rural southern childhood, his college career at Mississippi Valley State, and his success with the San Francisco 49ers. Foreword by Bill Walsh. 2007.
Download DB64533

Tim Tebow

Through My Eyes: A Quarterback’s Journey
by Tim Tebow (with Nathan Whitaker)

Autobiography of former University of Florida quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy his sophomore year in 2007. Highlights his religious upbringing on a working family farm and homeschooling with dyslexia. Describes his experience as a missionary in the Philippines and being Denver’s 2010 first-round NFL draft pick. Bestseller. 2011.
Download DB73458

Doug Williams

Quarterblack: Shattering the NFL Myth
by Doug Williams (with Bruce Hunter)

Named most valuable player in the 1988 Super Bowl but released by the Washington Redskins before the start of the 1990 season, Williams tells his life story. From a humble Louisiana family, he developed under the famed Grambling coach Eddie Robinson and began his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1978. He bitterly contends that black athletes, especially quarterbacks, suffer crippling discrimination. 1990.
Download DB33078

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