Five Excellent Football Books to Fill The Offseason Void

Editor’s Note: We originally published this article on May 6, 2021. We are re-posting now since it may be of interest to football fans, especially since the league is slowing down.

We’re officially entering the slowest point of the football schedule. Some days, it’s easy to forget that the NFL even has an offseason; the league does an excellent job of continually keeping its product at the forefront of the fan base’s collective mind. The reality, of course, is that things do slow down, even for the NFL. As a result, I’ve decided to provide a list of five great football books, some of which have been featured in our “Moron’s Guide to Football” series. If you can’t get football on your television, then perhaps you’ll be interested in getting it on the page.

1) Chris Brown, The Art of Smart Football

First, I should say that I’m not talking about the singer.

Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll explain that Brown’s Smart Football is among the best football books out there. If you’re a layman who is interested in gaining more sophistication in your understanding of the game, Brown’s book is a really great place to start. If I’m not mistaken (I’m often mistaken), it’s Brown who suggests that great coaches are not necessarily the ones who are the most innovative. Instead, great coaches are the ones who know how to apply tried-and-true concepts to succeed in the current moment. Great stuff.

2) Chris Brown, The Essential Smart Football

Again, not the singer. Brown offers more excellent writing about football. Nothing to add here apart from another hearty endorsement of his work.

3) Pat Kirwan, Take Your Eye Off The Ball 2.0

Kirwan’s book is a step above beginner knowledge. If you’re brand new to football, it may be difficult to follow a lot of what he is saying. In contrast, if you’ve spent a fair amount of time watching/playing/thinking about football, you’ll likely step away from Kirwan’s book a little more knowledgeable.

Kirwan has a background in the NFL as both a coach and in the front office. He brings a unique perspective and offers a book with a fair amount of depth. I really enjoyed it.

4) Fritz Shurmur, Coaching Team Defense

I’ll admit that I have some hesitance recommending a Packers coach. Green Bay’s success often comes at the expense of Minnesota’s; it’s an unfortunate part of the world we live in.

My pettiness aside, Shurmur offers an excellent book, especially if you’re interested in learning more about defense. As a fan, I have a much better appreciation for what goes into coordinating a successful defense on Sunday. As a high school football coach, I have a much better idea of how to teach my kids to play defense.

5) Steve Belichick, Football Scouting Methods

This one won’t interest everyone in the crowd. I really enjoyed it, though. One of the highlights rests in his explanation that scouting the opposition has rules, but that “restrictions are sometimes hard to monitor, and there have been cases in which these rules have been slightly infringed upon.” It’s hard not to think of Bill Belichick and Spygate when reading this.

Otherwise, I really enjoyed reading about the elder Belichick’s overall desire to determine the patterns for the opposing team and then doing his utmost to ensure they can minimize the opposition’s strengths while exploiting their weaknesses. That exact strategy has worked out pretty well in New England over the past couple decades.

There it is, folks, my list of five great football books to help keep you out of trouble during the NFL offseason. I’ll likely have another list out at some point in the not-too-distant future, and I also hope to put together more thorough book reviews. In the meantime, happy reading!

Editor’s Note: This post includes links to products on Amazon. If you purchase a product from one of these links, we may make a commission.