How to Become a Smarter Football Fan

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that football isn’t a complex, highly intelligent game. Football is a thinking person’s game; for this reason, the best teachers are the ones who are capable of boiling the complexity down into simple explanations. It’s easier said than done. I coach high school football and I’m continually coming up against the reality that breaking down the game is a difficult task. For the average fan, it’s likely sufficient to have a pretty good grasp of the rules, concepts, and techniques. If this is the case, then the need to become a smarter football fan is relatively low.

However, plenty of fans would like to build off their somewhat modest knowledge base. How does one go about this task?

Resources to Help You Become a Smarter Football Fan

Let’s begin with some free resources.

If you’re into defensive football, you might be inclined to hop over to Blitzology. I’m a big fan of Brian’s work; he’s a college coach who was a guest on Notes from the North not too long ago. He knows far more about defensive football than I ever will, and I’ve learned a lot from him. Follow him on Twitter if you’re into social media.

Another good person to follow is Brett Kollman. He does film breakdowns over on YouTube, but he’s also active on Twitter. Again, he’s someone who is more knowledgeable than I. If I’m not mistaken, Kollman’s background isn’t in coaching. My understanding is that he has just spent a lot of time studying resources to equip him with the knowledge to breakdown the game in a sophisticated manner.

If you’re looking for thoughtful coverage of our Minnesota Vikings, then it’s probably some combo of Arif Hasan or Nick Olson. Both will help you become a smarter football fan and a more knowledgeable Vikings fan.

Hasan’s writing is primarily on The Athletic, but he has connections to Daily Norseman and still does a podcast with them. Olson’s writing is featured at a few different spots, but I’ve come across it most recently at Zone Coverage. Speaking of Zone Coverage, readers might also be inclined to read Luke Braun‘s work. He also does great stuff.

At TVG, we’ve endeavored to equip fans with some added football knowledge through our Moron’s Guide to Football series. You can check out the piece on personnel packages, defensive fronts, the play-action pass, man vs. zone coverage, zone run blocking, and the blitz if you’re interested in any of those topics. We’ll have more articles covering different components of the game in the future.

Alas, the internet isn’t the be-all-end-all of football knowledge. On the contrary, there are plenty of great resources if you actually enjoy having a book in your hand.

Fritz Shurmur’s Coaching Team Defense is a great place to start for a fan who is looking to become a little smarter when it comes to defensive football. Of course, if you’re looking for something that’s more geared toward a layman, there are good options. Chris Brown’s The Essential Smart Football and The Art of Smart Football are really good places to start. Pat Kirwan’s Take Your Eye Off The Ball would be another great option.

These are simply a few examples. I’ll have more book reviews out in the future. Check out the one on Pete Carroll!

Final Thoughts

These are merely a handful of options, folks. Football is such a great game and there are so many brilliant people around the sport. Take some time to look around and you’ll surely find some great stuff. One of the best things you can do is just hang around people who have more experience. Ideally, you can even have them over for a game and get them to explain things. Cook them a recipe from our Gameday Goods archive and you’re all set.

Hopefully this brief post offers some guidance to get people started. If you’ve got other ideas or resources, be sure to let me know.

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