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Chapter 2 - Football For Dummies

Anyone who knows me knows,

I am a football girl. My mother used to say that my first sentence was "Go Colts!" during the 1958 Championships when the Baltimore Colts defeated the NY Giants. It could have been or it could have been any number of curses that came out of my mom's mouth during a football game. Anyway, having jettisoned the Colts when Bob Irsay had the footballs to move them to Indianapolis, I embraced the Ravens when they came to Baltimore. And this year, for the first time in four painful years, they are back in the playoffs. By the time this blog is published we will know if they will continue but right now I am reveling in their December 30th win.

I started thinking about the books I have read related to football and realized there are quite a few. Here are a few to check out if you are in mourning for your own team's Super Bowl chances.

The Bleachers by John Grisham - I guess Grisham must also be a football fan as this and Playing for Pizza are two of my favorite books by him. In The Bleachers Neely Crenshaw, perhaps the best quarterback for The Spartans has come home because his old coach has died. There is a love/hate relationship between the coach and his players and as they try to come to grips with this, Neely reflect on his own life.

When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi by David Maraniss - Still revered as one of the best coaches ever, Lombardi's claim to fame is that he coached the Green Bay Packers to five winning titles in nine seasons. In fact his popularity was such that both Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey consider him as a vice presidential running mate. Read the book that helps explain why the Super Bowl trophy is called the Vince Lombardi trophy.

The Education of a Coach by David Halberstam - Halberstam who has over 20 books to his name, most about history, has written one football book. This one looks at one of the most revered or reviled coaches in modern day football - Bill Belichick. In this book, Halberstam focuses on the lessons Belichick has learned from other coaches in his own search to be great.

Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger - If you love high school football in the south where some stadiums are bigger than college stadiums, you'll have a good time with this book. It starts in August of 1988 in the small town of Odessa, Texas. Odessa has a history of its own and now, high school football might be its only claim to fame. The characters are richly developed in the novel.

I Am Third by Gale Sayers - A memoir and inspiration for the made-for-TV movie, "Brian's Song", Sayers tells of his friendship with Brian Piccolo, who died of cancer in 1970, at a time of extreme racial distrust and unrest. Sayers short career (ended because of injuries) was extraordinary and he was the youngest player to be admitted to the Football Hall of Fame at 34.

Do you have any favorite sports books? Please share.

You can order these and other books at

Update: The Ravens have broken my heart once again. Oh well, no more football for me for another 8 months!

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