Novels about Football
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Must Read Novels About Football to Get You Through Until the Next Season

The City of Brotherly Love – and the whole rest of the world – is properly in love with the “Top Dog” Eagles right now! My Uncle John played for them way back in the day when the pro teams still recruited kids right off the high school fields, so this Super Bowl win makes me…

Novels about Football

The City of Brotherly Love – and the whole rest of the world – is properly in love with the “Top Dog” Eagles right now! My Uncle John played for them way back in the day when the pro teams still recruited kids right off the high school fields, so this Super Bowl win makes me so happy! I wasn’t in the mood to spend the night tossing back a few beverages at a rowdy Super Bowl party, but I wanted to be part of the football frenzy. So, I figured the best way I could “get in the game” was to dive into a novel about football! Specifically, Eagles football! I turned the big game on for background noise and to stay abreast of the exciting moments (and the WIN!), and then joined the action beneath the cover of The Silver Linings Playbook. 

In the mood for some football fiction? Here’s a few more novels about football that will definitely feed your football craving until the next Super Bowl!

1. Playing for Pizza

This is a good one for readers interested in American football and Italy! I love Grisham’s legal thrillers, but this is a nice change! Rick Dockery is the third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. In the AFC Championship game, to the surprise and dismay of virtually everyone, Rick actually gets into the game. With a seventeen-point lead and just minutes to go, Rick provides what is arguably the worst single performance in the history of the NFL. Overnight, he becomes a national laughingstock—and is immediately cut by the Browns and shunned by all other teams.

But all Rick knows is football, and he insists that his agent find a team that needs him. Against enormous odds, Rick finally gets a job—as the starting quarterback for the Mighty Panthers . . . of Parma, Italy. The Parma Panthers desperately want a former NFL player—any former NFL player—at their helm. And now they’ve got Rick, who knows nothing about Parma (not even where it is) and doesn’t speak a word of Italian. To say that Italy—the land of fine wines, extremely small cars, and football americano—holds a few surprises for Rick Dockery would be something of an understatement.

2. Friday Night Lights

I loved watching this series on TV with my football loving son! Like most book to film endeavors, the book is even better! Friday Night Lights is a #1 New York Times bestseller and Sports Illustrated named it the “best football book of all time.”

This is the story of the Permian Panthers of Odessa—the winningest high-school football team in Texas history. Socially and racially divided, Odessa isn’t known to be a place big on dreams, but every Friday night from September to December, when the Panthers play football, dreams can come true. With frankness and compassion, H. G. Bissinger unforgettably captures a season in the life of Odessa and shows how single-minded devotion to the team shapes the community and inspires—and sometimes shatters—the teenagers who wear the Panthers’ uniforms.

3.George and Lizzie

This one isn’t so much a novel about football as one might expect from the list, but you’ll have to trust me on this, there’s football players in it! This is probably one that’s more a “chick” book than football fiction, but it was recommended by a reader.  So, here ya go!

George and Lizzie have radically different understandings of what love and marriage should be. George grew up in a warm and loving family—his father an orthodontist, his mother a stay-at-home mom—while Lizzie grew up as the only child of two famous psychologists, who viewed her more as an in-house experiment than a child to love.

Over the course of their marriage, nothing has changed—George is happy; Lizzie remains…unfulfilled. When a shameful secret from Lizzie’s past resurfaces, she’ll need to face her fears in order to accept the true nature of the relationship she and George have built over a decade together. With pitch-perfect prose and compassion and humor to spare, George and Lizzie is an intimate story of new and past loves, the scars of childhood, and an imperfect marriage at its defining moments.

4. North Dallas Forty

The story of eight harrowing days in the chaotic life of a professional football player, North Dallas Forty, originally published in 1973, exposes an NFL rife with corruption, drugs, sex, and violence. His body already racked with multiple injuries, Phil Elliot (played by Nick Nolte in the major film of 1978) is a cynical tight end hooked on painkillers and other mind-altering substances who must choose between enduring abuse by crazed coaches and depraved teammates or giving up his dreams of glory. This graphic story explores the disturbing relationship between violence in the football stadium and violence in American culture itself. “[Gent] balances shock with humor, irony with warmth, detail with insight, and ends up with a book that easily transcends its subject matter.” – Dick Schaap, ESPN

5. The Silver Linings Playbook

This football fiction is for all the Eagles fans!!! Meet Pat Peoples. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure him a happy ending―the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent several years in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat’s now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he’s being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he’s being haunted by Kenny G!

David O. Russell’s adaptation of The Silver Linings Playbook features Bradley Cooper (Peoplemagazine’s Sexiest Man Alive) in the role of Pat, alongside Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Julia Stiles, Chris Tucker, and Jacki Weaver. As the award-winning novelist Justin Cronin put it: “Tender, soulful, hilarious, and true, The Silver Linings Playbook is a wonderful debut” novel about football and so much more.

6. The Perfect Play

The Perfect Play is a romance novel about football. It is a scorching tale about love and the games people play. NFL quarterback Mick Riley has it all: fame, fortune and his pick of any woman. Well, almost any woman. When he meets-and beds-Tara Lincoln, he realizes that he wants more than a one-night stand. Too bad she has other ideas. Their connection was hot, heavy and heavenly…and she’s calling it off. Tara played the game of love once-and lost big. And even though her steamy night with Mick proved that he’s an all-star both on the field and in the bedroom, she just can’t risk that kind of pain again. But Mick didn’t get to be a star QB by giving up each time he got knocked down. He means to win her heart. And he has the perfect play in mind….

7. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and a finalist for the National Book Award!

From the PEN/Hemingway Award-winning author of the critically acclaimed short story collection, Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, comes Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (“The Catch-22 of the Iraq War” —Karl Marlantes).

A razor-sharp satire set in Texas during America’s war in Iraq, it explores the gaping national disconnect between the war at home and the war abroad.

Ben Fountain’s remarkable debut novel follows the surviving members of the heroic Bravo Squad through one exhausting stop in their media-intensive “Victory Tour” at Texas Stadium, football mecca of the Dallas Cowboys, their fans, promoters, and cheerleaders.

I hope you enjoy these novels about football! I’m going to bed now. I’ve got a celebration parade to get ready for.  🙂  Fly Eagles Fly!

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One response to “Must Read Novels About Football to Get You Through Until the Next Season”

  1. Kevon Brown Avatar

    Very helpful article. Thanks for sharing!!

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