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Best Books About Football – Clayton Trutor Interview (Part 1)

Dr. Clayton Trutor stops by on the show to share his opinion of the best books about football.  During the interview, he provides 10 primary categories for the books discussed.  In the first part of this interview, Dr. Clayton covers the categories that he calls League History, Biography, Strategy, A Season in the Life, and Expose’.  It’s near impossible to pick the best football book in each category, so he also provides some alternative options for you.  These football book recommendations are not a direct endorsement from The Football History Dude podcast, but as a dude, I’m always open to some great reads.  So, strap on your seat belt, and let’s get ready to take this baby up to 88mph.

You can reach out to Clayton on Twitter – @ClaytonTrutor

Here you can find the dedicated Clayton Trutor page.

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Clayton Trutor Bio

He is a historian and sportswriter.  He writes about college football and basketball for SB Nation at Down the Drive and Underdog Dynasty.  He holds a Ph.D. in U.S. History from Boston College and is the author of a forthcoming book on the history of professional sports in Atlanta.

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Clayton Trutor Best Books About Football

Below are the best books about football covered in the first part of the Clayton Trutor interview.  Each category has a main book, and then there are some within the body of the text to give you more options.

Note – As an affiliate, I earn a commission on qualifying purchases.

League History

This was the first book we talked about on the episode. Dr. Trutor brings up how this book is one of the best books about football as a comprehensive resource. The book basically takes you on a journey from the founding of the NFL (episode 3) in Canton, OH in 1920 all the way through the 21st century.  He shares how the book covers many angles of the game; including the economics, on-field product, social impact of pro football, and many more topics.

The other book he suggested in this category –

The League: How Five Rivals Created the NFL and Launched a Sports Empire by John Eisenberg


Dr. Trutor liked how Mark Kriegel put Joe Namath in each place of his life and was able to tell the story of how he turned into “Broadway Joe”.  Although we only glimpsed into the book, I learned some things about Namath I really hadn’t before.  The same held true in a recent interview with Upton Bell – Part 2 and Part 3.

Other books mentioned in this category.

Lamar Hunt – A Life in Sports by Michael MacCambridge

Chuck Noll – His Life’s Work by Michael MacCambridge

Vince Lombardi – When Pride Still Mattered by David Maraniss

FHD Shirt


This book is crazy expensive.  I can’t even give you an Amazon link, but I do have a link to The Football History Dude storefront if you are digging on that T-Shirt there (and there are many other items over there).  When he looked it up, the price was about $290 for a used book.  Dr. Clayton talks how it’s basically become the genuine bible for how to run a franchise and building a plan.  He mentioned how it’s somewhat of an MBA for coaches on how to build a team.  

Other books referenced in this category:

A Thinking Man’s Guide To Pro Football by Paul Zimmerman

The New Thinking Man’s Guide to Pro Football by Paul Zimmerman

A Season In The Life

This book is written like a diary, so it’s pretty cool to see what the NFL player goes through during their career.  If you want to get another perspective, I had a Jerry Kramer episode right before his enshrinement last year.

Another book recommended:

About Three Bricks Shy – And the Load Filled Up by Roy Blount Jr.


This is one of those books that “exposes” the league.  Dave Meggyesy talked of racism, gambling, and other issues going on in the league that he wasn’t happy to be a part of.  The book is one of the first to come out against the NFL like this.

Other books in this category:

League of Denial – The NFL, Concussions, and the Battle For Truth by Mark Fainaru-Wada

They Call It A Game by Bernie Parrish

About the author, Arnie Chapman

My name is Arnie Chapman, and I am the host of The Football History Dude, a podcast dedicated to teaching fans about the rich history of the NFL. The show officially launched on 4/15/18, and I have not looked back. I have always been passionate about football, and learning about the history of the game has intrigued me, as well. I'm asking you to come along with me on my DeLorean to travel back in time and learn about the yesteryear of the gridiron. To get started, you can go to my website for more details.


  1. […] If you have not listened to Clayton's first episode covering his first five categories for his best books about football, I suggest you do […]

  2. […] you check out the episode to hear his take on each book, and head on over to my page titled Best Books About Football – Clayton Trutor (Part 1). I provide a quick overview of what he discussed, as well as some links out to the various […]

  3. Clayton Trutor Interview - Part 2 on 07/29/2019 at 9:23 PM

    […] you have not listened the first part of the interview, titled Best Books About Football – Clayton Trutor Interview (Part 1). I recommend you check out the episode to hear his take on each book, and […]

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