When I was growing up I played baseball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and lacrosse. I also ran triathlons and was a regular mountain biker and gymnast. For some reason, football never appealed to me. I didn’t even like watching it on tv until I was in college. So, I missed out on a lot of the fundamental of the game. While I obviously had a lot of interest in sports, the football lack of knowledge felt like a glaring deficit. Also, my friends almost always beat me on Madden on Xbox. To try and get a better understanding of the game I grabbed this book from the library. It’s arranged a little weirdly (at least the version I read), but overall it’s really helpful in understanding the basics of an ever-evolving sport.
Most helpful for me are Howie Long’s descriptions of the linemen’s positions and duties and the basics of defenses. We all know about quarterbacks, running backs, and tight ends, but understanding what the other players on the field are doing (MOST of the players, in fact) gives a whole new appreciation of how important teamwork and coordination and deception can be for successful teams. I also appreciated learning the basic routes that receivers run, although there are so many names for similar things and plays change so much that I’m not sure I retained all of that as much.
If you’re interested in becoming a more than a surface-level football fan then this book is not a bad place to start. There are also some helpful YouTube videos bringing some of the things you’ll learn in this book to life (not from Howie Long, just an extra piece of advice).