8+ Best Memoirs and Biographies of NFL Players (Ranked) For 2023
A lot of people think they know everything about the NFL, but they don't know anything until they've read an NFL memoir.
The National Football League, also known as the NFL is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams from the United States. The NFL is considered the premier league in North America. And one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada.
Many of the NFL players have become celebrities in their own right and have written a number of books.
How Do We Selected The NFL Books?
When we are looking for the best NFL memoirs and biographies to read, we kept the following things in mind. First, we look for books that have been well-reviewed by both critics and readers.
We tried to find books that offer an insider's view of the game, rather than a more general history or publicly available data.
We made sure to choose books that are enjoyable to read, even if they don't necessarily offer deep insights into the sport.
If you're a football fan, then this may be the list you've been looking for. This is a roundup of the best NFL memoirs and biographies. It's a list of the biggest names in the NFL and the best books they have written. We tried to collect the best NFL memoirs here. Primary first hand accounts, so players and coaches are favored.
What Are The Most Prominent NFL Memoirs and Biographies?
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09 Football Done Right, by Michael Lombardi (2023)
Michael Lombardi takes an in-depth look at the history and culture of the NFL, discussing its most legendary players and coaches. It's not primary about his life and career, but I thought that it may give a broader insight into the world of NFL. Drawing from his extensive experience in various roles within the league, Lombardi delves into the mechanics of drafts, trades, and the roles of sportscasters in popularizing the sport. Beyond simply ranking the greats, the book serves as an exhaustive celebration of the NFL, re-imagining the Football Hall of Fame to honor deserving athletes and coaches and offering fans a comprehensive understanding of the factors that have shaped the game.
Lombardi's work aims to be more than just a historical review, it also addresses ongoing debates and conversations that dominate fan discussions long after the games have ended. Whether it's identifying the greatest player of all time, the coaches who have had the most impact, or the most memorable games, Football Done Right provides data-driven arguments infused with first-hand experiences. The book is intended to enrich the way fans watch, discuss, and debate the world of professional football, making it a must-read for anyone invested in the sport.
08 The Point After, by Sean Conley
The Point After is an all-access look at the NFL, one of the most intense workplaces in sports. Conley describes pushing through pain at NFL training camps, surrounded by rookies, All-Pro veterans, and long-shot undrafted free agents, all hell-bent on staying in the game. He recounts the insecurities he dealt with on and off the field, and the despair that overtook him when his career ended.
But while Conley thought life was over, it was just beginning. Transcending football, this is the story of an ex–football player who discovered the true meaning of sports and life, and found happiness in the most unexpected way. Embodying the spirit of the underdog, this is a moving tale of strength, determination, and spiritual grit.
07 Coming Back Stronger: Unleashing the Hidden Power of Adversity, by Drew Brees
Coming Back Stronger is the ultimate comeback story, not only of one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks. But also of a city and a team that many had all but given up on. Brees’s inspiring message of hope and encouragement proves that with enough faith, determination, and heart.
The story of Drew Brees, the Saints, and the city of New Orleans is inspiring. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a movie about that sometime. I'm glad God chose Drew Brees to be part of that story. He's a great man with an inspiring personality.
You can overcome any obstacle life throws your way and not only come back, but come back stronger.
06 Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile, by Nate Jackson
Nate Jackson takes us into the trenches of professional football, where he worked long hours for little pay, partied with teammates to mask the pain of injuries, and suffered a paralyzing collision that left him wondering if he would ever walk again.
His journey is an unforgettable portrait of life in the NFL—the camaraderie, the pride, and the beer-soaked battles on Sunday afternoons—as well as a testament to perseverance in the face of daunting odds.
In the span of the book, I learned more about Mike Shanahan as well as some others in the Bronco's household. It was definitely exciting to listen to him talk about different perspectives, and at the same time, I was astonished by the various types of abuse that some Bronco players had to endure.
05 Believe It, by Nick Foles
Nick Foles is an NFL quarterback who played for the Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams, and Kansas City Chiefs. He was drafted by the Eagles in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He played college football at Arizona State University.
Believe It offers a behind-the-scenes look at Nick’s unlikely path to the Super Bowl. The obstacles that threatened to hold him back, his rediscovery of his love for the game, and the faith that grounded him through it all.
Learn from the way Nick handled the trials and tribulations that made him into the man he is today―and discover a path to your own success.
04 Relentless, by Julian Edelman
The Super Bowl champion wide receiver for the New England Patriots shares his inspiring story of an underdog kid who was always doubted to becoming one of the most reliable and inspiring players in the NFL.
When the Patriots were down 28-3 in Super Bowl LI, there was at least one player who refused to believe they would lose: Julian Edelman. And he said so. It wasn't only because of his belief in his teammates, led by the master of the comeback.
His friend and quarterback Tom Brady-or the coaching staff run by the legendary Bill Belichick. It was also because he had been counted out in most of his life and career, and he had proved them all wrong.
This NFL biography about Tom Brady is one of the most eye-opening, behind the curtain book that I ever read about the Super Bowl winner sportsman.
03 QB: My Life Behind the Spiral, by Steve Young
Young, one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks of all time, tells his story in a way no football player ever has before. He describes what it's like to play with pain and injury; how he learned to be a leader; who taught him the importance of faith. And why he believes the single most important factor for success is not physical ability but mental toughness – and how anyone can develop it.
The result is both an extraordinary portrait of one man's life and an inspiring lesson on the power of perseverance.
I absolutely loved learning more about Steve Young. His battle with anxiety was particularly helpful for me, as I also struggles with anxiety sometimes.
02 My Life on the Line, by Ryan O'Callaghan
The New York Times bestseller chronicles Ryan O'Callaghan's journey from a young boy in California, playing college football at Berkeley, and then for five years in the NFL with two different teams before coming out publicly in 2014.
It's not everyday that a player comes out as gay after retirement. My Life on the Line is an intimate memoir of former NFL lineman, his struggles with identity and sexuality, and his decision to live a more authentic life.
If you decide to pick this book up, I advise including at least a few boxes of tissues to your shopping cart. The tragic tale of Ryan O'Callaghan is heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time, it exposes the darker aspects of football.
01 The Dynasty, by Jeff Benedict
The New England Patriots were the most dominant team in NFL history. They won five Super Bowls, fourteen AFC East titles, eight conference championships, and fifteen division titles—more than any other team in pro football history.
In this gripping narrative, Jeff Benedict reveals the factors that have propelled Patriots from perennial doormat to a shining dynasty. The Patriots’ rise is not just about luck or an infallible coach in Bill Belichick. It’s also about players buying in completely to a culture of winning and how they are motivated to put football before everything else in their lives.
This is an extremely well written book for those who love those details that you couldn't find anywhere else.
Who Are The Most Iconic NFL Players or Coaches?
Tom Brady is an American football quarterback who plays for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL). He is one of only two players to win five Super Bowls (the other being Charles Haley), and he is the only player to win them all with a single team.
Brady has also been named Super Bowl MVP four times, more than any other player in NFL history. He is a seven-time Super Bowl champion, having won Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX, LI, LIII, and LV. He has also been selected to 14 Pro Bowls.
Born in San Mateo, California, Brady was raised in a family of sports fans. His father, Tom Sr., was a quarterback at Serra High School in San Mateo and his mother, Galynn Patricia (née Johnson), played multiple sports growing up. Brady began playing football when he was eight years old, and his performance improved rapidly under the tutelage of his father and older brothers Charlie and Doug.
Relentless is a great book that tells his story (see above).
In 1957, Lombardi became head coach of the Green Bay Packers for nine seasons. Under his leadership, the Packers won five NFL championships and two Super Bowls. Lombardi was named Coach of the Year twice and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971.
Lombardi began his coaching career at St. Cecilia High School in Englewood, New Jersey. He then served as an assistant coach at West Point for five years before becoming head coach of the New York Giants in 1948. In 1954, he returned to West Point as head coach.
Peyton Manning is a former professional football player who played for the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL). He is a two-time Super Bowl champion, and was named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLI. He is also the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards and touchdown passes.
After retiring from football in March of 2016, Manning became an analyst for ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown. In September of that same year, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Born on March 24, 1976 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Manning was raised in a family of athletes. His father Archie was a former NFL quarterback, and his brother Eli is currently a quarterback for the New York Giants. Peyton Manning attended Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, where he played football and baseball.
My Favorite Quotes from NFL Players and Coaches
When you’re good at something, you’ll tell everyone. When you’re great at something, they’ll tell you.
“Your TALENT determines what you can do. Your MOTIVATION determines how much you are willing to do. Your ATTITUDE determines how well you do it.”
The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work.
If you ain’t pissed off for greatness, that just means you’re okay with being mediocre.
Success isn't owned. It's leased and rent is due every day.
—J. J. Watt
Winning isn't getting ahead of OTHERS. It's getting ahead of YOURSELF.
Final Thoughts on our selection of NFL Memoirs and Biographies
These are the best memoirs and biographies of NFL players. With these sports books, you can finally get a real insight about your favorite NFL players. We hope that you enjoyed our list, if you would like to add any other great sports books to this list, please feel free to submit them on Goodreads.
If you are into golf, check also our favorite golf books for players.
My profession is online marketing and development (10+ years experience), check my latest mobile app called Upcoming or my Chrome extensions for ChatGPT. But my real passion is reading books both fiction and non-fiction. I have several favorite authors like James Redfield or Daniel Keyes. If I read a book I always want to find the best part of it, every book has it's unique value.