The Essential Smart Football

The Essential Smart Football (available here for Kindle), a bestseller, is an examination of football’s most important strategies and ideas, through the lens of the game’s best coaches, players, and schemes. Brilliantly written and eschewing unnecessary jargon and technicality, it makes a major contribution to our understanding of football to help all of us — coaches, players, and fans — appreciate the game we love all the more.

The Essential Smart Football

The Essential Smart Football features analysis of football’s top strategists and their schemes, including:

  • Urban Meyer’s spread offense
  • Tom Brady’s no-huddle attack
  • Bill Belichick’s hybrid defense
  • Mike Leach’s pass-happy “Air Raid” offense
  • The most popular scheme for running the ball in the NFL
  • Nick Saban’s school of defense.

The book also includes explorations of modern approaches to the West Coast Offense, evolutions in defensive fronts and coverages, the changing role of the running game in spread and pro-style offenses, and much more.


Purchase The Essential Smart Football


Amazing how much football knowledge Brown, a lawyer and sportswriter (you may know him from his smart takes on football at, fittingly, @smartfootball on Twitter), packs into 139 pages. He sets out to explain how football, which often looks to be a street fight, is actually more of a chess match. His premise: Football works because it teaches us that, as in life, you’ve often got to play as part of a team and you’ve got to get up after getting knocked down.

… Often, many of you ask me for a good, educational football book to read… Now I’ll tell you to buy The Essential Smart Football, for one simple reason: It’s going to make you and dads in this world a lot smarter about football.