Dec 13, 2013 — The players that year faced a sobering new reality: The nation was at war, and they'd soon leave the football field behind for the battlefield. In All American, author Steve Eubanks recalls that game through the eyes of two players — Army quarterback Chad Jenkins and Navy linebacker Brian Stann.
Nov 23, 2013 — Writer Nicholas Dawidoff spent a year living with the New York Jets and came away with a respect for players and coaches that not all fans will like. NPR's Mike Pesca says Dawidoff's new book, Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football, demystifies the game as it entrances.
Sep 24, 2013 — Despite pro football's sky-high profits, taxpayers subsidize the industry with $1 billion each year. In The King of Sports, Gregg Easterbrook argues for some serious reforms, including incentives for college graduation rates and a new approach to youth football leagues.
Aug 12, 2013 — In softcover nonfiction, Bryan Mealer tells the story of a Florida town obsessed with football; Anne Applebaum examines the communist regimes of Eastern Europe; and Leon Hendrix remembers his legendary brother, Jimi.
Oct 24, 2012 — Over the past generation, Belle Glade Central High School in Belle Glade, Fla., has sent 30 players to the NFL. The school is proud of that record, but it might have come at a cost. Bryan Mealer's Muck City spotlights the stories of players, their families, their coach and a town that struggles to win a spot on the field — and life.
Nov 8, 2011 — Bob Costas talks to Robert Siegel about his new book, the history of football, and what's really our "national pastime."
Nov 22, 2010 — The BCS — the current system of bowl games — uses computer formulas and polling to pick the top teams in college football. The bowl commission argues that the current setup makes every game important. But many sports fans argue it's time for playoffs in college football.
Feb 4, 2010 — During his nine years as the coach of the Baltimore Ravens, Brian Billick led the team to a Super Bowl win in 2001. Now a commentator for Fox Sports and the NFL Network, he joins Fresh Air to discuss the upcoming Super Bowl — and the future of the NFL.
Nov 30, 2008 — ESPN football reporter Sal Paolantonio has a new book out, purporting to examine "How Football Explains America." As he tells host Liane Hansen, the way the rules are constructed lends the sport a uniquely American mythos.
Apr 11, 2007 — Guest host Dave Davies talks with Peter Berg, executive producer of NBC's Friday Night Lights, who also directed and co-wrote the 2004 film of the same title. Both are adapted from H.G. Bissinger's book about the high-stakes world of Texas high-school football. The TV series, which won a Peabody Award, ends its first season tonight.