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‘The Casual Guide to Football:’ Book Review

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved sports. Growing up in the Midwest, it was a way of life. Saturdays were for watching my beloved Michigan Wolverines play football, and Sundays were spent watching every NFL game that was available to us. But over the years, I’ve realized something: Sports, and football in particular, are difficult to explain. That is even more true when trying to speak to someone who barely knows anything about the sport. So, when I found out that there was a book dedicated to explaining my favorite sport to those who don’t know anything about it, I was pretty excited. Thankfully, author Matthew England took on the task.

The Casual Guide to Football focuses on the simplest of terms: how the sport works, the names and roles of each player on both sides of the ball, how offense and defense work, and many other major aspects boiled down to their simplest of terms. While I, as a fan of the sport, just happen to know how everything goes without even thinking, this is invaluable to those who haven’t watched the game.

This book has a plethora of good information, but I must caution those looking to this book to get a grasp on football: It’s a lot to take in. While I think this guide is an incredible tool for those who want to learn, there’s so much information here that I believe it should be read in parts. Take in a section, apply it to a game, and then take on another section. If read in large chunks, the book begins to lose its value a bit, as the wide swath of information begins to feel less like a helpful guide and more like several paragraphs of complicated wording that comes at you all at once.

That may be the issue with guides such as this. It’s kind of a double-edged sword. While it needs to be in a handy, easy-to-read guide to help teach, that can also make it tougher to digest unless chopped up into smaller portions.

I think England did the best job anyone could ask for when trying to come up with a handy guide to the sport. It just might not be totally feasible in book form. The book, even for someone who knows a lot about the sport, felt like it was a bit hard to get through. For someone without prior knowledge, it might even be more complex.

That being said, this is the best guide I’ve seen so far. While not perfect, it’s a great start. Just heed the warnings of taking this book in pieces, and any to-be fan of football will be in much better shape and far less confused about the intricacies of the game.


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