Required Reading

I would never claim to be the best – or even one of the best – football writers or thinkers on the planet. However, I know great work when I see it, and I think it is important to share that with readers in an accessible location. Below you will find a list of required reading on various NFL related topics, and the list will only grow as more incredible pieces are created. Happy learning!

Talent Evaluation and the Draft

How to watch game film

Player college-to-pro transition 1

Player college-to-pro transition 2

The Wonderlic 1

The Wonderlic 2

Fatal flaws of prospects

Organizational Strategy

Overhauling the scouting department

Building a team from scratch

Implementing analytics

Analytics to supplement coaching

Success without a franchise quarterback

The dangers of an average quarterback

Bricklayers vs. Gladiators

Overcoming generational genius 1

Overcoming generational genius 2

NFL History

Chronology of professional football

Fate and the West Coast Offense

League structure and format 1

League structure and format 2

The American Football League

Xs & Os and In-game Strategy

Bill Walsh on quarterbacking

When to begin 4-minute offense

Fourth down strategy 1

Fourth down strategy 2

Fourth down strategy 3

Fourth down strategy 4 (over a decade old, but important as a foundational document)

Explaining risky fourth down decisions

Intentionally allowing a touchdown

Risk aversion and win maximization late in games

High variance strategy for underdogs

Establishing the Run

Football Myths

Run to win and other misconceptions

Turnovers are turnovers

Brian Burke’s 3-part study on momentum: 1, 2, and 3

Field goal range

Icing the kicker

Establishing the run is important in the modern NFL: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Who owns sacks and pressures?

Thinking About the Game (or just thinking)

Emotion in football (I recommend reading with the Burke momentum pieces above)

Increased opportunity for highly drafted players

Usage rates for offensive versus defensive players

Lack of correlation between combine performance and NFL productivity

Instincts versus analytics

Stop Thinking Like a GM; Start Thinking Like a Player

The GOAT Debate

Pre-modern Quarterbacks

Quarterbacks, statistically, 1

Quarterbacks, statistically, 2

Wide Receivers

Kick Returners 1

Kick Returners 2

Punt Returners


Weather Effects on Passing

Sacks versus Pressure

Interior versus Edge Pressure

The Value of Coverage and Receiving

Pass Rush versus Coverage: 1 & 2

Punting Value versus Punting Skill

When to Go for Two: 1, 2, and 3

Pass Blocking Matters More than Pass Rushing


A wide array of football literature as compiled and recommended by Chris Wesseling

DIY Analytics

Basic nflscrapr Tutorial

nflscrapR’s EPA and WAR Methodology