[caption id="attachment_26454" align="aligncenter" width="471"] Amazon.com[/caption] Offseason Blues is a new series helping our readers cope with the NFL offseason. When you're sick of hearing about Terrell Chad Tebow's latest sexcapade, PR flub or prison term check Offseason Blues for some Grade A NFL-related distractions leading into the preseason. The best thing a NFL fan can do during the offseason -- other than watch game replays on NFL Game Pass -- is improve their understand of the game, its history and characters. With this in mind, here's our top five NFL books currently available on the shelves. 5. "The Blind Side" - Michael Lewis Forget the movie, well, it's pretty good. But the book is actually about the rise of the left tackle as one of the most important positions on the football field. Lewis has a talent for not only explaining the history of something, but connecting it to a very human story. In the case of this book this is of course the story of Michael Oher. That isn't to say it's an emotional rollercoaster, it's still very much concerned with the evolution of the game itself, from high-powered passing offences, to the rise of the pass rusher to the necessity of the left tackle. Lewis maps out the changing history of the NFL. 4. "When Pride Still Mattered: Lombardi" - David Maraniss Everybody should know everything they can about the great Vince Lombardi, and Maraniss' book is arguably the best there is. "When Pride Still Mattered" focuses on the man behind the myth, beginning with his childhood, college years and all the way to Titletown. Lombardi wasn't just a coach, espousing the virtues of discipline, perseverance and hard work. He was a man, a father, son and husband. Maraniss gives his flaws just as much attention as his virtues, and draws from all aspects of the great coach's life to create a complete picture of the legend. 3. "America's Game" - Michael MacCambridge All fans should read this complete history of the NFL, mapping out both its humble origins and meteoric rise in the US. MacCambridge does a terrific job mixing in first-hand accounts of some of the most interesting and significant events and periods in league history. The strength of his book is the depth, covering 60 years of pro football from the World War II years to the last decade. An excellent introduction to the history of the league but also a book bound to entertain and educate those already very familiar with the turbulent and surprising rise of the NFL. 2. "Take Your Eye Off The Ball" - Pat Kirwan Kirwan's book provides a full guide of almost every aspect of the modern NFL team, with detailed explanations of every aspect of the game on and off the field. It preaches that in most cases the most important plays happen off the ball, and by learning how to see every aspect of the game a fan can get even more enjoyment out of it. Kirwan's personal experience shines though as he explains key aspects of the game including personnel groups, scouting and how a team trains and prepares every week. He not only explains the way things are in a modern NFL organisation, but why they are that way. 1. "Smart Football" - Chris B. Brown Brown's book should be considered required reading for any NFL fan -- or player, coach and manager even -- who wants to understand the origins and makeups of some of American football's most potent strategies and schemes. Smart Football does a terrific job breaking down the evolution of a scheme in a way that's easy to understand for even somebody with just a casual interest in the game. For those hardcore few who already have a strong knowledge of the game, Brown provides everything they need to enrich their football knowledge without oversimplifying. Smart Football doesn't just break down the plays, their weakness and strengths, but also puts their development into context, showing the reader not just how something like the spread offence came to be, but why. Other Reads: I also strongly suggest you check out Bill Wash's "Finding the Winning Edge" and Buzz Bissinger's "Friday Night Lights" (about a highschool football team I know, but still an important read). What do you think? Have any NFL books you think are worth a read?