Review: Newton’s Football by Allen St. John and Ainissa G. Ramirez, Ph.D.  


I was supposed to read this two years ago when I first joined NetGalley. I just never got in the mood to read about football… until a couple of weeks ago when a near-and-dear-one started playing youth football. I figured this book might help me understand a few things, plus it appealed to the “I need to know how things work” geek in me. 

Well, it’s certainly a scientific book. I mean, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist, but it would help if you can remember some basic high school physics and math. It’s also definitely a football book. The authors interviewed athletes and coaches, they use football lingo, and they refer to historical football games and their importance in the evolution of football. 

I understood it on a basic level, but I certainly had LOTS of questions.  I interrogated my go-to football expert about the no-huddle, a nickel, declaring eligibility for receiving passes, and his personal thoughts about football plays that bent the rules.  Seriously. This book showed me how much I really don’t know about the game. 

Even though I’m not well-versed in the grid-iron world, Newton’s Football was FASCINATING. I especially loved the examples of how changing one little thing in one particilar game had ripple effects in subsequent football games. And I appreciated the discussion on proper tackling and helmet safety. (There’s some progressive thinking in those chapters!)

Reading Newton’s Football was work for me, mostly because I went in pretty clueless about plays and positions. But if you’re a football fan and you want a fresh perspective on the sport — or if you’re not but you’re bold and curious like me — go for it.