This summer has offered football fans a host of stories to whet our appetites for the start of the 2014 NFL season. Johnny Manziel’s struggles to achieve maturity and NFL acceptance have made great headlines, as have the drug problems of Manziel’s Cleveland Browns teammate Josh Gordon, who earned a year-long suspension for his troubles.
Riding in on that wave of anticipation for the season's kickoff (a Thursday, September 4, matchup between the Packers and the defending champion Seahawks), author Jeff Marcus has stepped up to the line to present the All-Time, All-Team Pro Football Quiz.
The book, just released by Taylor Trade Publishing, serves as a game-side compendium for the serious fan of football and football trivia. With sections covering every team in the league and the NFL in general, it seems to beg for a spot on the table between the nachos and the dip, a perfect go-to for commercial downtime during all Sunday football get-togethers.
The author was willing to answer a few questions about his book and take on the season to come.
Bleacher Report: Jeff, what inspired you to write a book of NFL trivia?
Jeff Marcus: I felt that fans would have fun testing their knowledge of their own teams and the sport in general. The last general football trivia book that I'm aware of was published in 1997, written by Bob Gill, a noted football historian and newspaper columnist...I felt it was time for a new one.
B/R: Trivia books tend to be far more common for baseball than football, don’t they?
JM: Yes, there are many more baseball trivia books. In part, this is because every player in baseball has statistics. In contrast, not everyone in football does…particularly offensive linemen and special teams players, where their only stat is games played. Yet according to most surveys, the NFL is the most popular team sport in this country, surpassing baseball many years ago.
B/R: Your trivia covers everything from the pre-Super Bowl era to today, and the difficulty level of the questions ranges from pretty easy to very hard. What kind of fan is the All-Time, All-Team Pro Football Quiz written for?
JM: Anyone from the casual fan to the self-proclaimed expert. A friend of mine took the book to a bar near Philadelphia and told me he and his friends had a lot of fun answering the Eagles section.
B/R: Is there a nugget of NFL trivia that’s your absolute favorite?
JM: Former U.S. President Gerald Ford was an All-American center from U-Michigan and probably would have been a first-round draft choice had the NFL instituted the draft a year or two earlier than they did. Ford's first job after college was as a high school football coach.
B/R: And what about your all-time favorite player? Do you have one?
JM: Probably Lawrence Taylor. That's as a football player, not necessarily as a role model.
B/R: I won’t ask who your favorite team is—that’s too polarizing. How about this: What’s your favorite team to root against?
JM: It's the Dallas Cowboys, which gives you an idea of what division my team is in.
Should Johnny Manziel be starting for the Browns?
B/R: And what about the year ahead? Any predictions?
JM: I'm not a great prognosticator. I'd be more accurate predicting the bottom teams rather than the top ones.
Marcus added that he didn’t see Manziel taking the Browns to the Super Bowl this year—looks like Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine feels the same way.
Jeff Marcus’ new book is available now from wherever books are sold.
You can follow Eric Brach on Twitter at @EBrachWrites.
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.