The Sporting South

The Art of Football

By Jessica MischnerJanuary 5, 2012

Let me be clear: I rarely, and I mean rarely, get excited about anything having to do with football. Sure, I love the fall and tailgating and college sports as much as the next self-respecting Southern lass, but professional football might as well be cricket for all I know or care about it. But I've discovered a new-found appreciation for the history of the sport thanks to Guts & Glory, Taschen's new coffee table compendium of the most beautiful shots in the history of professional football taken by Neil Leifer, one of the most famous sports photographers to ever tote a camera.

Every page is more compelling than the next, with the players, coaches, games, and iconic moments that have made the sport an endemic part of American life writ large and glossy and refreshingly unphotoshopped. It's gutsy and glorious and dirty and real–not unlike, I suppose, the game itself.