The 1970’s Pittsburgh Steelers are an iconic dynasty in the modern era of professional football. Typically defense wins championships and Pittsburgh had some of the best defensive players ever to don pads and cleats. But they also had some playmakers on the offensive side of the ball like Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, and John Stallworth. And let’s give Terry Bradshaw his due for slowly becoming a team leader and competent enough quarterback to lead the Steelers to four Super Bowls in six years.
Gary Pomerantz has gone back and takes a look at this dynastic team from the point of view of the players who made it all happen all those many years ago. You can truly see the deep bond many of the players developed for a lifetime, particularly on the defensive side the ball, and the importance of that team’s legacy to the not just the players, but the city of Pittsburgh itself.
Central to the book is how Franco Harris became so deeply ingrained in the community becoming a local hero, philanthropist, and businessman. He also talks about some of the more tragic stories such as the unfortunate decline in health, both physical and mental, of Mike Webster, one of the best centers ever to play the game. And the great affection and brotherhood that marked the best defensive line in NFL history – Mean Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood, Dwight White, and Crazy Ernie Holmes comes to life as they remember the glory of the past.
Pomerantz was a journalist who covered the Steeler’s in the seventies. One of the oddest comments in the books introduction is this disillusion with professional football because of brain trauma and the recent studies about the plight of many former players. Fair enough. Thankfully the book is well balanced and doesn’t drone on about this topic other than when discussion Mike Webster.
For any football fan this is a book well worth reading and it is a must read for Pittsburgh Steeler’s fans.