Dan Rooney: My 75 Years With the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Nfl Hardcover – Nov 5 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
The Rooneys are the Steelers in Pittsburgh, home of the championship team whose ferocious, far flung fans call themselves the Steelers Nation. Team manager Rooney, son of the Steelers's colorful founder Art "the Chief" Rooney, tells his life story, one inextricably tangled with the history of the National Football League: "Pro football was born on the muddy fields of Pittsburgh's North Side in 1892-just three blocks from where I was born 40 years later." Moreover, the Steelers themselves were born just a year after Rooney. Managing the team from the early days of television up through the present, Rooney has seen the "most critical issue facing the league" shift from "half-empty stadiums" to "labor relations." Tales of classic games and key figures are bolstered by interviews with legends like "Mean" Joe Greene and winning coach Chuck Noll, as well as current coach Mike Tomlin and others. Thanks to Rooney's own intimate, first-person accounts of legendary players, flamboyant personalities and never-ending politics, along with a concluding thumbnail history of each NFL franchise, this book is sure to score big points not just with the Steeler Nation but football fans nationwide.
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"Thank you, Dan Rooney, for giving us your best memories."--"Pro Football Weekly"See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Perhaps due to the scope, however, there is not a lot of detail about any particular era after this. Even the Superbowl teams of the seventies get a bit of a short shrift (less than a third of the book is devoted to this great team). Most of the stories, though, are less about the history of the team and more about personal anecdotes dealing with particular players and coaches. While this is mainly what I am interested in as a reader, I found that Mr. Rooney was fairly reluctant to say anything negative or controversial about his dear acquaintances. The book might have been better if there had been some more frank discussion about, say, the contentious relationship between Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw, for instance.
The book ends with several bland interviews with people associated with the Steelers and then a brief analysis of each NFL franchise by Rooney, punctuated by his (once again non-controversial) opinion of the current owner.
Nonetheless, this is a thoroughly enjoyable read, written in an engaging style with a good natural flow. The account provides a certain unique insight into the early days of the NFL. If you are a hard core Steeler or NFL fan, you will enjoy this retrospective.
Read more at paulmcrae.ca.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book is the autobiography of Dan Rooney, the son of the "The Chief", Art Rooney Sr. the founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Dan, whose 75 years of life coincides with the historical growth of the National Football League (NFL) from a rough scrabble "seat of the pants" operation to becoming the most popular game in America, in addition to becoming a multi-billion dollar enterprise.
The beauty of the author's storytelling is that despite Dan being a Pittsburgh Steeler all his life, his story is told with total honesty and compassion for all sides (teams) involved. Dan came from an Irish Catholic family and when I read about his youth, I closed my eyes, and as I imagined a movie being made about his life, I could only imagine one actor in the history of the cinema that would be perfectly cast in the lead role... "Jimmy Cagney"! Dan takes us from his childhood which included him being at the knees of NFL legends such as Papa Bear Halas, Bert Bell and other NFL founders who now all reside as does Dan in the Hall Of Fame, all the way through to the Steelers' five Super Bowl Championships. What gives this story so much more emotional impact than most biographies, is the reader can't fail but notice how unflinchingly Dan admits his and his team's mistakes as easily and as openly as most biographers gloat about their successes. To me one of the most endearing traits of Dan's is how many times he agonizes on how the Steelers' didn't keep, in his own words; "THE GREATEST QUARTERBACK OF ALL-TIME JOHNNY UNITAS!" They drafted him but never gave "Johnny U" a chance, then cut him. And the rest is history!
In the first few pages of the book Dan says that on December 23, 1972 with 22 seconds left on the clock in a game between the Oakland Raiders and his beloved Steelers that "THE MOST INCREDIBLE PLAY HE EVER SAW" took place: "THE IMMACULATE RECEPTION!" Over 200 pages later he states: "I BELIEVE THE IMMACULATE RECEPTION IS THE SINGLE GREATEST PLAY IN NFL HISTORY!"
By the end of this book, the reader realizes that you've gotten to know a unique individual, that despite being in a most competitive business is known for his dignity and integrity. When I finished reading Dan's story, I realized I read much more than the sports biography I thought I was going to read. What this book really is, is an open love letter to Dan's family, to the people of Pittsburgh, the State Of Pennsylvania, the Steeler players and fans, and to all NFL fans in the world. If you want to learn the history of the NFL this is the book for you. Or if you're simply tired of reading about all the spoiled, pampered, criminal elements in sports today, and want to simply read about a good man, then you've hit the "mother-lode" with this book.
Alice Gess, Holyoke, MA
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