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The Ones Who Hit the Hardest: The Steelers, the Cowboys, the '70s, and the Fight for America's Soul Hardcover – Sep 7 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham (Sept. 7 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592405762
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592405763
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #798,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Chad Millman a deputy editor at ESPN The Magazine, is the author of The Detonators and The Odds and co-author of Invincible and Pickup Artists. He lives in Montclair, NJ with his wife and two sons. Visit his website at www.chadmillman.com .

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By Brian Maitland TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 6 2011
Format: Hardcover
The concept of this book is great looking at the Pittsburgh Steelers and, to a lesser extent, their main Super Bowl rivals, the Dallas Cowboys with the steel industry of Pennsylvania given its due in here to understand the era and th rivalry with the Cowboys.

The problem is, if you have seen the America's Game TV series that was broadcast on the NFL Network or have watched the DVDs of both teams' Super Bowl seasons, then you'll find a lot of this repetitive. Many of the quotes in here are from that series so don't seem fresh at all. Why didn't the authors go and interview many of the main protagonists who are still alive (Cowboys' coach Tom Landry and Steelers' center Mike Webster excepted)? It seemed they relied too much on quotes from past publications. That's fine for the neophyte just learning about the era but not for anyone who grew up on '70s NFL football.

The weaving of the steel industry's fights with its union is fascinating as well as the description of what life was like in the company towns near Pittsburgh. It gave a fuller picture but one huge problem is the authors do not finish that story. It basically ends abruptly with the last union leadership election result. Could they not explain how the US steel industry thereafter pretty much disappeared completely and how the Pittsburgh diaspora was spread across the nation. This makes any Steelers' road game now almost like a home game in many stadiums due to these loyal followers forced to leave Western Pennsylvania for hobs elsewhere.

Also, the stuff on the Cowboys (and on local Pittsburgh area native Tony Dorsett) was great from an explanation of how the team used computer analysis to draft such excellent teams.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 41 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Loved this one Sept. 13 2010
By Paul G - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I'm a Steelers freak, and I thought I knew a lot about Bradshaw, Franco, Swan, Jack L and the rest of the crew. But I didn't--not until I read TOWHTH. The background on the coaching and ownership side was fascinating. I also loved the Pittsburgh history, especially the stuff about the growth and collapse of the steel industry, and the corresponding demise of the union. It really gave me a sense of the desperation with which these guys played ball--not just to feed their families but also to honor the underdog who was getting his head kicked in during the 70's: the working man. When you're a kid, you see these gladiators on tv, and you think they're all millionaires, but many had second jobs. And as somebody who loved to hate Dallas, I found that side of the story remarkable as well. My worst fears were confirmed--The Cowboys were a money machine--but I found a new appreciation for them, especially in Tom Landry. I'd thought he was a cold-blooded pragmatist, but he was much more nuanced than I'd imagined. And again, not every Cowboy was a millionaire, I learned. Many came from Steelers-type backgrounds. I think my favorite parts were when Shawn Coyne's family history ties into the major events going on at the time. It gave the book a "you are there" feel. Seriously great read--and a fast one too.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Interesting view of a city and how its team helped it survive rough times Nov. 11 2010
By R. C Sheehy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The ones who hit the hardest is a fascinating view of how the Pittsburgh Steelers because perpetual doormats and losers and rose to become one of the NFL's great franchises. The story telling is straight forward and direct and tells the story concisely and with some flair. The writing is interesting and crisp and is told from a home town perspective so don't expect an unbiased story here.

I liked the angel focusing on the steelworkers and how the union was struggling just as the Steelers were emerging as a powerhouse. I find the one glaring error in this story is that there is no post script to tell us how things ended up for the majority of the Steelers players, the union leaders and the steel industry itself. That in my mind is the major weakness of this book.

All in all a good and enjoyable book. One I am sure Steeler fans will enjoy!
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
The good guys won (twice) Sept. 4 2010
By Felicity - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a good read for any Steelers fan, but particularly those of us who grew up in the 70's and watched this team grow to dominate the NFL.

The authors do a good job of explaining how Chuck Noll's unique personality and drive were instrumental in building the Steelers dynasty. The football narrative smoothly interweaves with the decline of the steel industry and its impact on Pittsburgh. The chapters contrasting the origins and development of the Cowboys provide enough detail to reinforce my dislike of "America's Team". Landry was uptight and unable to connect with his players, and the Cowboys had some jerks like Cliff Harris and Thomas Henderson. The good guys definitely did win in Super Bowls 10 and 13.

The only issue I had with the book was that there were times when I felt like I was reading transcripts from NFL Films and the "America's Game" series in particular. Some of the quotes and anecdotes were direct lifts from those shows. Which is ironic since the authors actually manage to get their facts wrong in places (for instance, Cliff Harris didn't give Terry Bradshaw the concussion in SB10, nor did Roger Staubach's final pass that game fall incomplete - it was intercepted by Glenn Edwards). A little more original research, some new interviews and better fact-checking would have made this good book really great.

The 70's Steelers were a once-in-a-lifetime team, where the good guys (Rooneys, Noll) managed to assemble a tremendous group of athletes who beat some fine but flawed teams - especially the self-promoting Cowboys.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
America's Game DVDs already cover much of this. May 7 2011
By Brian Maitland - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The concept of this book is great looking at the Pittsburgh Steelers and, to a lesser extent, their main Super Bowl rivals, the Dallas Cowboys with the steel industry of Pennsylvania given its due in here to understand the era and th rivalry with the Cowboys.

The problem is, if you have seen the America's Game TV series that was broadcast on the NFL Network or have watched the DVDs of both teams' Super Bowl seasons, then you'll find a lot of this repetitive. Many of the quotes in here are from that series so don't seem fresh at all. Why didn't the authors go and interview many of the main protagonists who are still alive (Cowboys' coach Tom Landry and Steelers' center Mike Webster excepted)? It seemed they relied too much on quotes from past publications. That's fine for the neophyte just learning about the era but not for anyone who grew up on '70s NFL football.

The weaving of the steel industry's fights with its union is fascinating as well as the description of what life was like in the company towns near Pittsburgh. It gave a fuller picture but one huge problem is the authors do not finish that story. It basically ends abruptly with the last union leadership election result. Could they not explain how the US steel industry thereafter pretty much disappeared completely and how the Pittsburgh diaspora was spread across the nation. This makes any Steelers' road game now almost like a home game in many stadiums due to these loyal followers forced to leave Western Pennsylvania for hobs elsewhere.

Also, the stuff on the Cowboys (and on local Pittsburgh area native Tony Dorsett) was great from an explanation of how the team used computer analysis to draft such excellent teams. The problem is that detailed information just goes to the wayside when discussing the two Cowboys teams that meet the Steelers in the Super Bowls.

I could also add the better "rivalry" during the era was with the Oakland Raiders given the Raiders had to go through the Steelers and vice versa almost every playoff season. The Cowboys, of course, played in the NFC and really their main rival was the Washington Redskins.

The book is definitely worth reading to hear about some things that were not widely known back in the '70s--the Steelers' use of steroids (and all teams really but it was never reported on in those days), the Rooneys' family dynamic and why Art was loved by Steeler fans even through all the losing seasons prior to coach Chuck Noll's hiring. The problem I had with it was it could have been far more than what the authors came up with. In parts it's way too superficial, especially in brushing over playoff years and zipping through these so-called great matchups with the Cowboys. I never got the feel of the games which is the crux of the whole rivalry.

Honestly, read this and then watch the America's Game DVDs on the teams. You tell me which worked better.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Seventies, Smash-Mouth Style Sept. 28 2010
By Steven Pressfield - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Seventies were so thoroughly and unrelievedly awful that many or most of the memories one treasures of them are of sporting events: the literally incredible Ali-Foreman rumble in the jungle, Reggie Jackson's three home runs in one game against the Dodgers in the World Series ... and most of all, for me, Super Bowl XIII between the Steelers and the Cowboys on January 21, 1979. It was and remains the best Super Bowl in history. (The good news: I watched it with a houseful of our friends and neighbors in our new home in Brooklyn Heights, dandling on my lap my four-month-old son--the baby they told us we couldn't have--and I had the Steelers. The bad news, as every red-blooded American male of a certain age cannot forget: the Steelers didn't cover the spread.)

Imagine, then, my inexpressible joy at discovering Chad Millman's and Shawn Coyne's genuinely great new book, "The Ones Who Hit The Hardest: The Steelers, the Cowboys, the '70s, and the Fight for America's Soul." The Seventies, you'll remember, was the decade of the great decline in heavily-unionized commodity manufacturing--nowhere more dramatically than in the steel mills of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. And those years saw the coming of the Sunbelt: the middle class, corporate ascendancy most perfectly symbolized by Dallas. Thus, the rise of the Steelers and the Cowboys to face each other as the decade ended is not just a great football story; it is something in the nature of a sociological study, with one way of life passing and the other coming into its own.

Millman and Coyne follow the development of pro football as it came to the forefront of American life, through the rise of the AFL and its eventual merger with the NFL; they then home in on the starkly different styles and personalities of the Steelers and the Cowboys against the background of the contrasting fortunes of the cities they fought for. (Shawn Coyne is a native of Pittsburgh, and his dad, Steelworkers' union official Pay Coyne, Sr., is as much a character in this story as are Art Rooney, Terry Bradshaw and Joe Greene--to marvelous effect.) This is a simply beautiful book, a must-read for everyone who remembers the times, as well as for those who ought to know more about them. It's not just for the football fan--though it is certainly for him or her--nor for Pittsburghers or Texans. It's for everyone who treasures good sportswriting--and even good writing, period.

[This review was written by Nick Murray and published in the current 9/27/10 edition of his Newsletter, NMI. It's only credited to Steven Pressfield at the top because SP did the posting from his computer and that's how Amazon's software works. Nick, I ain't trying to steal no credit from you, baby! (And I love "The Ones Who Hit The Hardest" too.)


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