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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 2 2010
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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 .
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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!
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.
There are passages of the book that are evocative and heartbreaking, but all in all, this is a good read that could have been a great one.
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.)