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Old 10-27-2013, 09:45 AM   #1
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Default 'Their Life's Work': The brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers

P-G is running today the first of three excerpts of the new book by Gary Pomerantz on the 70s Steelers titled “Their Life’s Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers, Then and Now”

Ed.B. of the P-G says it is the best book on the 70s Steelers - I have advance ordered my copy on Amazon

Today’s excerpt opens in the moments after the Steelers’ first Super Bowl win, on Jan. 12, 1975, in New Orleans....

The Old Ranger, center Ray Mansfield, saw the game ball on the field at game's end as players and fans rushed past it. "It looked kind of sad," Mansfield said. He picked it up and gave it to linebacker Andy Russell. The postgame role for the Steelers' captains was to award symbolic game balls to offensive and defensive players.

Russell intended to honor Mean Joe, but as he walked to the center of the cramped locker room, teammates surrounding him, he noticed the Chief standing quietly in back, behind a few sportswriters. That's the guy who created all of this, Russell thought. He changed his mind. He would apologize to Greene later. He called to Art Rooney Sr., "Chief, c'mon up here!" The Chief stepped forward. He wore a yellow sports shirt, his tie loosened at the collar, an overcoat, and one of the 15 woolen caps his son Tim had brought him from Ireland (he gave away all the ones with tassels, leaving two or three for himself). The Chief also had a cigar in his mouth, naturally. Russell held aloft the game ball.

"This one's for the Chief," he said. "It's a long time coming." The Chief came to the locker room hoping not to weep, but as his players roared their approval, his glasses misted over.
...

One-hundred-twenty-thousand fans in Pittsburgh braved the 25-degree chill, lining the expressways and downtown streets as the Steelers' motorcade passed. One new fan club announced itself with a placard as "Bradshaw's Brains." Dwight White headed directly to a local hospital, where he spent the next two and a half weeks recuperating, visited each day by the Chief and his wife, Kass.

The Chief had left Tulane Stadium in the darkness, the streets empty. He couldn't find the chauffeured limousine he had rented, so a New Orleans policeman hailed a taxi. He climbed inside the taxi with the Pittsburgh Press columnist Roy McHugh. "This is better anyway," the Chief said. "I never feel comfortable in those limousines." The Chief's sons gathered with him in his suite that night at the Fontainebleau Hotel. The Chief had removed his press pass and tossed it on the ground, and Art Jr., with his devotion to history, picked it up. "Hey, Dad, this is a collector's piece. Sign it," he said, and his father did.

Forever a creature of habit, the Chief sat at a desk in his hotel suite and dashed off a large batch of postcards, mostly to his horse-track friends. They knew his understated nature and must have laughed when they read in his cursive scrawl, the old man at the football mountaintop, announcing, "We're in the big time!"


http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/s...s/201310270090

Cannot wait to read this book



http://www.garympomerantz.com/
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Last edited by Atlanta Dan; 10-27-2013 at 10:29 AM.
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Old 10-28-2013, 08:37 AM   #2
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Default Re: 'Their Life's Work': The brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers

The P-G runs excerpt number 2 of "Their Life's Work" - excerpts of the excerpt below

It was their most cherished space, no matter how spare or small, no matter that the steam usually was turned off, no matter that only a pale ambient light filtered through the small window in the door.

The sauna in the back of the Steelers' locker room at Three Rivers Stadium, near the showers, was the players' postgame sanctuary and decompression chamber. It contained plain wooden benches, enough to seat seven or eight big men, plus the real drawing card, an oversized plastic trash can that equipment manager Tony Parisi filled with ice and beer....

L.C. Greenwood stepped inside the sauna, shirtless, lean, wiry-strong, the muscles of his upper torso taut. The defensive end known as Hollywood Bags liked hearing teammates talk about what had or had not happened in that day's game, and engage in an honest discussion about what should have happened. Bare-chested, Mike Webster became like a gridiron professor as he dissected blitzes and zone coverages used by the opposing defenses....

Decades later, as the Steelers remembered their times together in the postgame sauna, they smiled and laughed, and in their recollections linebacker Jack Lambert, always Lambert, loomed largest and loudest. If the sauna represented the 1970s Steelers' version of King Arthur's court, then Lambert was Arthur.

"It was Jack Lambert's haven," offensive lineman Gerry "Moon" Mullins said. "He'd be the first one in and the last one to leave."

Gary Dunn remembered that after one loss, pin-drop quiet in the sauna, Lambert stared at the floor, and no Steeler said a word. And then, after their second and third beers, their tongues loosened, and Lambert turned to quarterback Terry Bradshaw and asked why he threw into double coverage on 3rd and 12, and then Bradshaw turned to Lambert and asked how he missed that tackle on Earl Campbell. "And then," Dunn said, "it would be on" -- a candid free-for-all, everyone venting.

On occasion Lambert or Webster invited an opponent to join them in the sauna before the team bus left for the airport. Once it was Cincinnati quarterback Ken Anderson, who stepped inside the sauna, sat down, and said words Lambert would remember, "God, you guys are awesome."


To get such an invitation, a high honor, an opposing player had to be respected, and tough, and, in the best case, a roguish character. Jack Rudnay of Kansas City, an all-pro center and noted clubhouse prankster, fit that bill.

"It's counter-intuitive that you can try to kill each other on the field and be best friends after it," Rudnay said. "I really was honored to share that time with them." Once, one beer led to another and another, and Rudnay discovered that the Chiefs' team bus had left for the airport without him, coach Marv Levy apparently in a dither about his absence. Sweeping into action, Parisi threw car keys to another clubhouse man and instructed him to drive Rudnay to the airport posthaste.

The driver did great work because Rudnay was sitting in his seat on the airplane before his Kansas City teammates arrived, and in his bag he discovered several gifts, including Steelers T-shirts for his daughters and several beers for himself.


http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/s...s/201310280042

It was a different time - I cannot imagine in today's NFL, where players give post-game interviews from the podium like Meet The Press, that an opposing team's player would be invited to drop by the Steelers sauna for a beer before heading to the airport
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Old 10-29-2013, 07:19 AM   #3
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Default Re: 'Their Life's Work': The brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers

Totally cool stuff. I'm going to order the book for sure.
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Old 10-30-2013, 04:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: 'Their Life's Work': The brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers

Quote:
Originally Posted by VaDave View Post
Totally cool stuff. I'm going to order the book for sure.
Amazon delivered my copy yesterday - the problem is reading it front to back rather than just surfing around - if you flip it open to almost any page there is a great story (I never knew Ernie Holmes had a bachelor party in Pittsburgh in 1976 - the drink of choice for Fats was Courvoisier and the party did not end well)

I thought I know the story of the 70s Steelers pretty well since I was in Pittsburgh during that reign but I am learning new stuff throughout the book - the author Gary Pomerantz interviewed a lot of people
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