Here is an excerpt 250words.com on from leadership lessons from legendary Steelers coach Chuck Noll followed by a book review on Their Life’s Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers by Gary Pomerantz.
Chuck Noll became the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1969. The Steelers were a terrible football team at the time. In the ensuing decade, Chuck Noll transformed the Steelers into one of the most dominant franchises in the history of professional sports. He won four Super Bowls, more than any other coach in the history of the NFL. Today Chuck Noll is considered to be among the greatest football coaches of all time.
I’ve been reading Their Life’s Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers, an excellent book by Gary Pomerantz, a journalist and nonfiction author. Pomerantz documents the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers—Mean Joe Green, Terry Bradshaw, Jack Lambert—and I enjoyed reading about Chuck Noll’s approach to leadership.
He was not a warmhearted coach who delivered glowing motivational pep talks. As Pomerantz writes, “His door was always open, but his personality was closed.” The paradox of Chuck Noll was that he was intensely personal. “He figured out your button, and pushed it.” Think Bill Belichick, not Pete Carroll.
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Their Life’s Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers – Description
Their Life’s Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers by Gary Pomerantz
“The definitive book of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers” (Scott Brown, ESPN): A unique literary sports book that—through exquisite reportage, love, and honesty—tells the full story of the best team to ever play the game.
The Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s won an unprecedented and unmatched four Super Bowls in six years. A dozen of those Steelers players, coaches, and executives have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and three decades later their names echo in popular memory: “Mean” Joe Greene, Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Mike Webster, Jack Lambert, Lynn Swann, and John Stallworth. In ways exhilarating and heartbreaking, they define not only the brotherhood of sports but those elements of the game that engage tens of millions of Americans: its artistry and its brutality.
Drawing on hundreds of interviews, Their Life’s Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers is a richly textured story of a team and a sport, what the game gave these men, and what the game took. It gave fame, wealth, and, above all, a brotherhood of players, twelve of whom died before turning sixty. To a man, they said they’d do it again, all of it. They bared the soul of the game to Gary Pomerantz, and he captured it wondrously. “Here is a book as hard-hitting and powerful as the ‘Steel Curtain’ dynasty that Pomerantz depicts so deftly. It’s the NFL’s version of The Boys of Summer, with equal parts triumph and melancholy. Pomerantz’s writing is strong, straightforward, funny, sentimental, and blunt. It’s as working class and gritty as the men he writes about” (The Tampa Tribune, Top 10 Sports Books of 2013).
Their Life’s Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers – Review
*Starred Review* As a young reporter in 1981, Pomerantz was assigned to ask key members of the Pittsburgh Steelers, especially those remaining from the 1970s dynasty, if the glory days (three Super Bowl wins in the 1970s and another in 1980) were over. Those interviews later became the first stage of this book. He begins with a history of the franchise and its colorful founder, Art Rooney, but moves quickly to 1972, when the team began to gel under taciturn coach Chuck Noll. Pomerantz conducted more than 250 first-person interviews to escort readers through the glory years—the camaraderie, the anguish of losing, and the exhilaration of winning and glory. He emphasizes two themes: the personal bonds forged among these men, and their lives after football. Melancholy infuses the second half of the book as an unusual number of players passed away much sooner than expected. Their Life’s Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers will be compared to Roger Kahn’s The Boys of Summer (1972), a nostalgic look back at the 1950s Brooklyn Dodgers. As good as Boys is, this is better. It’s less sentimental and more harshly objective in its portrayal of the toll sports extracts from its players. A wonderful book. –Wes Lukowsky –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“I’ve been waiting for a book, written in an exhilarating and cogent and intelligent way, on the best football team of my adult life, and now it’s here. I loved the Steelers way back when, and now that I know them in their middle age and beyond, I love their story. That’s not just because Joe Greene and Terry Bradshaw and Jack Lambert are compelling figures. It’s because Gary Pomerantz wrote it the way Roger Kahn wrote ‘Boys of Summer.’ Their Life’s Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers will be ‘Men of Fall’ for my football generation.” (Peter King, senior writer, Sports Illustrated.)
“What sets Their Life’s Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers well above other books that tell us about teammates in their glory and their dotage, is that Gary Pomerantz not only brings such flair to the Steelers’ glory days, but he also instructs us so vividly how, in football, teammates don’t just grow old, they grow in pain and fear.” (Frank Deford)
“What has become of the best team ever? Pomerantz has the story, the lowdown and the afterglow. A wealth of prime Steeler stuff.” (Roy Blount Jr., Author of About Three Bricks Shy of A Load)
“Their Life’s Work is that rare book that is brutally authentic, vigorously reported, smoothly written, and hauntingly sympathetic all at the same time. Sport , coach, team, city, sensibility all powerfully rendered.” (David Maraniss, Author of When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi)
“Their Life’s Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers is a behind the scenes and revealing look at what I consider one of the three greatest NFL football teams since World War II. Having competed against the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers, I didn’t think it was possible to learn more about this team, but Gary Pomerantz has uncovered so many intriguing details on how this great ball club was masterfully put together, along with fascinating new insights into the great characters who played on these championship teams, I see them in a new light. This is one great football book.” (Ernie Accorsi, Former General Manager of the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Colts)
“This is a special book about a special moment in a special town. You cannot understand one of America’s great cities today without understanding the special place the Steelers hold in Pittsburgh—and, unless you have season tickets, you cannot fully understand Pittsburgh without Their Life’s Work.” (David M. Shribman, Executive Editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Pittsburgh Press)
“[Pomerantz] goes beyond straight-ahead sports writing to achieve intricate storytelling…. By describing the players’ unique on-field and off-field relationships, Pomerantz reveals a brotherhood that transcends wins and losses.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Their Life’s Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers will be compared to Roger Kahn’s The Boys of Summer (1972), a nostalgic look back at the 1950s Brooklyn Dodgers. As good as Boys is, this is better. . . A wonderful book.” (Booklist (starred))
“Gary Pomerantz’s Their Life’s Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers is the vessel in which the current generation can travel back to those days and immerse itself in the history of this franchise…. [A] dramatic, inspiring and wondrous tale of brotherhood, camaraderie and spirit…. It’s the text book for Steelers 101. It’s the Bible for Steelers Spirituality 201. It’s the reading material necessary to pass a citizen’s test for entry into Steeler Nation, and all residents should be issued it upon their arrival.” (Neal Coolong Behind The Steel Curtain)