In honor of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrating their 80th season, Sport Illustrated has released a commemorative book titled Pittsburgh Steelers: Pride in Black and Gold, and wow, what a book it is. Every Steelers fan out there, from die hard to bandwagon, should get themselves a copy of this book.
From the minute you open the cover and see the image of Mean Joe Green's helmet up close, scratched, battered, and worn, you know you are about to get a glimpse into what Pittsburgh Steelers football is all about. From images of Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, and Franco Harris on the sidelines to images of todays modern day Steelers such as Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers: Pride in Black and Gold has it all covered.
Tim Layden took on the challenge of writing the introduction to a book about a team that needs no introduction. In a few short pages, covered in pictures of the Rooneys and the coaches that led the great Steelers teams to Super Bowl Championships, Layden captured the title of his introduction perfectly: The Heart of The City. He explained how the Steelers grabbed that distinction, and also told how they have managed to keep it alive and well right up to this very second.
No book about the Pittsburgh Steelers would be complete without a section on the famous Terrible Towel. What makes it even better and makes it hit home for us Pittsburghers its that its told in the words of the great Myron Cope. They are excerpted from an issue of Sports Illustrated originally published on July 30, 1979 and tell the story of how the Terrible Towel came to be a universal symbol for Pittsburgh Steelers Football. While reading Myron's story you are treated to images of the Terrible Towel being displayed in unique and entertaining locations including wrapped around every newborn delivered at Pittsburghs Magee-Womens Hospital, and being waved out the windows of an airplane landing in Dallas Texas during Super Bowl XLV.
Over the next 80-ish pages some of the greatest players in Steelers history are rewarded with a page dedicated to just them (and more great images) and what they have achieved in Pittsburgh. Many of these players are well known even among the youngest Steelers fans, and yet some are names that to the regular fan mean nothing. Only the die hard fans will recognize those players that were Steelers before the 70's, guys like Bobby Lane who is better known for leaving a curse on the Detroit Lions after they sent him packing to Pittsburgh.
Finally the remainder of the book is dedicated to, you guessed it, the six Super Bowl Championships the Steelers possess. Each Super Bowl is given several pages dedicated to fantastic photography and the amazing story of the game. There are also several more excerpts from past issues of Sports Illustrated that help to let the readers know what things were like at the moment of each of those victories.
The many Writers and Photographers that contributed to this book managed to make the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers jump right out of the pages and pull you back in with them. Each and every section was accompanied by images that show you exactly what the authors are describing. Many of todays young Steelers fans will get a deeper appreciation for the rich tradition that was founded long before their time, as well as a history lesson about the all time great people that have built a team that was so correctly described as "The Heart of The City". As the younger generations receive their history lesson, the older generations that witnessed the days of the "Steel Curtain" will be taken back to their own memories of the teams they have seen win six Super Bowls.
If you haven't already made up your mind to add this book to your Pittsburgh Steelers collection then let me just add this one last statement, this book just vaulted itself to being one of the best pieces in my extensive collection and will easily be passed down to future generations of Steelers fans ensuring that the history and tradition will live on forever.