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Their Life's Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers, Then and Now

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  360 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
“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 execut
ebook, 480 pages
Published October 29th 2013 by Simon Schuster (first published August 1st 2013)
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Jason Speck
Dec 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Our heroes live large in our memories, no matter how long the distance between present time and former glory. But we rarely follow our heroes after the light from their brightest moments fade. Part of that is because we lose sight, lose touch, the media machine no longer giving us increasingly unfettered access to those who inspire us. But part of it, undeniably, is self-imposed: seeing our heroes after the glory days reminds us that not all stories have happy endings. That in the final analysis ...more
John M.

I received this as part of a Goodreads giveaway.

I don't read a lot of sports books. I've noticed that most of them fall into the ghost-written athlete autobiography category, or the 300-page Sports Illustrated article category. This book is neither of those. It's well-researched and well-written, and the author spent a good amount of time doing personal interviews and consulting multiple sources. Essentially, this book is an all-access pass to the history of the 1970s Steelers.

The story begins w
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
Those 70’s Steelers …

This book was reviewed as part of Amazon's Vine program which included a free advance copy of the book.

Looking back at my 1970’s childhood, a handful of images immediately come to mind: disco, bell-bottoms, shag carpet, etc. But, as a young boy, the NFL shines brightest to me. Sunday’s games dominated Monday morning school conversations, dog-eared the NFL merchandise in the Sears Christmas Wishbook, collected/traded Topps football cards, bought mini-helmets from gumball mach
Jan 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
As a Pittsburgher and devout Steeler fan, I will say that this is required reading. Its the history and aftermath of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 70's. Starting from how Art Rooney Sr. got his start and was able to buy the (then) Pittsburgh Pirates for $2,500, thru the building of the powerhouse team that won 4 Super Bowl Championships (plus 2 more in the 00's) and the triumphs and tragedies of their later lives.

It made me laugh, it made me cry, I learned a lot about a team that I thought I kn
Dec 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
I've been a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers since 1978, when I chose them to root for against the hated Dallas Cowboys in that season's Super Bowl. The Steelers won and I've been following the Black and Gold fervently ever since. Of course, the 1970s Steelers hold a special place in my heart as the team was littered with Hall of Famers, unique personalities and who won four Super Bowls. They were a perfect embodiment of the city's blue collar work ethic and the 1970s era of take no prisoners foot ...more
C Baker
Nov 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: football, sports
The 1970's Pittsburgh Steelers are an iconic dynasty in the modern era of professional football. Typically defense wins championships and Pittsburgh had some of the best defensive players ever to don pads and cleats. But they also had some playmakers on the offensive side of the ball like Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, and John Stallworth. And let's give Terry Bradshaw his due for slowly becoming a team leader and competent enough quarterback to lead the Steelers to four Super Bowls in six years.

Mar 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you were a pro-football fan in the 1970's you either liked or disliked the Pittsburg Steelers. I remember Mean JOe, Terry Bradshaw, Jack Hamm, Franco, Rocky Bleir and the rest. I was a fan of the team, probably because my favorite team the KC Chiefs were atrocious during the 70's. The Steelers also were one of the few teams that could stand toe to toe with the Oakland raiders, and beat them-(another huge plus in my mind) The book goes back and forth from the palying days of the teams stars an ...more
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received a copy of this book through the Goodreads: First Reads giveaways.

I entered to win this book for my brother as he is a diehard Steelers fan. I never expected to win it. I, myself, am a Cowboys fan so this book wasn't exactly my cup of tea. However, I thought it to be a well written & in depth look at a team that seems to be close to becoming America's favorite.

Pomerantz seems to have done his research and has a true love for the Steelers which comes across in his writing.

I wish I c
Debbie Carey
Oct 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
My father was a big fan of both the Steelers and the Packers. He admired and felt connected to teams as that were from hardworking areas. So winning this book was a gift to me because not only was I able to share in the personal stories but feel connected to my father. I appreciate how Pomerantz did not just share the history but made it so real with the personal stories. I followed the Packers and Steelers too growing up and held a special place in my heart for Franco Harris. I enjoyed reading ...more
Jeff Grosser
Sep 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I always try to read a football book leading up to the new NFL season and this book was exceptional. Very well researched and written. It reflects on the Steeler teams of the 70's as well as where some of the stars are today. What some deal with today is not easy to stomach, but it's an honest assessment of what years of playing football can do to one's mind and body.

The title of the book "Their Life's Work" comes from what coach Chuck Noll always reminded his players of. That playing football
Bill Hammer
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Even if you are not a Pittsburgh Steelers fan you will LOVE this book. Probably the best sports book I have read. Besides discussing the glory years of "The Steel Curtain", this book goes much deeper. Maybe only 1/3 of this book is devoted to "game reminiscing" talk. Most of the book talks about these athletes as men before, during, and after their glory days. It humanizes these athletes. I will warn you that for many of the Steelers, life did not have a happy ending. A must read for footba ...more
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating book. I am a life long Steeler fan and learned new things about the 70's Steelers. I loved reliving the history of the building of the Steelers. But this book went further. It discussed the players as they moved from their football careers into "Their Life's Work" as Chuck Noll called it. The stories of life after football were enlightening and, sometimes very sad. I learned that my idols are human beings after all. An excellent read for any fan of the 70's Steelers.
-Disclaimer: I won this book for free through goodreads giveaways in exchange for an honest review.-

The amazing journey of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers told from beginning to the bitter end. A good read for every Pittsburgh Steelers fan out there. Told in full blown detail and keeps you interested till the very last page.
victor harris
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining and well-written. Good background coverage of the Rooney family and excellent individual profiles of the players who made the 70s Steelers the greatest dynasty in the game's history. A mix of tragedy too. The story about center Mike Webster is testimony to the cost players paid for the commitment to their craft. A must-read for any football fan, Steelers or otherwise.
Ian Allan
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m getting tired of reading about the Steelers. It’s the same old stories getting rehashed. But I stumbled onto this book by Gary Pomerantz, Their Life’s Work, published last fall. The cover is insanely cool, so I picked it, flipped through a few pages, and decided to give it a shot.

While we’re all very familiar with the basic nuts and bolts of the Pittsburgh story, this book takes it to the next level. Pomerantz is a skilled, veteran writer (he went to training camp with the Steelers in 1981)
Reynaldo Valldejuli
You can tell alot about people by the ones they keep in their lives. Being a military brat I know that relationships built through hardships and through experiences together last a lifetime. Through and through this book depicts how those relationships thrive years later and how the strength and bond of a brotherhood is a relationship that many strive to have, but few will ever experience. If you want to understand what it is to truly care and appreciate people in your life and the sacrifices yo ...more
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book really introducing you to the men who were the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970's, the management of the Steelers (principally the Rooney family), and the NFL and Pittsburgh of the era. I found this bit explaining a detachment with which the owner Art Rooney Sr. watched the Steelers win their first Super Bowl very interesting "Privately, the Chief worried that television made the NFL seem so much more important than it had a right to be. There was so much money in the game now, i ...more
Scott Holstad
Oct 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Their Life's Work is a good book by a good author about the greatest football team of all time -- the '70s Steelers. However, I think the book could have been better, which I'll get to in a moment.

The book starts with the Rooney family. Art Sr. bought the club for $2,500 circa 1932 or 1933 from money he got gambling on horse racing. Of course, the Steelers have remained in the Rooney family ever since, and Art Sr. went on to become one of the most beloved team owners ever.

The Steelers stunk for
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book from a Goodreads Giveaway.

This is a must-read for any tried-and-true Stillers fan. I've been going to Steelers games since I was in my mother's stomach, and, like any child born unto Steelers Nation, I grew up hearing about the Steelers of the 70's: the dynasty, the Steel Curtain. My father had autographed photos of Greene, Lambert, Harris, Bradshaw, White, Webster, Swann, Blunt, Bleier and Noll mounted on plaques and hung on our basement walls. For me, Pomerantz humanized
I'm not really a football fan--I always say that I was born with only one tiny little piece of my heart free for football (or sports of any kind, really). The thing is, that one piece is entirely taken up by the Pittsburgh Steelers. One of my very earliest memories consists of being held by my dad on one hip, my little brother on the other, wearing the Steelers stocking hat I received upon birth, and watching the Steelers play. I got my first kiss wearing that hat fifteen or so years later. I st ...more
Sep 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-read
I was in junior high during the early glory days of the 70's Pittsburgh Steelers and I remember their dominance of the game during that time. I'm not a big football fan, but I remember the names Terry Bradshaw, Joe Greene, LC Greenwood, Lynn Swann and Franco Harris. And I enjoy a good yarn - at that same age I usually read the long pieces in Sports Illustrated for the human interest theme, not for the technical aspects of the game. I'm pretty sure I skipped paragraphs. I was intrigued by the sto ...more
I really enjoyed this book about the Steelers of the 1970's, this city's heroes. Some of the stories I recalled, others were new to me. These were the days when "tabloid journalism" was not as prevalent as today, or maybe I just wasn't aware. A couple of the men I have met in varied circumstances: through work, at a bar, at my house. I left this book thinking how these men have touched many lives in Western Pa. Yet, though we may have thought them super-human, and in some ways they were/are, in ...more
Tom Gase
A good book by author Gary Pomerantz, who also wrote a great book on Wilt Chamberlain, but unless this is your first book reading on the Pittsburg Steelers, it isn't great. I think the author is great at his research and writing but this book focuses more on what happened to the Steelers AFTER their playing days were done, rather than before. The book goes into great detail on the 1974 season and the book seems to flow well. Also it talks about possibly the greatest draft of all time in 1974 whe ...more
Tom Donaghey
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, sport
THEIR LIFE’S WORK is both the story of a football franchise from the beginning and the tale of one team that won four Super Bowl championships and altered the game while doing so.
While I am not a huge fan of the Steelers, I do see the argument for the 1970’s Steelers being the greatest team in the history of their sport. With the tidal wave of hall of famers, the indisputable fact of the championship rings and the dynastic feel to the rosters, Pittsburg undeniable fielded nearly a decade’s wo
Bob Perry
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers' fan this book is just about perfect. Especially since I was a child when I discovered the NFL and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 1970's Steelers of course. The greatest team playing during the greatest decade of professional sports. Before all the money, before all the scandals, before all of the over-size personalities, and before the 24 hour news cycle.

This is BY FAR the best sports book that I've ever read. It covers all of the major stars of the 4 times Super
Jan 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read for the any Steeler or any football fan. The first half of the book is the telling and re-telling of the glory days of the 70's then the second half tells the less well-known story of the costs paid by the players. A cautionary tale to be sure-with tragic overtones-but lifted by the spirit of the men who are ravaged by the sport they played and acknowledging that they would do it again. As if embracing the opportunity to be transcendent in their chosen game knowing that it would c ...more
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I grew up outside of Pittsburgh in the 1980s and 90s. Names like Lambert and Franco Harris swirled around me my whole life. Unfortunately as a baseball fan born after the days of the Steelers dynasty I didn't really know much about who they actually were or what happened. So I was excited when I won this book through First Reads, thinking it would give me a chance to learn about our football heroes. It did more than that. Pomerantz begins with the Chief himself and then follows the building of t ...more
History of the Pittsburgh Steelers with focus on 70s teams. Their rise to greatness and their ties to black colleges through Bill Nunn, Jr. was probably the most fascinating part. I knew nothing of the racial abuse taken by Joe Gilliam or his subsequent drug problem. I have no recall of the lawsuit Raider George Atkinson brought on Chuck Noll. Was that covered by the media at the time? Problems: Gale Sayers' name is misspelled twice. I'd have appreciated more football. The author decides to cut ...more
I made it to page 206 before I stopped reading. All the names were basically blurring together. Apparently I just don't care enough about the 1970s Steelers as I do classic sports stories like Johnny U: The Life and Times of John Unitas (even that only got 2 stars from me). It's much harder to relate to a sports team that a) you're not a current fan and b) you weren't even alive during the story's focus.

According the table of contents the remainder of the book would be about the players after th
Apr 09, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was researched very well. It could have been about 50 pages shorter though. The longer the book went the less I was into it & at times the author goes way over the top with his hero worship. But if you are around my age,(48) and can remember how dominant the Steelers were from 1974-80, Even with myself being a life-long (losing) Browns fan it was worth holding my nose & reading with a huge appreciation of true hard-nose old school NFL greatness within. The game is being ruined ...more
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