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The Ones Who Hit the Hardest
Cover of The Ones Who Hit the Hardest
The Ones Who Hit the Hardest
The Steelers, the Cowboys, the '70s, and the Fight for America's Soul
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A stirring portrait of the decade when the Steelers became the greatest team in NFL history, even as Pittsburgh was crumbling around them.
In the 1970s, the city of Pittsburgh was in need of heroes. In that decade the steel industry, long the lifeblood of the city, went into massive decline, putting 150,000 steelworkers out of work. And then the unthinkable happened: The Pittsburgh Steelers, perennial also-rans in the NFL, rose up to become the most feared team in the league, dominating opponents with their famed "Steel Curtain" defense, winning four Super Bowls in six years, and lifting the spirits of a city on the brink.
In The Ones Who Hit the Hardest, Chad Millman and Shawn Coyne trace the rise of the Steelers amidst the backdrop of the fading city they fought for, bringing to life characters such as: Art Rooney, the owner of the team so beloved by Pittsburgh that he was known simply as "The Chief"; Chuck Noll, the headstrong coach who used the ethos of steelworkers to motivate his players; Terry Bradshaw, the strong-armed and underestimated QB; Joe Green, the defensive tackle whose fighting nature lifted the franchise; and Jack Lambert, the linebacker whose snarling, toothless grin embodied the Pittsburgh defense.
Every story needs a villain, and in this one it's played by the Dallas Cowboys. As Pittsburgh rusted, the new and glittering metropolis of Dallas, rich from the capital infusion of oil revenue, signaled the future of America. Indeed, the town brimmed with such confidence that the Cowboys felt comfortable nicknaming themselves "America's Team." Throughout the 1970s, the teams jostled for control of the NFL-the Cowboys doing it with finesse and the Steelers doing it with brawn-culminating in Super Bowl XIII in 1979, when the aging Steelers attempted to hold off the Cowboys one last time. Thoroughly researched and grippingly written, The Ones Who Hit the Hardest is a stirring tribute to a city, a team, and an era.
A stirring portrait of the decade when the Steelers became the greatest team in NFL history, even as Pittsburgh was crumbling around them.
In the 1970s, the city of Pittsburgh was in need of heroes. In that decade the steel industry, long the lifeblood of the city, went into massive decline, putting 150,000 steelworkers out of work. And then the unthinkable happened: The Pittsburgh Steelers, perennial also-rans in the NFL, rose up to become the most feared team in the league, dominating opponents with their famed "Steel Curtain" defense, winning four Super Bowls in six years, and lifting the spirits of a city on the brink.
In The Ones Who Hit the Hardest, Chad Millman and Shawn Coyne trace the rise of the Steelers amidst the backdrop of the fading city they fought for, bringing to life characters such as: Art Rooney, the owner of the team so beloved by Pittsburgh that he was known simply as "The Chief"; Chuck Noll, the headstrong coach who used the ethos of steelworkers to motivate his players; Terry Bradshaw, the strong-armed and underestimated QB; Joe Green, the defensive tackle whose fighting nature lifted the franchise; and Jack Lambert, the linebacker whose snarling, toothless grin embodied the Pittsburgh defense.
Every story needs a villain, and in this one it's played by the Dallas Cowboys. As Pittsburgh rusted, the new and glittering metropolis of Dallas, rich from the capital infusion of oil revenue, signaled the future of America. Indeed, the town brimmed with such confidence that the Cowboys felt comfortable nicknaming themselves "America's Team." Throughout the 1970s, the teams jostled for control of the NFL-the Cowboys doing it with finesse and the Steelers doing it with brawn-culminating in Super Bowl XIII in 1979, when the aging Steelers attempted to hold off the Cowboys one last time. Thoroughly researched and grippingly written, The Ones Who Hit the Hardest is a stirring tribute to a city, a team, and an era.
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  • Library Journal

    August 1, 2010

    Put simply, the 1970s Super Bowl rivalry between the Steelers and Cowboys was a study in contrasts between the smashmouth Steelers of struggling, blue-collar Pittsburgh and the computerized complexity of the Cowboys of glitzy Dallas. Pittsburgh won both championships largely because of its spectacular pass-catching pair, Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, but the Steelers were also the "ones who hit the hardest." The subtitle's reference to "the fight for America's soul" indicates the overreach of the book: the narrative runs on three concurrent tracks (Steelers, Cowboys, and the steelworkers' union in Pittsburgh), with the third a cursory treatment that stalls the engaging football story. Both teams are traced from their beginnings to the formation of these 1970s championship teams, but the Cowboys are treated mostly as a foil to the heroic Steelers. The book ends abruptly after the second Super Bowl confrontation, with no coda on the 1979 season that saw the Steelers' fourth Super Bowl triumph and the Cowboys' farewell to Roger Staubach. Worth reading for its scoring plays, but there are a lot of misfires here as well.

    Copyright 2010 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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The Ones Who Hit the Hardest
The Ones Who Hit the Hardest
The Steelers, the Cowboys, the '70s, and the Fight for America's Soul
Chad Millman
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