In this autobiography, Dan Rooney, the president of the Pittsburgh Steelers (and son of the founder), reflects on his 75 years in the National Football League. A lot of ground is covered and the stories about the “olden” days, the days of Earl “Greasy” Neal, Walt Kiesling, and Johnny “Blood” McNally are particularly vivid. There is a detailed passage dealing with the high school, college, and early pro career of Johnny Unitas, who was spurned by the Steelers in training camp but went on to become one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the game.

Perhaps due to the scope, however, there is not a lot of detail about any particular era after this. Even the Superbowl teams of the seventies get a bit of a short shrift (less than a third of the book is devoted to this great team). Most of the stories, though, are less about the history of the team and more about personal anecdotes dealing with particular players and coaches. While this is mainly what I am interested in as a reader, I found that Mr. Rooney was fairly reluctant to say anything negative or controversial about his dear acquaintances. The book might have been better if there had been some more frank discussion about, say, the contentious relationship between Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw, for instance.

The book ends with several bland interviews with people associated with the Steelers and then a brief analysis of each NFL franchise by Rooney, punctuated by his (once again non-controversial) opinion of the current owner.

Nonetheless, this is a thoroughly enjoyable read, written in an engaging style with a good natural flow. The account provides a certain unique insight into the early days of the NFL. If you are a hard core Steeler or NFL fan, you will enjoy this retrospective.

Click on the book cover to see the book at Amazon.ca. Click on the drawing for a larger version.