The Ones Who Hit The Hardest By Chad Millman and Shawn Coyne
I've always been a fan of history, whether that means the Civil War, the invention of baseball, or the first computer. Anything that predates what I can remember from having lived it, I've always been a fan. When it comes to sports books I've read quite a few that are centered around times before I could remember (or was born). Ten Men You Meet in the Huddle by Bill Curry, Boys will be Boys by Jeff Pearlman and Knight by Bob Knight are just a few I have recently read.
When it came to reading another book about the Cowboys I was reluctant at first. I'm not a fan of either the Steelers or the Cowboys, but aside from them winning nearly one-quarter of all Super Bowls I don't really have a reason to dislike either team either. Having read a few football books in my time, most were centered around the players on the field and their off the field life. I expected more of the same when it came to The Ones Who Hit The Hardest (TOWHTH), but I was pleasantly surprised that this book also dealt a lot with the history of Pittsburgh and the growth/collapse of the steel industry. Because the union was disbanded it gave you a greater appreciation of why the perennially terrible Steelers came together and played extremely well as a team.
In the 1970's football player salaries were no where near what they are now (even if you adjust for inflation). Many football players had second jobs and the struggling steel industry was that job for most players. If they weren't getting paid to pay football and be a steel worker they couldn't put even food on the table for their family. This book did an excellent job of educating the reader on the American economy in the 1970's
The moment I got this book, I brought it to a Steelers fan. She started flipping through the pages and pointing out events that she remembered as a child, her favorite players, coaches, and owners. You could see the excitement in her eyes as a Steelers fan to read the book. The Steelers were heroes to her growing up, especially Mean Joe Greene.
Mean Joe Greene helped transform the Steelers to who they are today. Greene is the heart and soul of the Steelers, when you Google "Steelers Mentality", his picture should show up next to it (I Googled this, clicked on images, didn't see a picture of Mean Joe Greene, very disappointing Google, very disappointing).
I would recommend the book to any football fan, but especially Steelers fans. The books is very focused on the ups and downs of the Steelers, and how they became the team they are today. TOWHTH will bring back memories from old Steeler fans, and give a solid history to new Steeler fans. After reading TOWHTH, it really made me appreciate the Steelers a little bit more.