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The Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s tormented me during my childhood. The Steelers were far from my favorite team. In fact, they were my least favorite, primarily because they kept beating my favorites!
I was born in Houston, and being a good Texan, I was a fan of the Dallas Cowboys. Since I was born in Houston, I also threw my support behind the Oilers. As the Cowboys and Oilers were in different conferences, they were good complements to one another for a young fan’s rooting interests.
The Cowboys, of course, ran into Black & Gold dead ends at two different Super Bowls. The Oilers, being in the same division as the Steelers, never could get past them for the AFC Central Division crown. Then, qualifying as a wild card playoff team, their two shots at Super Bowl glory died at the hands of the Steelers on the turf of Three Rivers Stadium.
Finally, there was my mother. In addition to the Cowboys, she liked the Oakland Raiders, primarily, I think, because she liked quarterback Kenny Stabler. Let’s admit it: everyone’s mother liked the swashbuckling Kenny Stabler.
So, following mom’s lead, I liked the Raiders too, making them my third-favorite team in the NFL. For most of the 70s, the Raiders and Steelers fought for AFC supremacy. Meeting in the playoffs on five occasions, the Steelers won three of them.
So, yeah, the Steelers were like gum on my shoes through my childhood.
It wasn’t until later that I understood exactly what the Steelers had accomplished in the 1970s. Their run of sustained success was unprecedented, and I begrudgingly began to respect the franchise. I even found myself cheering for them on more occasions than not.
Writing Immaculate: How the Steelers Saved Pittsburgh certainly stirred up those long-dormant emotions tied to those games of almost 50 years ago. Watching old games on YouTube really brought the memories flooding back.
I hope reading the book does the same for everyone.