Review: Tales from The Pittsburgh Steeler Sidelines

Dale Gronic’s Tales is misnamed.  There are some stories in here, but by and large they aren’t fascinating anecdotes.  Largely Tales is a fairly ad hoc study of the Steelers’ draft classes.  I will say that the Steelers’ draft history turns out to be pretty checkered – much more so than I realized – but this treatment doesn’t capture things very well.

From Gronic’s research, it does seem clear that a book about the Steelers’ drafts would be interesting.  The various coaches have had widely varying philosophies on the role of the draft in team building.  When coaches are changing every few years, this can lead to extremely unusual personnel. Furthermore, each coaching staff brought different skills to the draft. It was common to have a principled plan and a poor eye for talent, that added further noise to the signal.

The 1970’s dynasty was as much a product of the staff’s continuity as its philosophy, but both contributed to some incredible years.

Now, as interesting as that analysis is, it doesn’t fit well with the title.  That title promises me great stories from exciting characters or interesting games.  This is pretty much lacking.  Gronic primarily follows a few draftees who would grant him interviews and tells their history in Pittsburgh.  This is diverting (at best) but never compelling.

Comments are closed.