Does the world really need another book about Western Pennsylvania football? Well, yes. And not just people with a Western Pennsylvania connection, either. Professional football was born here, the Hall of Fame almost wound up here, and the region's high schools and colleges are true factories, turning out some of the greatest coaches and players the game has known.
Steel City Gridirons by Dave Finoli and Chris Fletcher is the first book that brings together all aspects of the sport as it's played here, from the first club games in the 19th century up through the 2004 season--that's three centuries of football in one giant, 450 page collection of stories, facts, photos and opinion by two of the region's most avid football fans.
Includes a timeline of significant events and milestones of Western PA football history from 1890 to the present.
A Fan's Feast. Whether you follow the game on the high school, the college, or the pro level (and for the true fan, it's probably all three), there are stories and information within these pages to satisfy the stats geek, the fan, the historian and those looking for human interest sagas (look no farther than Pitt's Bobby Grier, the first African American to play in the Sugar Bowl, or the tale of Lt. Jesse Grapes, former CMU Tartan, who joined the military after 9/11).
The authors give many reasons to love Steel City football, and here are just a few:
Even when the Steelers sucked, they still beat the living snot out of their opponents.
We had a Supreme Court justice ('Whizzer' White) play here.
We've had great nicknames, including a quarterback named 'Bubby' and a coach called 'The Emperor'.
The need for a 'spotter' - the guy in the press box who tells the announcers who the ball carrier was and who made the tackle - was created when the 1908 Pittsburgh Panthers became the first college team to wear numbers.
The first pro game was played in Latrobe, PA, a town that was the originally selected site for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Western PA is a quarterback and coaching factory even to this day.