When it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers, their rabid fan base can't get enough of their favorite team. If you are looking for a gift idea for the black and gold fan in your life, look no further than the latest book "Steelers Takeaways" by our friend Ron Lippock.
Lippock has taken nearly 400 interviews with players and personnel connected to the Steelers organization, and has put them into "Steelers Takeaways".
Here is what Andy Russell (Steelers LB 1963-1976) had to say about the book:
"Ron Lippock has collected an amazing number of outstanding comments from some of the top NFL players. The comments are extraordinarily candid, informative, some emotional and often very detailed, giving the reader an inside view of what it's like to play in the NFL."
Check out our interview with Ron below, and a sweet deal for BTSC readers at the end of the interview!
Can you tell us a little about yourself, your website, and your background?
Well, I've been publishing the Pittsburgh Sports Daily Bulletin for over five years. The newsletter goes out for free - daily - to anyone that wants to receive it - many of course being fans, but a lot of front office people, media, and former players as well. Over the course of producing the newsletter we've also conducted over 600 interviews - mostly former Steelers, but former Pens, Pirates, media personalities, musicians, etc. The website houses a lot our interviews plus some of our own articles.
As for me - I've been in the publishing business for over thirty years so taking those interviews and working with a publisher to write a book on them was a natural progression....
What was the motivation behind the book?
I really wanted to do something unique. The 400+ interviews I've done are very personal in nature and run across seven generations of players - guys from the 50's through today's guys. Great stories of the pranks/hijinks, personal issues they faced, difficulty living life on the bubble, physical toll of the game, the business side of the game, how race and religion impacted the players, etc... ... I wanted to take all of those stories and let readers access them in a totally new way - by topic, by generation, by player. So there's a chapter on humor in the game, one on the physical toll of the game, one on player-coach relationships, one on ownership, one on race and religion, etc.... This gives readers a fun and interesting way to explore the book and history of the team and players story by story, topic by topic.
Exactly how do you go about getting access to all these current, and former, players?
My time was spent part as detective - looking for the players, finding ways to reach out to them, convincing them to do the interviews, etc... Finding some of these players was very likely the most exhaustive and time-consuming portion of the job....
Of all the interviews you've done, are there any which stand out above the rest? Which ones, and why?
Oh wow - so many..
Troy Edwards, Bam Morris, Walter Abercrmbie, due to thier honesty and openness on why things didn't work out in Pittsburgh. Tommy Maddox, Kordell Stewart, Roy Jefferson, on their frustrations with the team and fans. Jon Kolb, Antwan Randle El, Donnie Shell, and J.T. Thomas on the surprising ways race and religion impacted their careers and the team. Merrill Hoge, Gary Dunn, Frenchy Fuqua, Max Starks and Tunch Ilkin and Terry Hanratty due to their often hysterical stories about the pranks with teammates and on-field happenings....
In your opinion, why is this book ideal for the Pittsburgh Steelers fan?
It's unique - nothing like it. Over 400 players were interviewed and are represented across seven generations of the team. These stories are straight from the players themselves and they were so open about their careers - these are stories you just can't get anywhere else. From guys who impacted the team in so many ways,
We've had great feedback and testimonials from former players like Andy Russell, Frenchy Fuqua, and John Banaszak to name a few, so that is a good sign!
Do you have any future plans for another book/project?
I'm still recovering from this one! I was joking about doing one on the old Pittsburgh Maulers.... you never know!
How can fans get the book?
We're actually giving Behind the Steel Curtain readers a 20% discount. It's available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and if they go to http://brpressbooks.com/product/steelers-takeaways/ and use code "BTSC" - you can get 20% off there!
We thank Ron for his time, and hope all Steelers fans not only take advantage of the BTSC deal, but purchase this book for the Steelers fans in their lives.