For a team that has a legendarily loyal cadre of fans all over the country, the Pittsburgh Steelers don't inspire a lot of books.
You can't turn around without finding a book on the Red Sox, and Yankees books are a dime a dozen, but when it comes to the Steelers, we got an onslaught of books after the Super Bowl, but there are years that go by with no new Steelers book.
Jim Wexell, who covers the team for Steel City Insider and a couple of newspapers, is doing his part to change that. Having already written Tales From Behind the Steel Curtain and Men of Steel, Wexell has just come out with his third, and most ambitious book, called Steelers Nation.
Steelers Nation follows Wexell all around the country as he looks up the friends and families of Steelers. It's an unusual idea, but it actually pays off as we get insights on current and ex-Steelers from people who knew them before they were stars. Wexell actually started out with a plan of documenting how amazingly loyal Steelers fans are around the country, but he quickly turned the book into a series of road trip to meet up with Steelers' families once he realized the possibilities of sitting to watch a game with Casey Hampton's family or a chance to talk to James Harrison's family.As you would expect, some of the interviews are better than others, but the best ones are outstanding. To read Greg Lloyd's explanation of his family issues and why he may not have been the most popular player in the Steelers locker room is a great insight into one of the most intense players in Steelers history. You also get to find out why Troy Polamalu almost didn't play college football, the true story of Willie Parker chasing pit bulls and why James Harrison has always been overlooked.
The chapters on Lloyd, Harrison and Polamalu are the best in the book, but even if you're a diehard Steelers fan there is a lot in here you won't have known before. And if, like me, you're a Steelers fan who can't learn enough about your team, Steelers Nation is a great addition to your library.
Steelers Nation is available for $24.95 from Pittsburgh Sports Publishing.