Red Devil review & alumni event

0205160813aJust in time for Super Bowl weekend, the latest edition of the Dickinson Magazine has a nice review of The Color of Sundays below.

And for all of my Pittsburgh Red Devil peeps, I’ll be speaking at an alumni club function later this month: Sunday, Feb. 21, at the Clemente Museum in Lawrenceville/Bloomfield. Register here.

0205160813Andrew Conte ’93’s second book delves into the moments that shaped Pittsburgh Steelers’ history, both on the field and in the back room, and led the Steel City to four Super Bowl victories. The Color of Sundays tells the story of how Bill Nunn Jr., Art Rooney and the Steelers’ front office reshaped the franchise. Nunn’s strategy was simple: Scout talent where many other teams had failed, and bring in players from historically black colleges and universities. This period in Steelers history was instrumental in the building of the Steel Curtain defense, as well as the integration of important offensive picks, including the future Hall of Famer John Stallworth. Today the Pittsburgh Steelers are one of pro football’s most successful and prestigious franchises, thanks to the Steelers’ front office having its sights squarely focused on the future.

Cam Newton, black quarterback

Cam Newton is black.

Normally, these days, one wouldn’t make that distinction about the Carolina Panthers’ quarterback. But he brought up the issue himself recently, questioning whether football fans are ready: “I’m an African-American quarterback. That may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing that they can compare me to.”

Of course, he’s not the first. Charles Follis became the first black professional football player in 1904. Fritz Pollard in the 1920s played on the league’s first championship team and then served as the league’s first black coach. Willie Thrower became the league’s first black quarterback with the Chicago Bears in 1953. And, of course, Doug Williams, of Grambling fame, became the Super Bowl XXII MVP in 1988 with the Washington Redskins.

But Newton has a point. As much as we want Continue reading

“a well-researched and welcome addition” — Pittsburgh Magazine

The latest copy of Pittsburgh Magazine has a nice review of “The Color of Sundays”

Pittsburgh Magazine“Andrew Conte’s “The Color of Sundays” is a well-researched and welcome [addition] to Steelers scholarship. A book about Bill Nunn Jr. certainly was overdue…”

Reviewer Kristofer Collins didn’t love that I took several side trips — to boxing, Civil Rights, Jackie Robinson, etc. But to me, they were critical to the overall story. Not just of Nunn’s life and contribution to the Steelers, but to the larger story of integrating American life.

Check out the full review here. And decide for yourself by checking out the book here.

Here we go! Steelers’ shot at immortality

With the Steelers heading (miraculously!) to the playoffs, I’m reminded of talking with John Stallworth about what it was like after the team won a fourth Super Bowl in 1980.

January 28, 1980 Sports Illustrated Cover. Football: Super Bowl XIV. Pittsburgh Steelers John Stallworth (82) in action, making catch and scoring game winning touchdown vs Los Angeles Rams Rod Perry (49) at Rose Bowl Stadium. Pasadena, CA 1/20/1980 MANDATORY CREDIT: Walter Iooss Jr./Sports Illustrated SetNumber: X24127 TK1

January 28, 1980, Sports Illustrated.

Stallworth had been on the receiving end of a play that came to be the lasting, iconic image of those 1970s Super Steelers. Late in the game, he had grabbed a 73-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Terry Bradshaw, with the ball passing just beyond the reach of a Los Angeles Rams defender.

Back at the team hotel that night, Stallworth sat in the hotel lobby with this wife as coach Chuck Noll and Bill Nunn Jr. walked over. Despite winning four championships — or perhaps because of it — the players were savoring this particular victory. They knew how much work had gone into winning the game, and to building a dynasty.

Stallworth told me how he will never forget the smile that Nunn had on his face that night. Stallworth’s high school coach had discouraged him from playing football. After playing running back on a high school team that had just two victories in his two seasons, Stallworth then barely received any interest SB XIVfrom college recruiters. Even if he had been good enough, he could not have played at the University of Alabama, which remained all-white. Instead, at Alabama A&M, Stallworth had not received any of the attention or accolades that had followed his teammate Lynn Swann at the University of Southern California.

In the end, Stallworth still ended up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“(Nunn) was proud of me,” Stallworth recalled years later. “He was proud of the black college that I came from, and what he had done for making that happen, and for the Steelers. There’s a look on his face, and it was special to me. I treasure that because it made me feel good about who I was, and who I was to that team.”

This year’s Steelers have a chance. A shot at immortality. At celebrating their own championship. Here we go!

Thanks for being awesome

First Heinz Field Steelers game with my daughter. As they say, Go big...

First Heinz Field Steelers game with my daughter. As they say, Go big…

Thanks to everyone who made The Color of Sundays such a success this fall. Because of the book, I have met so many interesting people, heard so many important stories and learned a lot about myself. I’m really grateful to be surrounded by a loving family and so many terrific friends.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Andy

Talking about race & ‘The Color’

Ironically, we rarely talk about race whenever reporters interview me about The Color of Sundays. But Lynne Hayes Freeland set a new standard when she talked with me for her weekly program on KDKA-TV, Pittsburgh’s CBS affiliate.

You can check out the full interview herehttp://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/show/lynne-hayes-freeland-show/video-3333246-lynne-hayes-freeland/

Me hanging out with Lynne Hayes Freeland.

Me hanging out with Lynne Hayes Freeland.

You can find the book at Barnes & Noble stores, online at Amazon.com, at lots of local retailers or directly through me

‘The Color’ LIVE — Appearance on KDKA-TV

I had a great talk with Brenda Waters and Jon Burnett on Pittsburgh Today Live. Jon played football at the University of Tennessee in the 1970s, and he brought a little of that personal experience to the discussion. You can see the full segment (and more of my red socks) here.

PTL

http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/show/pittsburgh-today-live/video-3332212-author-discusses-new-book-the-color-of-sundays/