LeBeau pens book about ‘08 Steelers defense

In his forthcoming book, London native Dick LeBeau delves into the details that made 2008 a standout season for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense. He also includes anecdotes from his nearly 60 years as an NFL player and coach.

(Posted May 10, 2024)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

In 2008, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive unit was a dominant force in the National Football League, leading all other teams in nearly every major statistical category and playing an integral role in the team’s AFC Championship and Super Bowl XLIII victories.

It is that season that London native and Pro Football Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau chose as the focus of his forthcoming book, “Legendary: The 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers Defense, the Zone Blitz, and My Six Decades in the NFL.” Published by Triumph Publishing, the book is slated for release on July 9.

A football lifer, LeBeau was a member of Ohio State University’s 1957 national championship team. He went on to play for the Detroit Lions for 14 years, then embarked on a 45-year NFL coaching career, spending 16 of those seasons guiding the Steelers’ defense. He retired from the NFL in 2017 and decided a few years ago to look into writing a book about the 2008 season.

“I thought it would be good if there was something down in writing to commemorate what these guys did in that year,” he said.

“Legendary” marks LeBeau’s first journey into authorship.

“They say everybody’s got one good book in them. It was kind of fun to jump in the water and see what the temperature was. I enjoyed it,” LeBeau said of the writing process.

That process spanned two-and-a-half years and involved meticulous research.

“We had to substantiate a lot of stuff and research the numbers,” LeBeau said, referring to the statistics that set the team apart. “I went back and looked at every game from that season and contacted a lot of the players and did a lot of interviewing.

“I had a good memory of the general things that happened, but I wanted to be pretty exact in what I was writing about.”

LeBeau praised his co-authors, sportswriters Scott Brown and George Von Benko, for their work on the book.

“The way we pieced it together, it makes for interesting and light reading,” LeBeau said. “Readers can jump around if they want. Each chapter covers a couple of different areas.”

In addition to detailing the 2008 season, the book includes anecdotes from LeBeau’s nearly 60 years in the league, as well as recollections from players who helped to bring LeBeau’s groundbreaking defensive strategy to life. Those players include Hall of Fame Safety Troy Polamalu, 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison, and essential linebacker James Farrior, to name a few.

Born in 1937, LeBeau graduated from London High School in 1955. He currently lives in Cincinnati with his wife, Nancy.

About his hometown, LeBeau said, “I couldn’t have had a better place to grow up, better people to grow up with, or a better environment to prepare myself to have a very happy life.”

“Legendary: The 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers Defense, the Zone Blitz, and My Six Decades in the NFL” can be pre-ordered at amazon.com.

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