The Dancing Bear


The Dancing Bear

My Eighteen Years in the Trenches of the AFL and NFL

Ron McDole with Rob Morris
Foreword by George Flint

248 pages
21 photographs, 1 table, index


October 2018


$29.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

October 2018


$29.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

October 2018


$29.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

From the early sixties to the late seventies, defensive end Ron McDole experienced football’s golden age from inside his old‑school, two‑bar helmet. During an eighteen‑year pro career, McDole—nicknamed “The Dancing Bear”—played in over 250 games, including two AFL Championships with the Buffalo Bills and one NFL Championship with the Washington Redskins. 

A cagey and deceptively agile athlete, McDole wreaked havoc on football’s best offenses as part of a Bills defensive line that held opponents without a rushing touchdown for seventeen straight games. His twelve interceptions remain a pro record for defensive ends. Traded by the Bills in 1970, he was given new life in Washington as one of the most famous members of George Allen’s game‑smart veterans known as “The Over‑the‑Hill Gang.” Through it all, McDole was known and loved by teammates and foes alike for his knowledge and skill on the field and his ability to have fun off it.

In The Dancing Bear McDole the storyteller traces his life from his humble beginnings in Toledo, Ohio, to his four years at the University of Nebraska, his marriage to high school sweetheart Paula, and his long, accomplished professional career. He recounts the days when a pro football player needed an off‑season job to pay the bills and teams had to drive around in buses to find a city park in which to practice. The old AFL and NFL blitz back to life through McDole’s straightforward stories of time when the game was played more for love and glory than for money.

Author Bio

Ron McDole is a former pro football defensive end. He played college football at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and professionally for four teams, including the Buffalo Bills and the Washington Redskins. Visit his website Rob Morris is a high school teacher and military historian in Ammon, Idaho. He is the author of Untold Valor: Forgotten Stories of American Bomber Crewmen over Europe in World War II (Potomac, 2006). George Flint is a former pro football guard who played five seasons with the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League. 


“It is a captivating story that covers some of the most important points in the game’s (and our nation’s) history, including the Kennedy assassination, the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, the NFL-AFL merger, the explosion of the game’s popularity, and much more. This book is a must-have not only for fans of the Bills and the Redskins but for football fans of every stripe. The Dancing Bear has scored a touchdown!”Jeffrey J. Miller, author of Rockin’ the Rockpile: The Buffalo Bills of the American Football League

“Roland McDole, which is what I always called him when I wasn’t calling him ‘sir’ out of respect, was a fine gentleman to me, except when he got ahold of me on the field. He weighed around three hundred pounds. You did not want to be under him when he fell on you. Roland was a gentle giant.”—Joe Namath, New York Jets, quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Famer

“I asked him once what his best move was. He said ‘I suck in my stomach and make my opponents miss me.’”—Kenny Houston, safety, Houston Oilers and Washington Redskins, and Pro Football Hall of Famer

“I’m proud to know Ron. If anyone deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, Ron does, as great and durable as he was. His name is the first name that comes to mind when I think about who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.”—Mike Stratton, Buffalo Bills linebacker, six-time AFL All-Pro

Table of Contents

Foreword by George Flint
Preface by Rob Morris
1. Early Life
2. The University of Nebraska
3. A Cardinal, Then an Oiler, Then a Viking
4. The American Football League Changes Everything
5. Bills, Year One
6. Back-to-Back Championship Seasons
7. The Famous Buffalo Bills Halloween Parties
8. The Slow Decline, 1966–1968
9. Goodbye, Buffalo
10. The Over-the-Hill Gang Is Born
11. Our Super Bowl Year
12. The Rest of the Redskins Years
13. The Best of . . .
14. The Dancing Bear Talks Football and Life
Afterword: Reflections from My Family
Appendix 1: Interview with Pat Fischer
Appendix 2: McDole’s Annual and Career Stats

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