21 photographs, 1 table, index
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.