QB: My Life Behind the Spiral by Steve Young
QB is an autobiography by the NFL Quarterback and Hall of Fame Inductee Steve Young. Young tells his story of growing up in Connecticut to being the 4th string quarterback at BYU on to being drafted into the USFL and eventually signing with the San Francisco 49ers where he spent the rest of his career. He spends much of his book talking about his faith. He is an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) and speaks openly about the challenges and perspective this gave him. He talks about being single in a culture that promotes family and of being one of the wealthiest athletes but lived out of a duffel bag.
Young brings a very human element to the hype and celebrity of the NFL. He talks about relationships and how those are what make and break careers and players. However, by far the most intriguing relationship, that of Young and the quarterback he backed up for years Joe Montana, is white washed at best. There was intense media scrutiny at the time as Steve Young was a great quarterback stuck behind one of the all time greats. Who would start and who would sit was all some could talk about. Young speaks about the tension as any nice guy would, sparingly.
Young speaks a lot about the anxiety he suffered as a child, youth and even professional football player. He speaks candidly about mental health in a very none threatening way. He speaks of anxiety as an illness and not as a taboo subject. He makes a sports fan pause and remember that these are people we watch on television with their own problems and trials. Even the ones who seems to have it all together.
Young also writes about celebrity, especially being a celebrity in a minority community like Mormonism. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I was well aware of its doctrine and its major leaders. A reader who may not be as familiar may struggle with some of the references. But anyone who has attained fame but is part of a smaller community will understand and appreciate some of his struggles. The portions where he talked about the various marriage proposals had my laughing out loud.
As an avid reader and sports fan reading athletes autobiographies always makes me nervous because the writing can be less than steller. However, Young who has a Law Degree and a successful business since retiring from football, delivered in the writing. It was engaging, light-hearted and easy to read. He kept the pace moving quickly while also granting a human element to a great time of NFL history.
This is a great book for any fan of football, especially a BYU or 49ers fan. It is also a very good book for youth that are in athletics. He speaks about his Dad always asking him, “What’s your plan?” In his Dad’s mind, football was a dream but his plan should lie elsewhere. This is such an important lesson to teach even the most talented young athlete. Make plans for when athletics is behind you. Young has regained notoriety through his appearance on ESPN’s Monday Night Football and other media outlets speaking about football, making the name Steve Young still relevant in any football fans world.
A give this book 3/5 stars. A good read.
- Youth in athletics
- Youth that struggle with anxiety, depression or other mental health issues
- BYU alumni or fans
- San Francisco 49ers fan
- NFL fans during the 1990s
- Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Christian Athletes