This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Steve Young says that nothing about his life these days at age 55 would qualify as material for a book, labeling his existence "sublime and simple."
Even so, everything he experienced on the way to being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame gave him more than enough to write about. Always a good storyteller in interviews and in his work as an ESPN analyst, Young turned "QB: My Life Behind the Spiral" into an outstanding book that almost seems fictional.
In other words, it would be just about impossible to make up Young's story of going from an eighth-string quarterback as a BYU freshman to the MVP of the NFL and then a first-ballot Hall of Famer. His book covers that football journey thoroughly, while also hitting "all the life in between," as Young said in a Salt Lake Tribune interview.
It's all there, from his discussion of childhood separation anxiety that affected him even as an NFL star to the tales of his quest to get married as he eventually did, and he now raises four children with his wife, Barb.
Young makes the point that he always wanted to be known as more than a football player. He can add the role of author to his credentials, having worked with writer Jeff Benedict to produce a book that anyone who followed his BYU career will appreciate.
His motivation for writing "QB" stemmed from his children coming home and saying they heard stories about his career, which were inaccurate. He wanted them to know the actual versions, so he started writing for family history's sake. In the end, he was persuaded to publish it.
He credits Barb Young for reading some sections and telling him, "That doesn't sound like you." She succeeded, because the stories come across in print the way Young would tell them in person or on the air, with enthusiasm and detail.
Young also appreciated how Benedict interviewed Young's friends and former coaches and teammates to dig out "stories that I'd forgotten, that had been lost," he said.
His discussion of anxiety is mostly new, even though, "Everyone who knows me lived it," Young said.
His father, Grit, would tell him, "Just have fun." As Young said, "He never could fathom why it just wasn't fun."
Psychiatric evaluation during his NFL career helped Young deal with his issues which never affected him on the field, just in the buildup to games.
The volume of anecdotes make this book fun to read, even for those who have heard most of the stories before. There's BYU linebacker Kyle Whittingham angrily tackling Young, because the scout team was frustrating the No. 1 defense in practice, the owner of the L.A. Express wanting to fight Young during contract negotiations and a San Francisco 49ers executive having to call Young and persuade him to cash checks for millions of dollars that Young didn't believe he earned as a backup to Joe Montana.
Through it all, he's still Steve Young. He laughed and agreed when I said the story of the uncashed checks evoked a "Caddyshack" scene. "Maybe that inspired me," he said.
His quest to find the ideal wife is both touching and hilarious, from the angles of women's parents who would send what amounted to applications to Young's parents and other women who mailed lingerie to Young which he would distribute to his 49ers teammates to give to their wives
It's all good stuff, and "QB" succeeds in capturing a remarkable life, in and out of football.