Published: September 10th, 2009 | Tags: Ben Roethlisberger, Dermontti Dawson, Donnie Shell, Dwight White, Ernie Stautner, Franco Harris, Greg Lloyd, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, Jerome Bettis, Joe Greene, John Stallworth, L.C. Greenwood, Larry Brown, Lynn Swann, Mel Blount, Mike Webster, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rocky Bleier, Rod Woodson, Terry Bradshaw
Another list, another cause for outrage and debate.
Hope you guys have as much fun reading the list and picking it apart as I did compiling it. If you didn’t crack the Steelers’ 75th anniversary team, you weren’t going to end up getting too much consideration for the final 20. With a franchise this storied, crunching this down to just 20 individuals was no small chore.
1. Joe Greene: He was part of the 1969 team, Chuck Noll’s first in Pittsburgh, Knoll’s first ever draft pick. He went on to define the franchise’s changing fortunes. You win in the trenches and he was one of the most dominant defensive tackles in NFL history.
2. Terry Bradshaw: Sure, QBs get too much of the glory, but he called his own plays for the Steelers dynasty and went 8-2 in championship games and Super Bowls.
3. Jack Lambert: When I think of the Steelers I think of him. He embodies that hard-nosed, blue-collar persona. Arguably the greatest linebacker ever. Punishing hitter with unbelievable range.
4. Franco Harris: Franchise’s all-time leader in yards and touchdowns. A workhorse on the dynasty teams.
5. Jack Ham: It’s so hard to take one of these butt-kicking linebackers over another. They formed the greatest unit ever at that position.
6. Mike Webster: Center holds the franchise record for most consecutive games played and seasons played. A huge part of that dynastic offensive line.
7. L.C. Greenwood: Like Green, he was there from the start in 1969. Second in franchise history in sacks. A huge big game player, creating sacks and knocking down passes in Super Bowls.
8. Donnie Shell: A safety who hit like a linebacker. I’m a huge Earl Campbell guy, and what he did to him in the Astrodome. Man. Fughetabout it. Most INTs of any strong safety in league history.
9. John Stallworth: Not as flashy as Lynn Swann, but averaged nearly 25 yards per catch in Super Bowls. A Hall of Famer.
10. Lynn Swann: I can’t separate one from the other, and his flair for the dramatic, acrobatic catches was second to none. Like Stallworth, he’s in the Hall of Fame.
11. Ben Roethlisberger: I couldn’t put a non-dynasty Steeler in the top half of the list. Just couldn’t. He has a long way to go and if he continues this kind of big-game prowess he will sail up this list.
12. Rod Woodson: Game-changing force at a corner and as a return man. Could blitz, cover and hit in the run game. The total package.
13. Jerome Bettis: Everybody loves “The Bus.” Heart and soul of some very good teams and the feel good story of a Super Bowl win in Detroit.
14. Mel Blount: Four time All Pro and 1975 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. One of the most athletic corners ever.
15. Dwight White: Defensive end had 33½ sacks over a three-year span. Another key player in the dynasty defense.
16. Greg Lloyd: Dick LeBeau said of all the players he’s coached, is he could pick one to start a defense around, it would be this outside linebacker.
17. Ernie Stautner: Defensive tackle played from 1950-63, and became the only Steeler to have his number retired the following year.
18. Dermontti Dawson: Might be the greatest center of his generation. Combination of brawn and athleticism.
19. Larry Brown: Seven years as a starting TE and seven years as a starting tackle on some outstanding teams.
20. Rocky Bleier: If his story doesn’t move you, you’ve got a problem. A 16th round draft pick who was wounded in Vietnam, awarded a Purple Heart, and completed a grueling rehabilitation for a severe foot injury to play 10 more years, often as a blocker for Harris.