For those that are around Friday night or want to DVR it like I willl, NFL Network will be premiering their latest Top 10, which will be the “Top 10 Steelers of All-Time.” From the clips they have already shown, it sounds like there will be some serious debate. With so many players to choose from over the seasons with six NFL titles, here’s the way I think they list will play out.
10. Lynn Swann – Combined with John Stallworth for a powerful 1-2 punch with Terry Bradshaw as an offense that could take over games and put up bunches of points in their last two Super Bowls. Another SB MVP, and a WR that came up with some of the biggest plays in Super Bowl history. Swann deserves to be on the list.
9. Jerome Bettis – He’s just the second modern player on the list, but “The Bus” deserves the spot. He came over for peanuts (a draft pick) from the Rams, and led the team and had a huge off the field presence as well as maybe the most popular player in the teams history. He was the driving force in the teams run to their 5th SB title, and had some huge plays and seasons over the years. He’ll be yet another Steeler in the HOF within the next few years.
8.John Stallworth – Another playmaker on offense of those 70’s teams, Stallworth was the steak while Lynn Swann was the sizzle. He seemed to always come up with the big plays at the big time, and did it not only for the glory teams, but stayed around and played on some of the not so good teams in the 1980’s when he was also catching balls and making plays for teams led by the likes of Cliff Stoudt and Mark Malone.
7. Mike Webster – Sorry, just too hard to get away from the 70’s guys that meant so much to the franchise. Webster was the anchor of the line, a line that protected Bradshaw and pounded teams with the run game. The Steelers never needed to worry about the center spot with Webster, and that’s why he’s yet another HOF and is #7 on the list.
6. Mel Blount – They changed the rules due to his greatness, and he’s yet another HOF player from the 70’s teams, and was the most physical DB in the history of the game. He ran the defensive backfield with his play, and even after they changed rules to open up the offense, he still was as good as any corner in the league, which is saying quite a bit.
5. Hines Ward – The first modern player on the list, he’s the all-time leader in catches and yards for the Steelers, and while those numbers get overlooked, one thing that doesn’t is his ability to block and be more physical than just about any player on the field. Ward is a two-time SB champion, and a SB MVP. He could be higher on the list, but at #5 that’s right about where I can see them putting him.
4. Jack Lambert – You know the name: “Count Dracula in Cleats.” He was the vocal leader of the linebackers, and was not afraid to call out his own teammates to make them better, and he himself never seemed to miss many plays. Undersized when he entered the league, it didn’t take long for him to round out into the starting MLB on four Super Bowl teams.
3. Franco Harris – The greatest running back in franchise history, he was the man that was called upon to get the tough yards when the team needed them. He also set records in the Super Bowl, and found himself near the top of the all-time lists by the time he walked away after a mini-stint in Seattle. He easily could challenge Bradshaw or Greene for #2 or #1 on the list.
2. Terry Bradshaw – The face of the offense in the 70’s Super Bowl run, Bradshaw was the conductor of an offense that had a Hall of Fame running back, and two Hall of Fame wide outs. While his career didn’t start great, he and the team got better and eventually reached heights that not a lot of people could have ever predicted.
1. Joe Greene – The franchise player that started the run of the four Super Bowl titles, no player had more impact on the franchise than “Mean” Joe. Chuck Noll’s first draft pick, it’s really hard to think of anyone else that could possibly be #1 on the list other than the greatest defensive linemen in NFL history.