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Old 12-24-2010, 10:32 AM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Bires: Picking the Steelers' top 10 a daunting task

Bires: Picking the Steelers' top 10 a daunting task

By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times

Friday December 24, 2010 07:34 AM

PITTSBURGH -- With so many legendary players in the franchise’s storied history, it’s very difficult to name “The Top 10 Pittsburgh Steelers.” But that’s what the NFL Network will do tonight.

For the past three years, the NFL Network has produced a weekly “Top 10” documentary series that’s both educational and entertaining. Topics range from the top 10 passing combinations in NFL history to the top 10 linebacker corps ever to the top 10 shortest players.

This evening at 8 p.m., the NFL Network will present its list of the top 10 Steelers of all-time.

That’s a daunting task because there are no less than 12 inductees already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame who spent most of their careers with the Steelers.

As part of its selection process, the NFL Network asked a number of media types who cover the Steelers _ your truly included _ to submit a top-10 Steelers list.

So without further adieu, here’s mine:


1. Joe Greene (1969-1981)

When the Steelers turned to Chuck Noll as coach in 1969, his first pick was a defensive tackle out of North Texas State hardly anyone heard of. “Who’s Joe Greene” was the headline in one of the Pittsburgh newspapers.

But Greene would go on to become perhaps the most dominant player of his era. He was the rock on which the Steelers built their dynasty of the 1970s. He was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1972 and ’74. He played in 10 Pro Bowls, a franchise record. He also starred in a classic Coke commercial in 1979.

2. Jack Lambert (1974-84)

If Greene was the greatest player in Steelers’ history, Lambert may be the most favorite Steeler ever. Fans loved to cheer for the guy called “Count Dracula in Cleats.” He was a nine-time Pro Bowler and the NFL’s Defensive MVP in 1976. The Steelers’ defense in ’76 is regarded by many as the best defense in NFL history, and it was Lambert who was MVP of that defense.

3. Mel Blount (1970-1983)

Talk about a freak of nature. At 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, Blount was huge for a cornerback. He was strong and tough, but also quick and fast. The NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1975, he was so dominating that the NFL had to change its rules on pass defense after the '77 season. Blount holds the franchise record for career interceptions with 57.

4. Rod Woodson (1987-96)

Woodson spent 17 seasons in the NFL but it was the 10 he spent with the Steelers that defined him. In 1994 when the NFL announced its 75th Anniversary Team, only five active players were on it. One of them was Woodson, a six-time Pro Bowler and the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1993.

5. Franco Harris (1972-83)

Talk about making an instant impact. After he was drafted with the 13th overall pick of the 1972 Draft, Harris earned NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. In a year when the Steelers qualified for the NFL playoffs for the first time ever, Harris rushed for 1,055 yards. He also caught the “Immaculate Reception” in a 13-7 playoff win over the Oakland Raiders.

Harris ranks 12th on the NFL’s all-time rushing list.

6. Ernie Stautner (1950-63)

Because it’s been 47 years since Stautner’s last game as a Steeler, a lot of fans don’t know much about him. But in his 14-year career, he played in nine Pro Bowls. That’s just one less than Greene’s 10. Stautner is also the only Steeler to have his number officially retired. He wore No. 70.

7. Ben Roethlisberger (2004-present)

Why Roethlisberger and not Terry Bradshaw?

That’s a tough call. After all, Bradshaw has four Super Bowl rings and an 8-2 record in AFC championship games and Super Bowls. But Roethlisberger already has two Super Bowl rings and he’s 4-1 in conference championship games and Super Bowls.

I just think Roethlisberger, who’s only 28, is a better overall QB that Bradshaw. In his career, Bradshaw threw 212 TD passes but also 210 interceptions. His career passer rating was 70.9. Roethlisberger has a much better TD to interception ratio _ 141 to 86 going into Thursday night's game against Carolina _ and a better career passer rating of 91.9 pass. By the time he’s done playing, Roethlisberger will hold virtually every team passing record.

8. Jack Ham (1971-1982)

Technically speaking, Ham may have been the most fundamentally sound linebacker the Steelers have ever had. At one point in his career, he earned Pro Bowl honors eight straight seasons (1973-80).

9. Troy Polamalu (2003-present)

Since the NFL first chose its Defensive Player of the Year in 1971, six times has a Steeler won the award. There’s a good chance Polamalu could be the seventh this year.

A strong safety who’s been to five Pro Bowls, Polamalu is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the league. Plus, he’s one of the most humble players to ever wear a Steelers’ uniform.

10. Hines Ward (1998-present)

Why Ward and not Lynn Swann and/or John Stallworth, who are both in the Hall of Fame?

Ward, who’s 34, is the Steelers’ all-time leading receiver. He has two Super Bowl rings. And he’s one of the best blocking wide receivers ever.

Mike Bires can be reached online at mbires@timesonline.com

(Gotta include the Rock in the top ten. Bleier may not have had the physical skills of some of the others but no Steeler ever had more heart. - mesa)
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:45 AM   #2
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Default Re: Bires: Picking the Steelers' top 10 a daunting task

Good list. I don't think Bradshaw belonged on that list either, but like the other choices although i question whether Woodson is actually one of "the 10".
I'd LOVE to see a documentary on the career and the man behind #58 Jack Lambert.
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:56 AM   #3
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Default Re: Bires: Picking the Steelers' top 10 a daunting task

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Originally Posted by TRH View Post
Good list. I don't think Bradshaw belonged on that list either, but like the other choices although i question whether Woodson is actually one of "the 10".
I'd LOVE to see a documentary on the career and the man behind #58 Jack Lambert.
Try this.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-h...k-Jack-Lambert

After watching it I'm surprised that Goodell doesn't retroactively ban him from the league.
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:03 AM   #4
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Default Re: Bires: Picking the Steelers' top 10 a daunting task

Try these as well.
http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-h...ambert-Feature

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-networ...s-Jack-Lambert

This last one is really good it has some footage in it I had never seen before.


Last edited by mesaSteeler; 12-24-2010 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:11 AM   #5
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Default Re: Bires: Picking the Steelers' top 10 a daunting task

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Originally Posted by TRH View Post
Good list. I don't think Bradshaw belonged on that list either, but like the other choices although i question whether Woodson is actually one of "the 10".
I'd LOVE to see a documentary on the career and the man behind #58 Jack Lambert.
Woodson is on there because he's one of the best cornerbacks to play the game...and not just for the Steelers (where there can be an argument made between him and Blount), but in NFL history. It would have been a travesty if Woodson hadn't made the list.

The one I don't agree with is Ward. Love him, but the only reason he has more receiving yards than Swann or Stallworth is because of the eras they've played in. Swann and Stallworth were just (individually) one of a kind receivers. If they played today, forget about it.
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:13 AM   #6
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Default Re: Bires: Picking the Steelers' top 10 a daunting task

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Originally Posted by mesaSteeler View Post
http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-h...k-Jack-Lambert

After watching it I'm surprised that Goodell doesn't retroactively ban him from the league.
... don't give her any-ideas...



the same tackling techniques employed by Lambert, and lauded by coaches for the last 35 years (Noll gushed about it), are what the Nancy-boy Football League are trying to do-away with

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