One of the great football commercials back in the 1970s involved our 13th-ranked player, “Mean” Joe Greene. Joe is slowly going to the locker room when a lovable little kid offers him his Coke. The phrase “Have a Coke and a Smile” comes into play as Joe smiles as he throws our real hero his jersey; everybody is a winner.
Number 13 on the NFL Network’s “Top 100” is Joe Greene, or as he was known throughout his career, “Mean” Joe Greene. Greene was drafted out of North Texas State in 1969 as the fourth pick in the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers as a defensive tackle. Greene played for 13 seasons and played in 181 games out of a possible 190 games. He was the leader of the dreaded Pittsburgh “Steel Curtain” defense that terrorized teams in the 1970s, during which time the Steelers won an unheard of (at the time) four Super Bowls. Greene was twice named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1972 and in 1974.
I remember watching Joe Greene. He was very fast and very strong. Plus, his name was exactly the correct fit. He showed a lot of attitude on the field and other players rarely stood up to him because he was so big.
Greene developed a way to rush the offensive pattern that was unique. He would line up between the center and the guard at an angle and they would not know how to block. He became very effective and often he drew double and even at times triple coverage. It did not hurt that there were three other dramatic players in the “Steel Curtain.”
In addition to winning four Super Bowls, Joe Greene played in 10 Pro-Bowls. This all occurred in the 1970s as the Steelers established themselves as the team of the decade.
“Mean” Joe Greene was picked 29th by the fans, which is quite an honor, considering the era in which he played.
Greene was taken into the Hall of Fame in 1987. He was always popular with fans due to his overwhelming success on the field. On the field, at times, I didn’t like what Greene might do with a cheap shot here and there.
Overall, there is no denying his greatness.
You Tube Website, “Coca-Cola Classic ad: Mean Joe Green (Full Version) (1979)”
You Tube Website, “NFL Top 100 Players #13-“Mean” Joe Greene”
Hall of Fame Website, “Joe Greene”
NFL Network Website, “Joe Greene DT”