This past weekend, the NFL Network continued with their Top 10 of all time lists and this time around, it was the Pittsburgh Steelers turn. With no team having more more Super Bowl Rings then the Steelers, this may be the hardest list to put together. We all know about the 1970′s and how great and dominate those Steelers teams were and how steady they have been over the past decade, second to only the Patriots. Choosing a top ten was a tough job when in reality, you would need about a top twenty to include almost everyone who deserves to be on the list. There of course were a few mind boggling omissions but of course that leads to people like me talking about it.
The NFL Network set their list up like this:
1. Joe Greene
2. Terry Bradshaw
3. Franco Harris
4. Rod Woodson
5. Jack Lambert
6. Mel Blount
7. Troy Polamalu
8. Hines Ward
9. Lynn Swann
10. Jerome Bettis
By looking at the list, it looks solid as it has all half of famers or future hall of famers on it, but there are more deserving people that should be included. Here is how the NFL Network should have compiled their list in my opinion:
1. Joe Greene – The anchor of the Steel Curtain Defense in the 70′s, the Rooney’s often consider Greene the greatest player to ever put on the Black and Gold. Who am I to argue? One of the most intimidating forces to ever play on the Defensive side of the ball.
2. Mel Blount – When the league changes the rules based on the way a player plays, they deserve to be high. With 57 career interceptions, the ‘Mel Blount Rules’ took place where Defensive Backs couldn’t be as aggressive with Receivers. Blount is one of the greatest Corners to ever play the game.
3. Jack Ham – The biggest shocker to me is that their list didn’t include the Penn State alumni and current analyst for the Nittany Lions, Jack Ham. Ham is the second most dominate linebacker I have seen behind Lawrence Taylor. 8 straight Pro Bowls, 6 time All Pro Team, 25 Sacks, 21 Fumbles Recovered and 32 Interceptions. This Hall of Famer should be included on any list when talking about the Steelers.
4. Rod Woodson – Despite his stint with the hated Ravens, Woodson is a class act on and off the field. An astonishing 71 Interceptions is good for 3rd all time in the league and a member of the 2009 Hall of Fame Class will go down as one of the best of all time.
5. Franco Harris – After 13 years in the league, 12 with the Steelers, Harris is 12th all time in rushing yards. Don’t bring up Franco’s name to any Raiders fan as he is most notably known for being on the receiving end of the ‘Immaculate Reception’ in the 1972 Divisional Round. Regardless if he caught the ball or it hit the ball, it is a moot point and Harris will go down as one of the best ever and a hero in these parts forever.
6. Mike Webster – Considered by some the best Center to ever play the game, it is a crying shame that he was left off the list. A man who literally gave his life for the game as he is now the main example of a player that suffered from Dementia, Amnesia and other problems related to head injuries proven from his NFL days. Webster was a 9 time Pro Bowler and the Steelers have retired his #52 for good.
7. Troy Polamalu – Very hesitate to put current Steelers on the list but how can you not include Troy? He is a freak of a specimen and continues to make plays ever week. The biggest playmaker in the game on the Defensive side of the ball and arguably the entire league. The mild mannered Polamalu off the field, turns into a different type of beast on the field. Known for his huge hits (and hair), Troy will go down as maybe the best Safety of all time.
8. Terry Bradshaw – I feel the Network put him way to high on the list at Number 2. Big Ben is on his way to passing Bradshaw as the best signal caller in the ‘Burgh, but give credit where credit is due. Any Quarterback that has 4 Super Bowls on his resume needs to be discussed as one of the greatest ever. Bradshaw isn’t mentioned with the Marinos, Elways or Namaths, but his name should be thrown in there. Though his numbers aren’t impressive by today’s standards (212 TD’s to 210 Ints 70.9 Rating) it was a different era. The bottom line is that he found a way to get the job done.
9. Jack Lambert – Is there anybody more creepy to look at then Lambert? I mean really? But as creepy looking as he was, it didn’t stop him from being a dominant force at Linebacker for the Steelers. The Hall of Famer and former Rookie of the Year had his number 58 retired by the organization as well. Known for his hard hits, Lambert was voted by the Sporting News as the toughest football player of all time. Deserving of a spot indeed.
10. Hines Ward – Tough call for the last spot on the list. It came down to Lynn Swann, John Stallworth and Ward. While I don’t believe is as good of a Receiver as Stallworth and Swan, he does have practically every record in Steelers history for the position and is still going. Ward has always played with the chip on his shoulder that he wasn’t big enough or fast enough to be an elite receiver. Well, he has silenced most of his critics. The hardest working working player I have ever watched is also the biggest kid out there who has fun and is as aggressive as they come. Often referred to as a dirty player per his reputation for not shying away from contact, Steelers won’t soon forget the smile that he wears after every play.
There you have it, my top ten Steelers of all time. There were quite a few players that I wanted to put on the list but just couldn’t. As previously mentioned, you need at least a top twenty list to do justice to the team. Who are your Top Ten Steelers?
About the Author
Written by Michael Waterloo
I'm currently pursuing my Master's degree in Communication and Journalism from Clarion University. I currently work for Ohio Valley Athletics where I serve as the West Virginia Football Beat Writer and cover West Virginia Men's Basketball as well. I'm a big Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers and Oregon Ducks fan. Follow me on Twitter at @MichaelWaterloo or visit www.ovathletics.com