A Look Back: The Steel Curtain Dominates In The 70’s


The revised edition with new chapters and updated stats in which I wrote back in 2010 has arrived in stores, dedicated to the Black and Gold entitled “100 Things Every Steelers Fan Should Know Before They Die.”

The book, published by Triumph Books, is now available in all major book stores and retails for $14.95. It is currently available for order through Amazon and Borders, so if your store does not have it, feel free to order it!

To give you a sneak peek of the book, I will continue to give Steelers Gab readers a portion of some chapters of the book.

Today we highlight chapter 9 – “Steel Curtain” – and if you are a Steelers fan – you already know who we are talking about.

When you think about the great memories of a Steelers dynasty in the 1970s, there is a term that comes to mind that still gives Steelers fans chills—Steel Curtain. It was a defensive front four that changed NFL history, started a run of Super Bowls for the Steel City, and eventually landed one of its own into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

It started simply enough with the drafting of a little-known defensive tackle from North Texas State in 1969 by the name of Joe Greene.

He dominated games and became the backbone of the line. In the same draft the team added a quality defensive end named L.C. Greenwood. Two years later along came another end, Dwight White, and then in 1972 the team added its final piece to the Steel Curtain puzzle—Ernie Holmes.

Each had his own qualities that made him great, but combined they were not only great, they were the greatest. It started with Greene, who was the superstar of the group. He came up with the stunt in the 4-3, and it usually took two or three linemen to block him. Even with that, Greene seemed to always be around the ball carrier or quarterback.

Greenwood was built more like a strong safety—he was tall, lean, and had amazing speed. Quarterbacks would always need to keep an eye on Greenwood, and that’s while also trying to keep track of the other three. Then there was White, nicknamed “Mad Dog,” a player who had a mean streak and showed up crunching quarterbacks and running backs. His aggressive style was a welcome sight to the unit every Sunday.

Holmes was the unsung hero of the bunch. He was called by Steelers linebacker Andy Russell the strongest of the group, and Hall of Fame offensive guard Gene Upshaw said he was the best defensive tackle he had ever played against. Guards week in and week out were not able to match the strength, nor the play-in, play-out intensity that Holmes would bring.

Don’t forget, order the book through Amazon and Borders.

About the Author

Matt Loede
Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association and of course, the National Football League. On NFL Sunday’s you can hear Matt on National networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and other stations around the country. Matt also joined The Washington Post in 2009 as a guest columnist on league hot topics. Born and raised in Cleveland, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

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