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Top 10 Steelers – How Do You Think NFL Network will Rank Them?


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.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. George H

    December 24, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    What a great list… sooo many worthy Steelers left off. I love being a Steelers fan!!!

  2. Ben Dover

    December 24, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Everyone lists either Joe Greene or Terry Bradshaw as the greatest Steeler, but in multiple interviews with both, they are both of the opinion that Franco Harris is the all-time greatest Steeler.
    Their case for Franco is simple, the Steelers never won anything without him. The fact that Chuck Noll’s offensive philosophy was fullback based, everything revolved around the success of the ground game, and Franco was the engine that drove the offense.
    Everybody has an opinion on this matter, but the only opinions that really matter are those of the Steelers themselves and they say it’s Franco.

  3. greoss

    December 24, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    You missed Rod Woodson. I know he is on it because I saw it on the preview and deservedly so. He might be the best pure athletes to wear a Steelers uniform and he is one of the very few players the Steelers gave up on too early.

  4. Matt Loede

    December 24, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Greoss,

    I know all about not having Rod on the list, and I love him as well for what he did as a Steeler. To me it was a toss-up between Rod and Bettis, and to me Bettis was the driving force behind SB 40, which is why I put him on the list.

    The Steelers never won a bowl with Rod, and while he was one of the best ever, to me Troy is actually 11, while Rod would be 12 for me.

    Thanks for reading!

    • greoss

      December 24, 2010 at 4:01 pm

      I know, it’s a tough, tough call.
      That’s the great thing about lists, everybody’s is different.
      I agree with all of yours (mine might be in a different order) except for Swann. Always thought he was a little overrated. Toss up for me would be replacing him with one of Polamalu, Woodson or Ham. I think once his career is over, Troy will find himself there.

      …and no disrespect meant towards the likes of Stautner, JH Johnson and the rest, but I didn’t really get to see them play, so hard to put them there.

  5. Mike

    December 24, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    i think they are going to put swann and stallwroth as one entry as to allow more on the list. I think Greene will be #1 followed by Franco, Bradshaw, Woodson, Lambert, Blount, Swann/Stallworth, Ward, Bettis, Big Ben. They have done these lists before and taken some liberties with number of people on them. When you think of Swann you think of Stallworth and vice versa.

  6. joe

    December 24, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    What about the “Hammer”? Great player too! BB will be up there and so will Troy..Hopefully Timmons too!

  7. Marco

    December 24, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    My List is based on the players ability to come up with biggest plays during the biggest games at the most critical times.

    10. Lynn Swann
    9. John Stalworth
    8. Ben Roethlisberger
    7. James Harrison
    6. Joe Green
    5. Jerome Bettis
    4. Hines Ward
    3. Troy Polamalu
    2. Terry Bradshaw
    1. Jack Lambert

    Honorable Mention:

    Mel Blount
    Rod Woodson
    Franco Harris
    Jack Ham
    Mike Webster
    L.C. Greenwood
    Greg Lloyd
    James Farrior
    Dermontti Dawson
    Donnie Shell

  8. Marco

    December 24, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Add Joey Porter to my Honorable Mention

  9. Mike

    December 24, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Honorable mention should be Vinny Testaverde, circa 1995.

  10. zeke

    December 24, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    1. greene
    2. lambert
    3. blount
    4. woodson
    5. harris
    6. bradshaw
    7. swann/stallworth
    8. webster
    9. ham
    10. ward

  11. Jim Freeman

    December 25, 2010 at 8:58 am

    1. Joe Greene – An utterly dominant defensive player and a two-time Defensive POY…his number 75 should also be officially retired.

    2. Jack Ham – A tremendous linebacker in every facet of the position…one of the two best outside linebackers in NFL history.

    3. Jack Lambert – A truly menacing figure but also one of the three or four best middle linebackers of all time. He was great defending the run or the pass.

    4. Mel Blount – A true game-changer and a Defensive POY.

    5. Ernie Stautner – An NFL legend who helped established Pittsburgh as a team no one had fun playing against. The Steelers may have lost the game but they were going to give their opponent a beating.

    6. Terry Bradshaw – Comparing passing statistics from the 70s to current numbers is a waste of time. Bradshaw is one of the great quarterbacks in league history…a league MVP and a two-time Super Bowl MVP.

    7. Franco Harris – His ‘Immaculate Reception’ gave the Steelers their first playoff win…ever.

    8. Rod Woodson – One of the great all-around defensive players to ever play for the Steelers…or anyone else for that matter.

    9. Troy Polamalu – See ‘Rod Woodson’. He has already piled up some of the most memorable defensive plays in team history.

    10. Hines Ward – I don’t think Ward is a better receiver than Swann or Stallworth but he’s a Super Bowl MVP and a physical tone-setter on a two-time Super Bowl winning team.

  12. mark

    December 25, 2010 at 9:43 am

    I like Matt’s list! Obviously its too hard to choose between great players and omitting certain ones almost seems like a mortal sin. Mean Joe is my 1st as well because it started with him. Bradshaw is my second as well. Bettis and Ward make the list from the “modern day”. I really think the Steelers are the only organization that can boast a legitimite “TOP 25” and there would still be arguments over who was left off!

  13. Moses

    December 25, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    10) Rocky Bleier – Anyone who goes to Vietnam, gets blown up, comes back and wins 4 Super Bowls makes my list.
    9) Jerome Bettis – Unstoppable from 3 yards out. Fast for a big guy. Ran over Urlacher for 3 TDs in last game in the ‘burgh, in the snow, uphill, both ways, to get the Steelers to SB XL. The Steelers are still looking for someone to fill the hole he left.
    8) Stallworth and Swann – Which one is better? Who cares. They were the best receiving tandem ever – and it is my list, so they go as one entry.
    7) Chuck Noll – 1969, as a rookie head coach “The goal here is to win a championship, but most of you are not good enough for that.” Pretty hardcore. Built and masterminded the dynasty. Was there a “Steeler Nation” before Noll? Ask yourself if there would be one without him.
    6) Jack Lambert – See Hines Ward.
    5) Hines Ward – No one in the NFL has ever played harder. Not the biggest, not the fastest, just tries harder than anyone else. Personifies the image Pittsburghers have of their city (same as Lambert did in the mid 70s – mid 80s.)
    4) Troy Polamalu – Could be the best athlete in the NFL – ever.
    3) Mean Joe – Chuck Noll’s first piece of the dynasty puzzle. Fitting that a guy like Noll picked a guy with the nickname “Mean”. Drank 15 cokes for iconic commercial, burped 14 times, probably sacked the kid after he gave him his jersey.
    2) Franco – “Before he got here, we didn’t win much, and after he got here, we didn’t lose much.” Art Rooney
    1) Bradshaw – He called the plays, 14-5 playoff record, 4 Super Bowls, still doesn’t get the credit he deserves.

  14. Douglas

    December 26, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Some of the picks they made were obviously done just to “stir things up”. How else can you justify having Hines Ward, Troy Polamalu and Lynn Swann on the list and not Jack Ham and Mike Webster?? Both have towering credentials that make those of the others wither and all but disappear when stacked together.

    Being a lifelong Steelers fan, my own list would go something like this(no order):

    1. Joe Greene
    2. Jack Lambert
    3. Jack Ham
    4. Mel Blount
    5. Mike Webster
    6. Terry Bradshaw
    7. Ernie Stautner
    8. Rod Woodson
    9. L.C. Greenwood
    10. Harris/Swann (tie)

    Others to consider would be

    John Stallworth
    Andy Russell
    Donnie Shell
    Bettis
    Ward
    Polamalu
    Mike Merriweather
    Greg Lloyd
    Dermontii Dawson

  15. Matt Loede

    December 27, 2010 at 12:07 am

    BTW – Am I the only one that thinks Mark Madden, who was shown commenting on just about every player, is the biggest turd on the planet? Dude can’t keep a job, looks like a perverted son of Santa Claus, and just talks to hear himself. PLEASE NFL Network stop using him on these Top 10 lists!

    • Jay

      December 27, 2010 at 7:03 am

      I work in mental health and there is something definitely wrong with him from a clinical and diagnostic standpoint! Tourette’s Syndrome maybe, General anxiety disorder! I disagree with his assessment of both John and Lynn being way better than Hines.

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