Bumped from the fanposts. Good stuff from one of BTSC's venerable statesmen, 5020.
An hour before game time, then equipment staffer Jackie Hart would come into the locker room and turn off the stereo. One particular Sunday intimidating 265 LB Arrowhead Ernie Holmes got up and turned it back on. Hart turned it off again stating a Noll Rule about the stereo being off an hour before kickoff. The defiant Holmes turned the radio back on and bellowed "I want to hear more music!" Joe Greene got off his stool walked to the stereo and ripped out all the wires from the back of the stereo and threw a Bradshaw bullet. Stereo off.
Roy Gerela misses another field goal attempt with the Steelers trailing in Super Bowl X. An exuberant Cliff Harris celebrates by patting the Steelers kicker on the helmet. Lambert rips Harris away from Gerela and throws him to the ground challenging Harris and the other 10 Cowboys on the field to a street brawl. Lambert plays the rest of the game in a controlled rage shutting down the Cowboys run game. "Nobody intimidates the Pittsburgh Steelers." Lambert says afterward in the locker room. "We’re the intimidators."
Franco was a soft spoken leader who always performed well in big games and had a Super Bowl MVP on his resume. In Super Bowl XIII with the game on the line in the 4th quarter the Steelers offense was whistled for a false start. An overzealous Cowboy hit Bradshaw late after the whistle which incensed the mild mannered Harris. In the huddle Harris demanded the football on 3rd and long and busted up the middle for a 22 yard TD to lock up another Lombardi for the young dynasty.
Before Super Bowl XIII Dallas Cowboy Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson crowing about the sophisticated Cowboy Flex Defense stated to the world that Terry Bradshaw was so stupid he couldn’t spell CAT if you spotted him the C and the A. Didn’t matter, Bradshaw threw 4 TDs and won MVP honors leading the Steelers to a 35-31 win. Earlier in Super Bowl X Bradshaw under a ferocious rush and poised to be knocked senseless let loose a 70 yard bullet hitting Swann in stride and giving the Steelers the winning points of Super Bowl X. He might not have been able to spell CAT but he could make big time plays in big games and win Super Bowl’s.
Ham was the perfect tactician at LB. Never emotional and always making the correct plays. In 1975 the Steelers were having their way with the Chargers. Ham and Andy Russell were done for the day and were standing on the side line with Ham chatting about the coal business he had started during the off season. The Chargers returned an INT to the 3 yard line and the coaches sent Ham back into the game with the idea of protecting the shut out. Andy Russell wrote; "The first play the Chargers ran was a sweep to the right. Bad idea. Ham took their giant TE and threw him aside, speared the runner behind the line of scrimmage forcing a fumble which Jack of course recovered. As he casually walked off the field he tossed the ball to the ref. Returning to our position on the side line, Ham turned to me smiling and said, where was I?"
From 1992-2004 the Bill Cowher led Pittsburgh Steelers stood at the doors of greatness but were never able to enter and attain one for the thumb. Cowher was a great motivator of men and a fiery emotional leader. But he and his staff seemed overmatched in the biggest of games against the schemes of Bill Belicheck, Mike Shanahan and Bobby Ross. In 2005 the Steelers rode the wave of Bettis final season to take Bettis home to Detroit and purge all of the big losses with a thirst quenching victory. Hines Ward cried after the AFCCG loss in 2004 and begged Bettis to return for one more try. Upon the Steelers arrival in Detroit nearly every player deplaned with a Jerome Bettis Notre Dame throw back jersey. In XL as the Steelers stood on the sideline and watched the final seconds tick down teammate Willie Parker shook big Jerome’s hand and told Bettis "Thank you dog. You made me all that I am…which ain’t much but I appreciate you."
Porter always talked a big game. Early in his career he played big. In the run to XL he played big every week. Without Porter the Steelers don’t get to XL. After the victory against Indy where Porter had 3 huge sacks of Peyton Manning he was emotionally drained. But he was already psyching himself up on the sideline screaming at his teammates "We going to Denver! They shot me in my ass there and its payback!"
Polamalu is being interviewed during the week leading up to Super Bowl XLIII. He is asked about the huge hits he delivers and if he ever thinks about how he is going to hurt from the collision he inflicts on others. Troy states something to the effect of "I know it is going to hurt but I think about honor and how I am doing this for my teammates and my family and so that we can succeed and I can earn a living and I just go for it."
While not a Steelers legend or even a player on my favorite basketball team (Los Angeles Lakers) Jordan owns my favorite sports quote of all time. A young Jordan did not pass the ball enough or involve his subpar teammates enough for his first pro basketball coach Doug Collins. After one game where Michael took a lot of shots Coach Collins quipped "There is no "I" in team Mike." To which Jordan replied "No…but there is in win."