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Steelers Power Rankings: All-Time Steeler Intimidators

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BTSC ranks the Steeler players that struck fear into others on the field or just by their very presence.

Los Angeles Rams v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Intimidation is the act of inducing fear or a sense of inferiority into others. The Pittsburgh Steelers have a rich history of players that have made a career out of frightening opponents into submission. These players are typically revered by their fan bases and abhorred by supporters of other teams. One BTSC author relied on his best recollections to list the top ten intimidators ever to don the black-and-gold.


10. Ryan Clark

Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

2020 Hall of Fame inductee, Donnie Shell, was known as “the Torpedo”. 30-some years later, Ryan Clark emulated Shell’s hard-hitting brand of play. Once fined $55,000 for illegal hits in just a two-week span in 2011, Clark had offensive players hearing footsteps and bracing for impact every time they caught the ball in his vicinity. In the 2008 Super Bowl season, Clark knocked out both Wes Walker and Willis Magahee with devestating blows.


9. Alan Faneca

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns

Faneca is one of the best offensive lineman in team history. In 10 seasons with the Steelers, Faneca was a seven-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro. One of the defining plays of Faneca’s career was the pulling-block to spring Willie Parker on his 75-yard touchdown ramble in the 21-10 victory over Seattle in Super Bowl XL. Faneca was not known as a loud or dirty player, but he had a menacing look and played with the fierce demeanor of an assassin. A crushing block was usually customary from “Big Al”.


8. Hines Ward

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Hines Ward was known as one of the finest blockers to ever play at the wide receiver position. Of course, his 1000 career receptions make him feared...but his penchant for punishing hits on the offensive side of the ball were so fierce that the NFL made “the Hines Ward Rule” that disallowed blindside blocks after Ward broke the jaw of Cincinnati LB Keith Rivers in 2008. Hines was so feared and hated, the Baltimore Ravens actually had a bounty on him during a 2008 game and NFL players voted him the dirtiest player in a 2009 Sports Illustrated poll. Adding insult to injury, No. 86 would crush a defender with a blow and smile from ear-to-ear afterwards.


7. Dwight White

Buffalo Bill v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

His nickname was “Mad Dog” and he played like one on the field. Possibly the nastiest of the four members of the Steel Curtain on the field, White was the most vociferous as well. But nothing spoke louder than his actions in Super Bowl IX. After losing 20 pounds during Super Bowl Week due to an untimely and vicious case of pneumonia, No. 78 returned to the team the morning of and recorded the first safety and points in Steelers Super Bowl history. That’s definitely intimidating.


6. Joey Porter

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

A trash-talker extraordinaire, Porter would start his game of intimidation during warmups by harassing opposing players by roaming on their side of the field and showing off his exposed abs. Porter once punched William Green in the face during warmups in Cleveland. That warranted and ejection that led to the emergence of James Harrison in the Steel City and a rule prohibiting players from crossing into enemy territory before the game. Porter wasn’t just a loudmouth, he backed it up with fierce play rushing the passer and dropping into coverage.


5. Joe Greene

Super Bowl XIII - Dallas Cowboys v Pittsburgh Steelers

The six-time Super Bowl champion (four as a player, two in management) is reportedly not fond of the moniker “Mean Joe”. But it wasn’t merely added just because of the rhyming factor. Greene was known as a puncher and even a body slammer to opposing offenses, so you get it now. He was more than just that though. Greene was a powerhouse punisher that struck fear in opponents from 1969-1981 with bone-shattering efficacy and his on-field play helped define the championship mystique of the team.


4. Mel Blount

Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Mel Blount was a player that revolutionized the game so much that the NFL Competition Committee (led by Dolphins Coach Don Shula) instituted a rule to neutralize him a bit. The 1978 rule prohibited defensive payers to touch receivers after five yards. The 1975 NFL Defensive Player of the Year remained a top cover guy, but the rule ushered in the era of the potent passing attack. The “Blount Rule” led to even more success for Terry Bradshaw and the Steelers offense. As is typical now, a completely bald and bearded man was a unique look in the 1970s. Blount, with the menacing look and dominating presence, relegated receivers to be a little more hesitant when lining up across from No. 47.


3. James Harrison

Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

On the football field, James Harrison was surly, mean, aggressive and unforgiving...and that was on a good day. The man known as Deebo had a ferocious look and a demeanor of an undrafted free agent that was cut multiple times before finally sticking in the league, which he was. Crushing quarterbacks and getting cracked with multiple fines for vicious hits is a part of Harrison’s legacy. The 2008 Defensive a Player of the Year will go down as one of the fiercest and most intimidating defenders in Steeler history.


2. Greg Lloyd

Greg Lloyd

The man who once wore a t-shirt that read “I wasn’t hired for my disposition” was a difference-maker on defense. The dominance of Greg Lloyd was first apparent when he three-counted out Pat Ryan, a Jets quarterback, in 1989. Lloyd, the leader of the famed “Blitzburgh” defense of the 1990s, ranks eighth among all-time team leaders with 53.5 sacks and second with 15 fumble recoveries. The five-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro and two-time Steelers MVP is a member of Pittsburgh’s All-Time Team. But deemed a tad crazy by players, Lloyd was probably one of the most fear-instilling in Steeler lore.


1. Jack Lambert

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Lambert was indeed at the top of his class in this category and plenty others. With a tall and lanky build, missing teeth, messy blonde hair and a glare that could melt steel...”Count Dracula in Cleats” had the look. But he’d also play to the whistle and knock a player’s teeth out to match his set. When Dallas’ Cliff Harris tried to bully Kicker Roy Gerela in Super Bowl X, “Jack Splat” basically body shammed the perpetrator and took over from there with a total of 14 tackles. The 8X All-Pro once said it best after the victory that day in the Orange Bowl, “No one can be allowed to intimidate us. We’re the Pittsburgh Steelers. We’re supposed to be the intimidators”. Mission accomplished.


Honorable Mention: Rod Woodson, Levon Kirkland, Donnie Shell, L.C. Greenwood, Ernie Holmes, Bill Saul, Jack Butler, Jerome Bettis, Troy Polamalu, Jason Gildon, Maurkice Pouncey, Ernie Stautner, Kevin Greene


Did we get the list right? Who should have been let in and respectively left out? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to vote in the poll.

Poll

Who do you consider the most intimidating Steeler of all time?

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    Jack Lambert
    (1541 votes)
  • 5%
    Greg Lloyd
    (109 votes)
  • 6%
    James Harrison
    (133 votes)
  • 1%
    Mel Blount
    (22 votes)
  • 8%
    Joe Greene
    (179 votes)
  • 0%
    Dwight White
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Joey Porter
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Hines Ward
    (9 votes)
  • 0%
    Ryan Clark
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Alan Faneca
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Rod Woodson
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Levon Kirkland
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Donnie Shell
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    L.C. Greenwood
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Ernie Holmes
    (14 votes)
  • 0%
    Bill Saul
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Jack Butler
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Jerome Bettis
    (5 votes)
  • 3%
    Troy Polamalu
    (67 votes)
  • 0%
    Jason Gildon
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Maurkice Pouncey
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Ernie Stautner
    (11 votes)
  • 0%
    Kevin Greene
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Other
    (9 votes)
2130 votes total Vote Now