It’s the offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers and there are so many topics to talk and write about. Free agents, the coordinator conundrum, the next quarterback, the NFL Draft, signings, retirements and breaking news will all be covered here at BTSC. But who’s going to give you little-known-facts out of the 500 Level?
Luckily, your one-stop, and non-stop, shop for everything Steelers employs a Steelers fan that was allegedly dropped on his head as a one-year-old during the Immaculate Reception. Useless and somewhat fascinating facts are his forte. So, here we are with off-the-wall thoughts from the dark side of a black-and-gold brain that nobody asked for. But the joke’s on you as you’ll be telling your peeps something you read here later.
412 Fosters Forever
Most everybody knows that Garth Brooks hails from Oklahoma, but most are unaware that the country music legend is a Pittsburgh Steelers diehard.
“Where I was from everybody was a Dallas Cowboys fan,” said Brooks to Steelers.com. “If I am going to go against the grain, the two teams going against Dallas at that point were the Washington Redskins and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh had (Jack) Lambert and (Jack) Ham. If you are a little kid and see those guys, that’s who you want to be.”
Garth Brooks will always have friends in black and yellow places. Forgive me, I know that it’s gold, but a pun is a pun.
BTSC Steelers Jeopardy
(Answer at bottom of article)
The Pittsburgh Steelers virtually own the NFL AP Defensive Players of the Year Award that has gone out to the top defensive player in the league since 1971. A Man of Steel has brought the title back to the Burgh a total of eight times, with Joe Greene being the only repeat winner. That means that a total of seven individual Steelers have won the award. The two teams closest to Pittsburgh would be the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens with half the number at four times. Only the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ravens have had three individual award winners. Eleven teams have never had a player claim the trophy. That just shows you the level of dominance of Pittsburgh defenders over the last half century.
Minnesota Vikings (2) - Alan Page, Keith Millard
Pittsburgh Steelers (8) - Joe Greene, Joe Greene, Mel Blount, Jack Lambert Rod Woodson, James Harrison, Troy Polamalu, T.J. Watt
Miami Dolphins (3) - Dick Anderson, Doug Betters, Jason Taylor
Dallas Cowboys (1) - Harvey Martin
Denver Broncos (1) - Randy Gradishar
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3) - Lee Roy Selmon, Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks
Oakland Raiders (2) - Lester Hayes, Khalil Mack
New York Giants (4) - Lawrence Taylor, Lawrence Taylor, Lawrence Taylor, Michael Strahan
Seattle Seahawks (2) - Kenny Easley, Cortez Kennedy
Chicago Bears (3) - Mike SIngletary, Mike SIngletary, Brian Urlacher
Philadelphia Eagles (1) - Reggie White
Buffalo Bills (3) - Bruce Smith, Bryce Paup, Bruce Smith
New Orleans Saints (1) - Pat Swilling
San Francisco 49ers (2) - Deion Sanders, Dana Stubblefield
Green Bay Packers (2) - Reggie White, Charles Woodson
Baltimore Ravens (4) - Ray Lewis, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs
Indianapolis Colts (1) - Bob Sanders
Houston Texans - (3) J.J. Watt, J.J. Watt, J.J. Watt
Carolina Panthers (1) - Luke Kuechly
Los Angeles Rams (3) - Aaron Donald, Aaron Donald, Aaron Donald
New England Patriots (1) - Stephon Gilmore
Middle Name Madness
We love citing the second name of members of the Men of Steel here at Behind the Steel Curtain. We always cite Benjamin Todd Roethlisberger, Christopher Lynn Boswell and Trent Jordan Watt, but who else? Hence, the “More You Know Middle Name of the Week”. This week we honor and under-the-radar free agent find that could play a big role in the Steelers secondary in 2022.
Damontae Tyron Kazee
This Week’s Birthdays of Steel
7/17 Dick Campbell (1935), Justin Kurpeikis (1977), Tom Moore, Mason Rudolph (1995)
7/18 Devin Bush Jr. (1998), Dick Shiner (1942), Stevenson Sylvester (1988)
7/19 Hebron Fangupo (1985), Shar Pourdanesh (1970), Walter White (1951)
7/20 Dan Rooney (1932), Jaylen Samuels (1996), Jim Smith (1955), Troy Smith (1984)
7/21 Johnnie Barnes (1968), Terry Long (1959)
7/22 Warren Bankston (1947)
7/23 Darryl Sims (1961)
Strange Sights for Sore Steelers Nation Eyes
Not every NFL player retires with their original team, having played with no other franchise. We may try to forget the image of our Steel Heroes wearing another uniform, but it’s a part of fandom and legends sometimes change team colors. Kendrell Bell burst out of the gate as a second-round pick in 2001 and was promptly the Defensive Rookie of the Year, an All-Pro (Second Team) and a Pro Bowler. After 18 sacks and 330 tackles in three seasons, Bell suffered an injury that he would never be able to fully return to prominence from. The Steelers would release Kendrell after a nearly invisible 2004 season. After a start to a career full of unbelievable promise, the sight of No. 97 wearing the red, gold and white No. 99 as a Kansas City Chief was so disconcerting.
Blues Black & Golds
After academic ineligibility kept him from playing at Syracuse, Lamar Jackson’s cousin transferred to Florida Atlantic and got an opportunity to play as a freshman. After a solid junior year, James Pierre declared for the 2020 Draft, but went unselected and joined the Steelers as a UDFA. All in all, Pierre finished his college career with 18 pass breakups and three interceptions in 39 games.
Hypocycloids Gone Hollywood
Matt Leblanc is an all-time great a television superstar after his run as Joey Tribiani on Friends. Not counting the spinoff Joey, LeBlanc had more solid contributions for our entertainment afterwards, including Top Gear and Episodes. But Man With A Plan is an underrated CBS sitcom airing 69 episodes from 2016-2020 starring Leblanc as Adam Burns, a contractor raising three children in suburban Pittsburgh with his wife Andi, who decides to go back to work as a medical lab technician. The Burns’ are huge fans of Pittsburgh sports and the clip from the episode below features a debate on who Adam should take to Heinz Field for a game. Hilarity ensues.
Cliff Clavin Corner
It’s a little known fact that Detroit’s Fort Street Brewery created Killebrew IPA to honor (current Steelers safety) Miles who was a rookie with the Lions at the time.
Steelers Jeopardy Answer in the Form of a Question: Who is Deon Figures?
Figures, a first rounder in 1993 out of Colorado, did not shine at the cornerback position in Pittsburgh. No 21 did stand out on Bobby April’s special teams units though and would come up with the mammoth recovery of the “surprise onsides” in Super Bowl XXX.
So, there you have it. Anybody can spout out stat after stat, but not everybody can embrace the colorful and personal side of the Pittsburgh Steelers. So, the more you know, the more you can stupefy your friends, family and neighbors with your big, black-and-gold brain.
We’ll see you right here next week. Until then keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the hypocycloids.