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.
Hypocycloids Gone Hollywood
Many people know the amazing story of Robert Patrick Bleier, the 417th pick in the 1968 NFL Draft. The halfback from Notre Dame was drafted again in that same year, this time by the U.S. Army and he departed for Vietnam five months later. On patrol in Heip Duic, Rocky’s platoon was ambushed and the 23-year-old suffered a bullet wound in his left thigh, grenade shrapnel in his right leg and he the explosion took part of his foot. Bleier was hospitalized in Tokyo and told that he would never play football again. Art Rooney, to encourage his wounded player to get well, wrote a postcard to Bleier that read, “Rock, the team’s not doing well. We need you. Art Rooney.” Inspired by that note of kindness and support, Bleier fought his way back to the NFL and played 11 more seasons from 1970 to 1980 gaining over 5,000 total yards and scoring 25 touchdowns for a team that won four Super Bowls in that magical decade. In 1975, Bleier penned an account of his life and heroics titled Fighting Back: The Rocky Bleier Story. It was made into an “ABC Movie of the Week” that premiered in December of 1980 starring Robert Urich as Bleier, Art Carney as Rooney and various teammates playing themselves.
(Answer at bottom of article)
Blues Black & Golds - Zach Gentry
Zach Gentry has really come into his own as a tight end for the Steelers. Originally committed to the Michigan Wolverines as a quarterback, the 6’8” Gentry switched positions as a freshman on the advice of Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. After a third-team Big 10 selection in 2018, the Steelers selected Gentry as a project in the fifth round of the 2019 Draft and now, with his new deal, is a solid TE2 in Pittsburgh.
It’s not a little-known fact that the Steelers have played in 8 Super Bowls. But it is a little-known fact that nearly half of those big games were played in the state of Florida (3). No other state doubled-up with Louisiana, California, Arizona, Michigan and Texas each hosting the Men of Steel once.
This Week’s Birthdays of Steel
4/9 - Dick Capp -1942, Willie Colon - 1983, Chad Kelsay - 1977, Paul Oswald 1964, Jeff Reed 1979
4/10 - Mel Blount - 1948, Chuck Logan - 1943, Eric Ebron - 1993
4/11 - Chris Brown - 1962, Ken Henson 1943, Jeremy Parquet 1982, Carl Samuelson 1923
4/12 - Daryl Richardson 1990, Henry DePaul 1917, Devlin Hodges - 1996, Ray Horton 1960, A.J. Jenkins 1966,
4/13 - Carmine DePascal - 1918, Bob Keyes - 1936, Christian Kuntz - 1994, Ed McNamara - 1920, Elmer Merkovsky - 1917, Keydrick Vincent - 1978
4/14 - Joe Haden - 1989, Duck Leftridge 1944
4/15 - Scott Campbell - 1962, Mike Jones - 1969, Mike Quinn - 1974, Frank Zoppetti 1916
Strange Sights for Sore Steeler Nation Eyes - Deshea Townsend
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. Deshea Townsend arrived in Pittsburgh in 1998 as a 6th-rounder out of Alabama. After 12 seasons and 21 interceptions, the two-time champ left Pittsburgh for a final season in Indianapolis. However, the sight of the always-clutch No. 26 wearing the blue and white No, 23 as a Colt was disconcerting.
Who is John Kolb?
John Kolb is one of the most unheralded members ifIf the 1970s Steelers dynasty. Drafted by the Steelers out of Oklahoma State in 1969, and started at left tackle in the Steel City from 1971 to 1981 and won four rings protecting Terry Bradshaw’s blind side. In his playing days, Kolb was considered to be one of the toughest players in the league. But here he proved to be one of the strongest of all men in the world placing fourth in both 1978 and 1979 in the World’s Strongest Man Competition. No. 5 later served as a strength and conditioning coach for the black and gold.
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. No. 55 later served as a strength and conditioning coach for the black and gold.
We’ll see you right here next week. Until then keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the hypocycloids.