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.
BTSC Steelers Jeopardy
(Answer at bottom of article)
We love citing the second name of members of the Men of Steel here at Behind the Steel Curtain. But this week, we take a peek at monikers that players go by that aren’t on a birth certificate. Hence, the “More You Know Nickname of the Week”. This week we honor a Steelers’ free agent acquisition that was indeed named after legendary actor Keanu Reeves, According to saturdaydownsouth.com, Neal’s brother was a huge fan of the Matrix star and suggested to his mother, who loved it. Hence, the nickname the Matrix. Keanu is not a big fan of the film series though. The safety told SEC Country, “A lot of people call me the Matrix, but I never knew why and when I watched the movie, I didn’t really like it.”
This Week’s Birthdays of Steel
6/11 - Tyler Grisham (1987)
6/12 - Larry Foote (1980), Gordon Gravelle (1945), Frisman Jackson (1979), Levi Wallace (1995)
6/13 - Vance McDonald (1990)
6/14 - Jamir Jones (1998), Trai Turner (1993)
6/15 - Tim Harris (1961), Tim Lester (1968), Frank Pollard (1957)
6/16 - Larry Brown (1949), Jerricho Cotchery (1982), (1965)
6/17 - Will Allen (1982), Dermontti Dawson (1965), Ray Seals (1965)
Strange Sights for Steelers Nation Eyes - Plaxico Burress
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. A No. 8 overall pick in 2000 for the Steelers, Plaxico Burress had a somewhat contentious relationship with the Steelers in his five seasons with the team. Burress accumulated 4,162 yards and 22 TDs until departing as a free agent to the Giants before that Super Bowl XL season. Burress, who caught the game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl XLII for the Giants, gained infamy in 2008 when he accidentally shot himself in the leg in a New York nightclub in which he served a prison sentence for. Plex returned to the NFL in 2011 with a stint with the Jets and a four-game run with the Steelers at the end of 2012. A devastating knee injury in training camp of 2013 forced his retirement from the game.
Blues Black & Golds - Damontae Kazee
Steelers safety Damontae Kazee came to Pittsburgh in 2022 after a run with the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys. Kazee was drafted in the fifth round of the 2017 draft by the Falcons after a standout career at San Diego State.
Hypocycloids Gone Hollywood
NBC’s attempt to capitalize on the fame of the Steelers and the legendary Joe Greene Coke commercial came in the form of a syrupy television movie that the author remembers watching as a kid after the Steelers/Falcons game on 11/15/81. The kid who catches the jersey (E.T.’s Henry Thomas) sneaks on the team plane and the Men of Steel adopt him or something. Family hijinks commence. Check out the full movie above.
Steelers Jeopardy Answer in the Form of a Question: Who is Frank Pollard?
In 1976, Frank Pollard became the highest scorer in the history of the Texas high school track meet, winning the discus, the shotput, the 100 and the 220. Drafted by the Steelers out of Baylor in 1980, Frank remains the fifth leading rusher in franchise history in a career that spanned from 1980-1988.
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.