PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) — It’s an exciting time in Pittsburgh, as the beloved Steelers have gotten past the Wild Card weekend and now go on the road to play the AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC Divisional Round matchup.
Seeing the Steelers in the playoffs, some fans can’t help but harken back to the glorious 1970s-era Steelers who brought home four Super Bowl championships to the city of Pittsburgh.
One of the key players on those teams and one of the best players in NFL history was “Mean” Joe Greene. Greene was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987 and will forever be recognized for his stellar play on the field and his iconic Coca-Cola commercial off it.
Greene joined The Fan Morning Show on Thursday to talk about the current Pittsburgh Steelers.
Fans, teammates and football experts alike have all marveled at Le’Veon Bell’s unique start and stop running style that he finds so much success with. Joe is no different, but he also compares Bell to another familiar Steelers’ running back.
“When you think about just that style, it’s kind of similar to Franco [Harris’] style for a little bit, and I’ll say that because when we drafted Franco, in practice Franco would run up to the line, he would stop and he would look around and we would say, ‘What is he doing? What is he doing?’ and then he’d take off,” said Greene. “Le’Veon, I don’t know, he might be faster than Franco. I’m not sure if he is as big as Franco. He is very, very good and exciting.”
Greene also said Bell is a little lucky to be playing in this era because that style may have gone undeveloped at a previous time in football history.
“That style of running during my day when I was in high school and college, the coaches probably would have said, ‘Hey you can’t play, you can’t run like that.'” He probably wouldn’t have let him develop his style like he has because he would have thought that maybe he didn’t hit the line quick enough. But times have changed and styles do change and thank goodness some coaches and the coaches in Le’Veon’s past and even today have allowed him to develop that style and not squash it. It’s been very beneficial to Le’Veon and to the Steeler fans and to that football team.”
So, does Greene have any favorite Steelers on the current team or since he has retired that he has enjoyed watching the most?
“Well, currently, I like Mr. [James] Harrison,” Greene said with a laugh. “I don’t know how old he is, but he is definitely playing some outstanding football. He’s physical, he’s strong, he’s quick and he has the attitude and the temperament that I like and think is necessary to play defensive football, especially in the front [No. 7 Ben Roethlisberger]. And a young man that retired about two years ago, No. 43. He’s probably one of my all-time favorite football players. We’re talking about Troy Polamalu.”
Even with all the spread offenses and the more pass-happy NFL, Greene still believes games and championships are won in the trenches and on the ground.
“It’s my belief, and even when I’ve been watching over these years, even in this past age, I think stopping the run on defense and running the ball on offense is still the path to winning championships,” said Greene.
Finally, Greene was asked his opinion on Mike Tomlin and the job he has done with the Steelers, in light, of course, of his former teammate Terry Bradshaw calling him a “cheerleader” a few weeks ago.
“He’s won a Super Bowl, there’s been an awful lot of coaches that have coached for their entire careers and have never gotten to a Super Bowl or won one and Mike has been to two,” said Greene. “The Steelers have maintained that style of play from the standpoint of being competitive year in and year out. The Steelers are always in the hunt. You have to credit the coach for that. The organization as a whole, they are a very, very important part of it, but the coach is the one that’s out there on the field, he’s the one in the fray. I don’t know where all this came about; again, it’s a matter of opinion and I think Mike has done a wonderful job.”
You can check out the full interview with Mean Joe Greene from The Fan Morning Show below: