PITTSBURGH (KDKA 93-7 The Fan)- Don Banks of “Sports Illustrated” talked about his recent article on the 1974 Steelers with Tab Douglas.
Banks said that a veterans strike at the start of training camp would affect the Steelers season, even though the strike ended without resolution around Aug. 10.
“Teams had actually played at least two preseason games with an all-rookie roster or a few picket line crossers, Joe Gilliam, the Steelers quarterback, included. He went from basically third-string to starter, and when (Terry) Bradshaw did go to camp and then had an injury late in camp, Chuck Noll felt confident enough to open the season with Joe Gilliam. That started kind of the quarterback merry-go-round. I don’t know many Super Bowl teams that have started three different quarterbacks in the same season,” Banks said.
Banks told Douglas that Joe Greene actually quit on the team at one point during the season.
“He was frustrated late in the year, felt like they weren’t playing up to their potential, felt like they were never going to get to the elite level that the Dolphins and maybe the Raiders were at. He walked out of the locker room with his belongings, and thankfully, a receivers coach saw him and went and kind of talked him down and talked him back into the locker room,” Banks said.
Glen Edwards, the starting free safety on that team, told Banks that his 1971 draft class was just as good if not better than the much heralded 1974 class.
“Glen was very adamant. The ’71 draft was pretty rich as well. Jack Ham was in that draft, Dwight White was in that draft, Glen Edwards was undrafted. Basically, his point was the ’74 class came to a much better team. The ’71 team really helped build the foundation, and I think that’s fair,” Banks said.
He added that he would still go with the 1974 class with four Hall of Famers, but there was a lot of talent in the 1971 draft as well.