The Pittsburgh Steelers have announced that they will officially retire defensive tackle Joe Greene’s number 75 this season in a ceremony that will take place Nov.2nd when the Steelers host the divisional rival Baltimore Ravens.
Joe Greene was the very first draft pick of legendary Pittsburgh Steeler coach Chuck Noll in 1969. Greene would go on to be the leader and corner stone of not only the famed “Steel Curtain” defense but of the Steelers four time Super Bowl winning dynasty teams of the 70s.
“Mean” Joe Greene was named NFL rookie of the year in 1969. He played 13 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1969-1981.He was a four time Super Bowl champion(IX, X, XIII, XIV) Greene was also named NFL Defensive Player of The Year in 1972 and 1974.He made the Pro Bowl 10 times. and 5 First-team All-Pro selections.
Greene was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987. He became the Steelers defensive line coach that same year, coaching under Chuck Noll from 1987-1991. He returned to the Steelers as a special assistant for pro and college personnel in the scouting department were he remained for 9 years until his retirement in 2013.
Joe Greene is the only Steeler player to receive all 6 Super Bowl rings. Four as a player and two as a part of the coaching/scouting staff.
Here are some more of Joe Greene’s accolades as an NFL Player:
- All-Time NFL Team (2000)
- NFL 75th Anniversary Team
- Super Bowl Silver Anniversary Team
- 1970s All-Decade Team
Quotes from Joe Greene on receiving the honor of having his number retired…
Joe Greene: “I’m overwhelmed with emotions for sure. That was my first thought. I was just very, very surprised and I almost fell out of my seat. My number, along with Terry (Bradshaw) and Franco (Harris) and Jack’s (Lambert), were taken out of commission. I’m definitely honored.”
“The last number to be retired was (Ernie) Stautner back in 1964. It’s just overwhelming to think about it. I’ve been a fan of football and the National Football League since the earliest I can remember going back to 1958. All those guys that I looked up to from that time when I was in junior high and high school and in college were people that I admired and thought highly of. The guys that we won championships with were good people that bought into the program. They bought into the Steelers organization. They bought into Chuck Noll (and) his coaching staff. That was the primary reason that we had the success we had and if we didn’t have the success that we did I doubt we would be talking about this subject right now.”
Retiring jerseys is not something that the Steelers do (often). That makes it even more significant. I have never seen a championship banner at our stadium. We have won more Super Bowls than anybody at this point in the history of the National Football League and we don’t flaunt it. Winning is a statement and it stands alone. That, to me, and the idea about this organization and the philosophy (when they) say we are going to retire this number that’s extremely special to me because it’s not something that they do. I’m extremely, extremely happy and excited about it. I’m overwhelmed.”
Quotes from Steelers president Art Rooney II…
Art Rooney II: The question of retiring a number, we’ve talked about for a number of years. I think we always had the feeling that, well it would be nice but where do you draw the line, and are there too many guys that you would wind up having too many numbers retired. Really coming into this year with Joe retiring and coming up on the 40th anniversary of the first Super Bowl (victory), we felt it was a perfect time. We talked about it and came to the decision that it was the right thing to do (and) the right time to do it. When you look at the 1970s there are a lot of different words that have been used to describe what Joe meant to that team – cornerstone, heart of the team. It just really got to the point where it was the right time to do it and Joe obviously is the right, first person from that team to have his number retired.”
Quotes from Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney..
Dan Rooney: “Joe was the cornerstone of the Steel Curtain. He was the first (player) that we drafted (with) our first pick after Chuck Noll was there so it was Chuck Noll’s first pick. He made it what it meant to be a Steeler. He made sure as he got older that people stayed in line (and) that they weren’t going to cause trouble, and he took care of that. When we went to the first Super Bowl in 1975, he just made sure everybody did what they were supposed to do.”
“He is a special guy. He really grew up and was a gentleman, did what it took (and) was an outstanding player. This isn’t something that you can do for everyone. He was a catalyst. He was the one that did it all and so to retire his number is something that we feel is a special thing. It’s something that we can do that he gets to be known as a Steelers legend forever.”
Here is a link to the press conference announcing Joe Greene’s number being retired from Steelers.com … PRESS CONFERENCE: STEELERS RETIRE NO. 75
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