Joe Greene the the Pittsburgh Steelers in pursuit of Los Angeles Rams running earlier Wendell Tyler... <+> throughout Super key XIV ~ above January 20, 1980. The Steelers won the game, 31-19. (Photo by focus on Sport/Getty Images)


Just wondering: If pro Football hall of Famer Joe Greene graduated from phibìc Texas State this afternoon as that defensive lineman who left campus 50 years earlier for the Pittsburgh Steelers v those famously nasty ways, might he play in this NFL?


"Well, uh, I used the head slap the Deacon Jones started, but you can"t carry out that anymore, and I would pursue quarterbacks below the knee, and you can"t perform that anymore,"Greene claimed Wednesday end the phone indigenous the college of phibìc Texas, the new name for his alma mater in Denton. He"ll return over there Friday because that the presentation of a plaque in his honor as part of the "Hometown hall of Famers" tributes throughout the nation presented by Ford Motor agency and the pro Football hall of Fame.

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But back to mine question and also Greene"s answer, especially because it resulted in the question I really want to ask.

"I also used to just hit quarterbacks in the head, and also you definitely can"t perform that anymore, since that"s reason for ejection," Greene said, trying to find words. "So ns don"t know. Ns really don"t know. We had actually a an excellent coach in chuck Noll, and he played by the rules. He coached by the rules, and I don"t think anything, offered my confidence in him and also his teaching and also his beliefs, i don"t think noþeles would have changed. Yet (under this rules), i still would give it my best to play as much as his teaching and his coaching."


Would friend still make the pro Football hall of Fame?

Greene thought a moment before he said: "Well, ns don"t know. I simply don"t know."


Here"s what we carry out know: after Greene retired in ~ the last 3 yearsfrom hislongtime short article as a Steelers scout, that moved ago to his native Texas come live in Flower Mound, a couple of punts from north Texas, where university officials unveiled a statue that Greene in September. During our conversation, he offered humble responses about The Plaque and also The Statue prior to he discussed The advertisement (the top one through Greene, the tiny boy, the party of Coke and also the jersey). And through the all, ns couldn"t imagine this kindly sound 72-year-old guy was therefore ornery throughout his very first NFL season in 1969 and also beyond v the Steelers the he lived approximately his nickname.


Mean.

You know, as in mean Joe Greene.

He saw 10 pro Bowls in 13 NFL seasons, and also his explosive layout was so contagious for the remainder of the Steelers defenders in the 1970s the they developed something dubbed The stole Curtain along the method to 4 Super key titles. Come the dismay that opponents, he play in 181 the end of a possible 190 games. He when kicked an attack lineman in the groin, and also he socked another one in the face. The spat in the challenge of hall of reputation quarterback Fran Tarkenton.

That was so yesterday"s NFL.

As because that the one of today, defenders barely deserve to breathe on attack players without are afraid of a personal foul, an ejection, a fine, a suspension or all of the above. It goes ago to the league"s obsession in recent years of maintaining awaythe lawsuits involving former players suing the NFL over concussions, chronic traumatic encephalopathyand other brain issues.

"I"m going come say this," Greene said, pausing to reflect top top teammates together as agree Football hall of Famers Jack Ham, Mel Blount and Jack Lambert, along with others who were simply Pro key players because that those Steelers teams. "If the defense ns was playing through played the game today, we could have two males on the field by halftime. I"m not saying us were doing things illegal. We were a an extremely physical team, and some the the things they room calling today, we"d obtain ejected because that it.


"Still, I have actually to offer the NFL some credit here. We"re in transition. We"re going from where we to be to where we like to be to make the game safer, and that ar now is no it. Therefore there"s going to be some turbulent spots, and we"re in it ideal now."

Now around The Commercial: It an initial aired in October 1979 mirroring a little boy in a stadium tunnel handing a party of Coke to a limping Greene heading towards the locker room. In response, the the personality is bad (OK, mean) player transforms after a few grunts to say, "Hey, kid. Catch," if tossing his jersey come the boy.

"Over the few days the the shooting (in brand-new York), we rehearsed and also rehearsed, and I fumbled and also I fumbled, and also finally we obtained something done," Greene said. "There to be a lot of extras over there from daytime television, and they saw I to be struggling a little bit. Lock said, "You play football. You"ve acquired a coach. This is as with that. You"ve got a director. Listen to him and follow the instructions." That offered me confidence, and also that"s what ns did. I was pleased when I an initial saw it. Background says the did quite good."

History says average Joe Greene go pretty great. Not only as an gibbs in that commercial, yet as a defender in the NFL.

Well, that NFL.

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I started as a experienced sports reporter in 1978 at the Cincinnati Enquirer after ~ I i graduated from Miami (Ohio) University, and also I’ve to be doing the very same thing ever before since. I additionally appear on nationwide television, and also I’m part of a weekly TV display in Atlanta. I have done every little thing from ESPN to MSNBC to The Oprah Winfrey Show. Together for writing, I’ve unable to do from functioning for major newspapers in mountain Francisco and Atlanta to operation as a national columnist in ~ AOL Sports, MLB.com, sporting activities On Earth.com and CNN.Com. I’ve covered a slew that sporting events. I’ve done 30 supervisor Bowls, countless World collection and NBA Finals games, final Fours, numerous Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500 and also other auto races, significant prize fights and also golf tournaments, college football key games and also more. I’ve also won national, state and also local awards follow me the way.