Let's Learn About: The Steel Curtain
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The Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s created an unforgettable championship dynasty, anchored by the best defensive line in NFL history -- the Steel Curtain.
The front four dominated the line of scrimmage throughout the 1970s with bone-crushing hits and jarring tackles.
Drafted in 1969 out of North Texas State, defensive lineman Joe Greene laid the cornerstone for the Steel Curtain, earning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1969. That same draft class brought Greene's flashy left-side mate, L.C. Greenwood, a 6-foot-6 All-American from Arkansas AM&N whose intense play was as popular as his distinctive gold high-top shoes.
The addition of Dwight White in 1971 and Ernie Holmes in 1972 gave nightmares to coaches and quarterbacks around the NFL.
"Fats" Holmes, "Mean" Joe Greene, "Hollywood Bags" Greenwood, and "Mad Dog" White wreaked havoc on opposing offenses -- once allowing just 22 points in an eight-game stretch, including five shutouts.
With strength, speed and sheer determination, the Steel Curtain led the Super Steelers to an unprecedented four Super Bowl championships in six years. Like the metal it was named for, the Steel Curtain was a tough, impenetrable unit, forever remembered as the best defensive line to play the game.
Despite their success, only one member of the Steel Curtain, Joe Greene, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He earned 10 Pro Bowl invitations during his career and was named All-NFL five times. He was selected as the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1972 and 1974.
Visitors to the Heinz History Center's new exhibition, "Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame," can learn more about the Steelers' championship dynasty of the 1970s and see more than 200 pro football artifacts, including Joe Greene's battle-scarred helmet. The Gridiron Glory exhibit opens Saturday with a special Kickoff and Pep Rally event at 10 a.m., featuring Steelers Hall of Famers Franco Harris and Dermontti Dawson, live entertainment, refreshments, and more. For more information, visit www.heinzhistorycenter.org.
First Published October 4, 2012 12:00 am