Steelers Notebook: Step aside, Mean Joe; Polamalu will star in ad reprise
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Twenty-nine years after Joe Greene became a star in a Coca-Cola commercial, Troy Polamalu will be cast in the remake.
Polamalu, a four-time Pro Bowl strong safety, will revise the role that Greene played in the 1980 Super Bowl ad. It too will be shown during the Super Bowl.
In the original commercial, Greene limps through a tunnel beneath the stands in obvious discomfort. A young boy offers him his Coke, and Greene finally accepts. He drinks it down and, as the kid slowly walks away, Greene breaks into a smile and says, "Hey, kid; catch!" and throws him his No. 75 game jersey.
That ad not only won a Clio, an award presented to those ads judged to be the best on television that season, but it has been judged the best Super Bowl commercial in history by many in the business.
Heinz Field will have a new surface starting Sunday.
After the four WPIAL championship games are played there Saturday, crews will start installing grass sod on top of the DD GrassMaster surface that is mostly grass.
It's the second consecutive year they will resod the field on top of the current playing surface. Last year, it turned into a muddy mess when a torrential rain turned the new sod into muck for the Nov. 26 game between the Steelers and Miami Dolphins.
It was so bad that one punt stuck like a lawn dart, point down.
Jeff Reed kicked a 24-yard field goal with 17 seconds left for a 3-0 victory and the Steelers avoiding becoming the winless Dolphins' first victim of the season.
The new sod will get its first test a week from today when Pitt plays West Virginia at Heinz Field. The Steelers do not play at home again until Dec. 7 against the Dallas Cowboys..
Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau was honored on the field before kickoff last night for his 50 seasons in the NFL as a player and coach.
LeBeau is in his second tenure as a coach with the Steelers. He was part of Bill Cowher's first staff in 1992, first as secondary coach and then as defensive coordinator, through 1996. He spent part of three seasons as head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, 2000-02, coached one year in Buffalo and then returned as the Steelers' defensive coordinator in 2004.
LeBeau, 71, began his playing career with the Detroit Lions in 1959 and played all 14 his seasons with them, playing in an NFL-record 171 consecutive games as a cornerback.
He finished with 62 career interceptions.
The Cincinnati Bengals deactivated wide receiver Chad Johnson, and coach Marvin Lewis sent him home after the two reportedly got into an argument Wednesday night in their Pittsburgh hotel.
Johnson reportedly showed up late for a meeting, was unresponsive during the meeting, then walked out of it. The Bengals started Glenn Holt for Johnson.
Say goodbye to Steelers punter Paul Ernster, who had a terrible night, with punts of 23, 24, 28, 33 and 34 yards to the catcalls of the fans each time. All five punts also landed out of bounds. Coach Mike Tomlin called the performance "horrible."
"We'll address it," Tomlin said.
A glance at the statistics shows one odd item on the defensive side of the ledger. In the passes defensed column, usually the turf for cornerbacks, safties and linebackers, the name of Aaron Smith is at the top of the list with three passes defensed. That would be defensive end Aaron Smith. "That's a little basketball drill," Smith said about the plays. "[Ryan] Fitzpatrick is a little short and he likes to run the ball. So we wanted to push the pocket so he can't run, and I got lucky with some bats."
The Bengals were missing more than Johnson last night. They had two new starters on the left side of their line -- rookie left tackle Anthony Collins for Levi Jones and first-year left guard Nate Livings for Andrew Whitworth. Both made their first NFL starts.
The Bengals also replaced two starters in their secondary -- David Jones for cornerback Jonathan Joseph and Chris Crocker for strong safety Chinedum Ndukwe. Frostee Rucker replaced Antwan Odom at right defensive end. Rucker was injured in the first quarter, however, and the Bengals used rookie Pat Sims and Jonathan Fanene at right end.
Steelers: No. 3 quarterback Dennis Dixon, cornerbacks Bryant McFadden, Deshea Townsend and Roy Lewis, linebacker Bruce Davis, offensive tackles Tony Hills and Marvel Smith, and defensive end Orpheus Roye.
Bengals: No. 3 quarterback Carson Palmer, safety Chinedum Ndukwe, linebacker Eric Henderson, offensive linemen Scott Kooistra, Levi Jones and Andrew Whitworth, wide receiver Chad Johnson and defensive end Antwan Odom.
First Published November 21, 2008 12:00 am