Star-studded affair commemorates Steelers' 75th

| Monday, Nov. 5, 2007

Dressed in a tuxedo, "Mean" Joe Greene looked anything but messy.

But that is not the only reason why the Pro Football Hall of Famer raised his eyebrows when asked about the label Dwight White tagged on him from their days of sharing an apartment together in Pittsburgh.

White, he said, was actually the messy one. To back up his claim, Greene talked about how the plates and silverware in their apartment gradually disappeared -- and how he got the answer to the question that had perplexed him when the two moved out of the apartment.

"All of the silverware and plateware were under his bed," Greene said with a laugh, "because he was having late-night sacks."

Sunday was a night for former teammates to swap old stories -- and in Greene's case refute them -- as the Steelers and enough fans to seemingly fill an entire section at Heinz Field came together at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to celebrate the 75th anniversary of a franchise that has become a Pittsburgh institution.

Members of the Steelers' All-Time and Legends teams were honored at a dinner emceed by NFL Films' Steve Sabol, and the evening served as a time to toast the Steelers and reflect on how unique their success has been.

Few franchises have won as much as the Steelers, as they are one of only three teams with five Super Bowl titles.

Four of those were won during the 1970s when Greene, an incomparable tackle, did a much better job of tracking down opposing quarterbacks than he did missing forks and when the offense proved to be every bit the equal of the intimidating defense that came to be known as the Steel Curtain.

"We are the most successful team in the NFL over the last 20, 30 years," Steelers chairman Dan Rooney said.

Stability has been a major reason for the Steelers' success.

The team has been owned by the Rooney family since its inception and has had just three head coaches since 1969.

The Steelers, meanwhile, have the feel of an extended family, said running back Rocky Bleier, because of the number of former players who still have strong ties to the organization and to the city of Pittsburgh.

"Look at all of the players (from the) '70s and '80s that stayed here," said Bleier, who still lives in Pittsburgh and joined Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis as the running backs on the All-Time team. "It's a pretty good core of guys. You're always a Steeler, you know?"

That feeling is what prompted Hall of Fame wide receiver John Stallworth to travel from Alabama to Pittsburgh for the festivities, which continue tonight when the Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens.

And it explained why former greats such as Jack Ham, Rod Woodson and Carnell Lake found themselves riding in an elevator together last night.

They had all returned to celebrate some of the best years of their lives.

"It has all been a wonderful journey," Greene said. "There are many teams in the NFL. They all don't share what we have here in Pittsburgh."

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