It was back at training camp in Latrobe when the Pittsburgh Steelers officially announced that they would be retiring the number 75 jersey of Mean Joe Greene. It was a very welcome announcement for the Steelers Nation.
The retirement ceremony will be held Sunday night at halftime and if you call yourself a Steelers’ fan at all then you need to be paying attention. The decision to retire Greene’s number was seemingly a no-brainer but this isn’t something the Steelers’ organization does often. The only retired number currently is the number 70 jersey of Hall of Famer Ernie Stautner.
If you’ve ever been to Heinz Field then you know the Steelers do not flaunt their success. While other teams proudly display their Super Bowl victories in plain view inside their stadiums you’ll notice no such thing inside the big ketchup bottle along the confluence.
This concept is an example of how the Rooney Family has done things with their organization since “The Chief” bought the team in 1933. The lesson is that you do not rest on your laurels and you do not honor yourself the way a Roman emperor might. You look to the next team and the next set of challenges.
With the retirement of Greene’s 75, speculation has run rampant that this could be the start of a series of number retirements from the great teams of the 1970’s. You’ll find few who would argue that Greene’s ceremony should be the one to kick things off. After all he was the cornerstone of the foundation that the Steelers’ dynasty was built upon.
We can surmise all we want to as to who the next ceremony might honor but I don’t think you’ll see one as vital and as important as this one. Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris and Jack Lambert among others will be popular but the Steelers made the right choice in selecting Greene to kick things off.
Don’t miss this because this isn’t something our Steelers often do but when they do it, it’s always done well.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteelDad and the website @SCBlitz. Check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/steelcityblitz and on Fancred.com. You can hear him weekly during the season on game day on the Trib-Live Radio Steelers Pre-Game
photo courtesy theshadowleague.com