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Joe Greene media photoJoe Greene told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that retiring had crossed his mind. The seven year vet admitted, “My body has taken a helluva beating.” Greene was a player who had not missed a game until this season.

A pinched nerve in his neck and a pulled groin muscle have taken their toll and Greene hasn’t started for five regular season games and wasn’t expected to for the playoff game against the Colts.

Greene confirmed he was still hungry for more victories though. “One Super Bowl isn’t enough. Once you’ve been in a Super Bowl, you want to go again and again and again and again.”

Those thoughts about playing in Super Bowls wipe out any early retirement thoughts. “I’m not a foolish person. I might not be as good as I was two or three years ago. I have less years in front of me than I have behind me. I have given some thought to retirement, but I haven’t dwelled on it. I’m a one job at a time person. Maybe I can play for seven more years.”

Greene doesn’t view his current aches and pains as injuries. “I’m not injured. I’m just not functioning. It’s nothing like a bad knee or a broken leg.”

To get to another Super Bowl, the Steelers have to get passed Baltimore first and then onto the Championship game. “We’ve reached the stage where we can almost reach out and touch it,” Greene enthused.

Although the Colts were big underdogs, they had won nine straight and Greene acknowledged, “They belong in the ball park.” That was Greene’s way of saying the Colts deserved to be in the playoffs.

“Some teams we play here are in the river before the game starts”, Greene added.” Not the Colts. They belong in the ball park.”

Looking back to the early years when he joined coach Noll in Pittsburgh, Greene acknowledged, “The defeats were part of our growing pains. We had a design then too. Sometimes it turned out to be something like pot luck. We’re a class team now. We have fibre and substance. Those are the coach’s words.”

1975 AFC Playoff Game: The Pittsburgh Steelers (12-2) vs the Baltimore Colts (10-4)

The Steelers began this playoff game badly, fumbling the opening kickoff and then, after stopping the Colts, John Banaszak ran into their kicker with the subsequent penalty allowing Baltimore to continue their drive.

Despite the seven-point lead Pittsburgh took after an 8-yard touchdown run from Franco Harris in the first quarter, the Steelers continued to be mistake prone. Their competence was inhibited by a knee injury in the second quarter to Terry Bradshaw that restricted his mobility.

In that second period, Terry Bradshaw threw an interception that Lloyd Mumphord returned 58 yards to the Steeler 19. Even though the Colts had earlier lost their starting quarterback, his replacement Marty Domres finished a two-play drive with a touchdown reception of five yards to Glenn Doughty.

In the third period, the Steelers offense stumbled on their first series and fumbled the lead to the Colts on the second possession. A fumble from Harris on the Steeler 19 resulted in just a 21-yard field goal as the Steeler defense began to dominate their opponents, compensating for their bungling offense.

With the Colts now 10-7 ahead, history suggested the Steelers would not pull back the deficit. In the Steelers’ six previous playoff games, they had never come back to win after their opponents had taken a lead in the second half.

L.C. Greenwood ignited his team with a hit on the Colts’ running back, Lydell Mitchell. Although the hit resulted in a loss of just two yards, it gave the Colts a 3rd-and-9 and then five more yards were added after an offside penalty.

Looking at a pass situation, the Steelers turned to their four-linebacker prevent defense with safeties Mike Wagner and Glen Edwards and corner Mel Blount all playing deep.

Domres attempted a pass to his receiver in front of Blount, but the Steelers’ corner stepped in front and snatched his twelfth interception of the year and returned it 20 yards to Baltimore’s seven. “I don’t think he expected me to react as quick as I did, but he had to force the ball because he got a lot of pressure,” Blount later explained.

Rocky Bleier’s seven-yard touchdown run put the Steelers back in front, but the offense still struggled. Harris fumbled the ball out of bounds in the end zone to squander another opportunity to put the game away.

In the final quarter, Bradshaw’s 2-yard touchdown run extended their lead before the Steelers’ defense came up trumps again with Andy Russell’s 93-yard cross country fumble recovery in the final two minutes.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 28 vs the Baltimore Colts 10
Three Rivers Stadium, December 27 1975; 49,053

Passing: Bradshaw 8-13-103

Rushing: Harris 27-153, Bradshaw 3-22, Bleier 12-28, Collier 1-8

Receiving: Lewis 3-65, Swann 2-15, Bleier 2-14, L. Brown 1-9

“One thing you can say about this team,” said Mel Blount. “We don’t panic. It’s the mark of a championship team.”

Dwight White noted, “We stayed poised and calm and did the things we do best all year. I wasn’t terribly worried. We’ve overcome adversity. That’s the characteristic of this team.”

“It’s great to know you can play that badly and still come out on top,” added Ray Mansfield. “That’s the difference in us now and in the old days.”

Coach Noll on Franco Harris, whose 153 yards were an all-time playoff  high, “He did what he does – run over people when they get in his way.


Chuck Noll media photo

My tribute to coach Noll>>>










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Last updated September 1st 2014.

Byron White's 1938 season with the Pirates added July 2014.

Chuck Noll tribute added June 2014.

The Thirties Pirates updated April 2014.
SteelerNationUK on tour 2013 added February 2014.
The story of Steeler Nation's visit to London added October 2013.
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The Terrible Towel photos updated April 2013.
Steeler Nation UK in Dublin with the Steelers 1997 added April 2013.
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