Mt. Rushmore series ends Friday with Steel Curtain

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The month of June is winding down.  Which means that our segment which arguably qualifies for the Mt. Rushmore of time-filling is coming to a conclusion.

It ends with a black-and-gold bang, as we try to whittle the all-time Steelers greats from 12 down to four.

Of all teams, this was the hardest — both when coming up with the finalists and when narrowing them to a quartet of winners.

So look at the list.  Think about it.  Think about it some more.  And then vote for up to four.

The winners will be announced on Friday’s edition of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN, which gets rolling at 5:00 p.m. ET.

99 responses to “Mt. Rushmore series ends Friday with Steel Curtain

  1. All of them deserve to be there…that’s how good they were. Easily the toughest choices of any team.

  2. I think Big Ben and Jerome Bettis should’ve been in the top 12, I would’ve removed Mel Blount and either Stallworth or Ward.

    I voted Rooneys (should just be the chief), Joe Greene, and Chuck Noll which seem like no brainers to me.

    Big Ben would’ve been my 4th selection. People will hate on that but Ben was the missing link to get the Steelers back on top. They had great running games and defenses for years, but couldn’t win it all until they got their QB.

  3. I vote for Omar Khan, the Steelers Salary Cap manager, to appear 3 times for having had the hardest job in the NFL for the past 5 years in trying to get the Steelers back under the cap after going 25 million over every offseason.

    And Rod Woodson for the 4th spot, for winning a Super Bowl with the Ravens but not with Pittsburgh

  4. He wasn’t one of my final 4 picks, but no way Hines Ward should be in there over Big Ben. That’s just dumb.

  5. This just isn’t fair….This team is rich in history and only selecting 4 players just doesn’t do this team any justice. And I’m a Skins fan. I’m voting for all of them.

  6. I hate the Steelers as much as the next guy, but don’t you need at least 1 person from the modern day team that has won 2 rings also? I thought for sure Troy P would be on this list.

  7. Just give us the whole mountain and we’ll make a museum. It is so fun being superior.

  8. Man this one is hard. The Steelers have had an embarrasment of riches pretty much continually since the early 70s.

    Chuck Noll should be a lock. Ditto Mean Joe Greene.

    I’m going with Bradshaw for the #3 spot. He was an elite QB for his era (his numbers don’t look pretty now but look at his peers) and his Superbowl preformances are still elite.

    Last, I have to go with Franco Harris, the engine that made the team dominant on the gronud.

    The hard part for this Mt. Rushmore wasn’t putting people on, it was keeping them off!

  9. steele9153 says:
    Jun 27, 2013 10:31 AM
    Art Rooney, Chuck Noll, Joe Greene, Jack Lambert

    I agree, this is the best group.

  10. Art Rooney, Noll, Mean Joe.

    The 4th.could be almost any of at least 20 other superstars. We have truly been blessed to have so many great players!

  11. Steeler fans: your team has been continually stacked for 40 years. Please don’t rub it in or gloat — it’s bad manners!

  12. Hard to choose between them, but Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu need to be on that list, too.

  13. Man, this is a tough one. You HAVE to put Mean Joe on, he’s a lock. My other three were Mel Blout, Woodson, and Ward. Pittsburgh has always been and will always be built around defense. Hines, while a WR, played with the tenacity of a defensive player, and was a Steeler through and through.

  14. Steelers fan here:
    I am so proud of this blog. The Steelers are the greatest!

    I put:
    Chuck Noll
    Terry Bradshaw
    Joe Green
    Jack Lambert

  15. As a Steelers fan,I thought this would be hard,the nominees made it easy
    1) The Rooneys,the owners easy choice
    2)Chuck Noll, 4 Super Bowl victories,turned around the franchise
    3)Joe Green, the draft choice that started it all and leader of the Steel Curtain
    4) Franco Harris, made the immaculate reception and carried the load in many postseason contests

  16. Bill Cohwer is quite possibly the most over rated coach of all time. Any guy can win a SB if he coaches long enough. Glad he isn’t on here.

  17. All Ben has done is win 2 super bowls and been to a 3rd. This non-sense that some QB’s are helped by the talent around them where as others are just plain better w/o any real talent is absurd.

    1. Aikman won because he led the team.
    2. P. Manning always had/has talent around him 1-1 in the big game
    3. Brady had talent to work with and a solid D & special teams
    4. Ben great team and systems.
    5. Marino had a HoF coach, pro bowl WR’s, & HoF center.
    6. Elway 0 for until he had better talent to get 2 W’s.

    To say Ben is only a system QB completely takes away his value and presence on the field. he lead those teams. he wasn’t sitting back & chilling.

    Everyone gushes over Rodgers, Flacco, & Brees and their 1 ring apiece. I’ll take Ben’s 3 trips/ 2 W’s any day of the week.

  18. I don’t understand why fans put down Hines Ward! If you were to put any of the new era steelers he should be the face of the team. He was a WR who played like he was suppose to be apart of the great 70s teams! How many times have you seen Hines knock a defensive player out on a simple run play or on a turnover and spark the whole team! And his hands he didnt drop passes he has the records for most receptions, yards, and touchdowns in steelers history!

  19. players over management…especially with so many worthy choices:

    MJ Greene – the only “lock”
    Mel Blount – most underrated…Blount’s dominance caused the creation of the 5 yard bump rule. Blount won’t make the cut here.
    Jack Lambert- “Splat” was the heart and soul of the best D ever
    Terry Bradshaw – grew from Hick to the msot recognizable face on Steelers Mt Rushmore

    …so many others worthy of consideration:

  20. Where is Bill Cowher? He made that franchise relevant again! And I don’t even like the Pittsburgh Steelers 🙂

  21. JC says:
    Jun 27, 2013 11:03 AM
    Bill Cohwer is quite possibly the most over rated coach of all time. Any guy can win a SB if he coaches long enough. Glad he isn’t on here.


    Andy Reid. Enough said

  22. Man, it says a lot when beasts such as Mike Webster and Dermontti Dawson (each in the running as the best C of all time) don’t even make the cut, and to this point haven’t even been mentioned in the comments.

    Rod Woodson would probably get my vote as the greatest player on this list overall, but sadly he doesn’t make my Steelers cut, given how many of the choices here had longer Steeler careers. One of my all-time favorites!

  23. When you have as many great players as the Steelers have had, there are going to be players who can’t be on the list. However, having three receivers and no centers is a mistake. If you were to take who were the most dominant players at their positions historically, Dermontii Dawson and Mike Webster were better at their positions than the receivers were at theirs. And the only Steeler to have his number retired, Ernie Stautner, should arguably be here as well.

    My four are the Rooney family, Mean Joe, Mel Blount, and Jack Lambert (a Steelers Mount Rushmore cannot NOT have a linebacker on it – – the greatest team-position combo in all of pro football history). But, really, any foursome as long as Swann isn’t on it (a great player, but not as great as the rest) is fine by me.

  24. I have had a very blessed life in the ‘burg.
    I’ve lived to see:
    Steelers – 6 Super Bowls (8 appearances)
    Pirates – 2 World Series Championships
    Penguins – 3 Stanley Cups (4 appearances)
    Not bad:)
    I predict the Steelers will win another Super Bowl this coming season.

  25. This group needs about 4-5 Mount Rushmores. I feel guilty even voting for my Jaguars. A good 5 other teams couldn’t crack the Steelers top 20 with ONE player. I make it a rule to NEVER vote for coaches/owners….they didn’t play…..separate issue….

    I grew up a Steelers fan, and have to say…..there are some good ones out there…..but if a Mount Rusmore of the worst about this team were ever put together, Steelers fans would be #1, Neil O’Donnel #2, Cliff Stoudt #3, help for #4?

  26. All awesome players, but who is going to be recognized by different generations of non-Steelers fans? I say Bradshaw, Lambert (without teeth), Rooney Sr., and Noll. The only one of those that some non-Steeler fan might have to ask who it is, would be Noll. The others are just so distinctive that everhyone will recognize them.

  27. Ravens fan who hates, but respects, the Steelers. Not sure how you pick between some of them. I will say, I limit these to players only. Organizationally, the Rooneys are the best. But I’d stick to players to make it easier.

    I’m not voting, not my team, but if I did I’d go:

    I wanted to list Blount as my 4th but thought offense ought to be on there somewhere. My first thought was Bradshaw, but Swann and Stallworth made so many big plays for Terry.

    I’ll be anxious to see where this ends up.

  28. You could cut that list down substantially if you left off all the ones who owe their success to PEDs.

  29. To all those who insist that Roethlisberger was all that separated the Steelers from Super Bowls from 1979 to 2005, consider this:
    When Rod Woodson and the Steelers severed ties after the 1995 season, do you really believe Woodson chose the Ravens because he felt playing on a team that had Trent Dilfer at quarterback was going to give him the best chance of winning a Super Bowl?
    I don’t care how many good/great defenses the Steelers had between 1980 and 2003, none of those defenses ever ranked No. 1 five times in nine seasons.
    Any team that can win two Super Bowls in three seasons with a QB who threw just one TD pass obviously had a great defense.
    It’s just that simple.

  30. Joe Greene said it himself ” We could not have won without Franco because before Franco we did not win”.

    My 4 are:
    Joe Greene
    Franco Harris
    Terry Bradshaw
    Chuck Noll

    then Lambert, Blount, and the Chief.

  31. The hardest part of this was determining the criteria to use to vote. It couldn’t be the top Steeler players ever because there have been so many for various strengths. So I went with the ones that both personified the organization and changed the way the game was played.

    Greene: Overall face of the Steelers, past, present, and future. He also created a whole new way to play on the D-Line.

    Blount: The reason the 5 yd rule was invented and absolutely the most underrated member if the Steel Curtain Dynasty.

    Ward: The smiling face of the Dynasty Part 2 and the player that changed the physicality of the WR position. There is a new breed of hard-hitting receivers out there that based their play on him. And a lot more defensive players that were taught by him to keep their head on a swivel!

    This next spot, going by my criteria, really should be Dermonti Dawson. He changed the look of a center from the big, lumbering QB defender to an athletic, quick, offensive player. But the powers that be that made the list had their heads up a very smelly place and didn’t include him. So instead I put in my 4th spot:

    Noll: He may not have changed the game, per se, but he changed Steeler football. We pretty much were today’s equivalent of the Browns until Chuck took the reins. From there on out, we were a force to be reckoned with. Even our “down time” in the 80’s saw us in the play-off hunt more times than not.

    As a side note, I’m aware that the First Family of Football belongs on that list as well, as the Rooneys, in my opinion, did more to further along the sport than any other owners ever. But I believe that these lists belong to the ones on the field, not in the office.

  32. Impossible. Throw four darts, it’s going to be wrong no matter what. I voted, but I’m not happy with who I had to leave behind.

  33. Noll, Lambert, Greene and Bradshaw.

    Myron Cope should be on this list, and I would have voted for just the Chief but you of course screwed that up too.

  34. It’s funny to hear people say to leave Mel Blount off the list… they have obviously never watched his tape or know what he did for the cornerback position. While he may not make it to the final four, he changed the cornerback position and defined how a CB should play.

    That being said:
    Rooney Family
    Chuck Noll
    Mean Joe
    Jack Lambert

    Also another point worth arguing, if you were to swap the eras Big Ben and Bradshaw played in, I think we might have won more than 4 Super Bowls with Roethlisberger throwing to Swann and Stallworth… and if Bradshaw was throwing to Ward, Randle El, Wallace, and Miller… who knows how thinga would have been different.

  35. I laugh at the people that still insist that the refs “handed” the game to the Steelers against Seattle. I have had the privilege of seeing raw game footage not shown on television from this game and these people are blinded by what they did not see. They fail to see how the Steelers were robbed of what would have been a walk-in TD when Stevens fumbled after a catch with a Steeler picking the ball up and the refs ran in to blow the pass incomplete and dead. The Seahawks WR clearly pushed off in the end zone on the first FG drive. The holding call before the Seahawks INT near the end zone was called on the wrong guy but there was clearly holding. The only questonable call was overturning Ben’s dive to the endzone. However, it would have been 4th and inches and a FG still wins this game without the TD.

  36. I think Lambert and Greene are locks I think players and coaches/owners should be seperate. That being said I’m picking Ward and Woodson as 3 and 4. They were just everthing a Steeler should be on and off the field. Tough picking with so many great players you really can’t go wrong with any body on this list. STEELERS FOR LIFE !!!

  37. Bradshaw

    Nearly impossible. So many deserving candidates that it’ll be hard to argue my 4 against someone else’s 4.

  38. Joemontanaflacco says:

    Oh..and can I add the mob of incontinent Steeler fans?
    I’m surely not as smart as you jmf, but does incontinent mean not in North America? If so, they shouldn’t be on an american landmark.

  39. Needless to say, many great choices. I think these four best players in franchise history:

    mean joe greene, jack lambert, mel blount, terry bradshaw

    GREENE: the greatest player in Steelers history; probably one of the 20 greatest players in NFL history

    LAMBERT: NFL All-Decade Team in 70s & 80s

    BLOUNT: NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1975; NFL All-Decade Team 1980s; NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team

    BRADSHAW: One of the 10 greatest QBs in NFL history; QB’d all four Super Bowl winning teams during Steelers’ heyday; two-time Super Bowl MVP

  40. When people think of “The Steeler Way,” they’re usually talking about D, toughness, and tradition. Not flashy, not necessarily the best athlete, just “old school” types who you would hate if they were on any team but yours but you respect the heck out of. My players only list:
    Mean Joe Greene
    Jack Lambert
    Mel Blount
    Hines Ward

    Obviously the 70’s D has to be well represented. Greene is a consensus and should be. Jack and Mel shouldn’t be too controversial, and with them the 3 levels of defense are represented. Almost went with the other Jack, but that toothless snarl is just too iconic to be left off. Last spot? I go with Hines over a long list of deserving candidates, to represent both the offensive side and the non-70’s Steelers. The dude did nothing but produce even when they kept using high round draft picks to be his “replacement,” a not too shabby list including Troy Edwards, Plaxico, Randle el, Santonio, and Mike Wallace. Did he benefit from having them across from him? Sure, but there’s a reason the Steelers front office kept choosing him over the others. Burners can be found anywhere, but Hines’ tenacity couldn’t. His longevity definitely counts for something. He got emotional but was never a diva like his contemporary high profile WRs were. He definitely wasn’t the best athlete or the fastest, but was clutch. Never played for another team (sorry, Franco and Rod), was the Super Bowl XL MVP, has all the Steelers major receiving records, outran the fastest man in the NFL with one shoe, broke that dumb LB from Cincy’s jaw, knocked Ed Reed out (and immediately called for medical attention), and played multiple positions on offense. Consensus best blocking WR of his day. I’ve been in New England the past 15 years, and being surrounded by Pats fans hasn’t been easy, but they all said they hated Hines but respected the hell out of him and love the way he played. Definitely an All-Time Steeler, even if not an All-Time great WR.

  41. 1. Rooneys….without them, NO Steelers.
    2. Noll…..He started this dynasty.
    3. Harris…one of the main reasons we won 4 titles and we would have won more back then if he and Rocky didn’t get hurt. Franco was challenging Jim Brown for the rushing title and almost made Brown come out of retirement.
    4. Greene….the anchor of the best defense the league has ever seen to date, PERIOD!!!

  42. You can’t have a Mt. Rushmore for the Steelers. To do it right, it would look like a class picture.

    Whatever you decide will be both right, but incomplete.

  43. Mean Joe

    (Leaving Ham, Blount and Franco off the list is tough.) Noll could be the most prominent of all . . . without him, the Steelers could still be the same ol’ Steelers of the 60’s.

  44. JC says: Jun 27, 2013 11:03 AM

    Bill Cohwer is quite possibly the most over rated coach of all time. Any guy can win a SB if he coaches long enough. Glad he isn’t on here.

    JC, you deserve a prize! I’ve never seen a response to a post since the Internet began that was that stupid. I’m sorry, but I just have to tell you the truth.

    Do me a favor- go a Google search the following: Chuck Knox, Marty Schottenheimer, Dan Reeves, Marv Levy, Bud Grant, Don Coryell, George Allen, Bum Phillips, John Robinson, Andy Reid. Go and look at their stats and tell me how easy and simple it is to win a Super Bowl! These guys were football geniuses and great coaches, yet never won a Super Bowl! go and tell them how easy it is.

  45. finallythevoiceofreason says:
    Jun 27, 2013 1:13 PM
    Steroids? Hah. I am sure steroids had a part in the 12 Hall of Fame enshrinees that came from the 70′s era.

    For those that did not pick it up, I was being sarcastic………..nevermind.

  46. Wow, no Mike Webster???

    1) bill dudley
    2) mike webster
    3) joe geene
    4) steroids (from the 1970s team)

  47. Also, Jack Lambert is my all time favorite Steeler, but I would probably Rushmore Ham before Lambert, and Blount before Ham.

  48. To me:

    The chief
    Mel Blount
    Mean Joe
    Bradshaw (only because not many QBs can say they won 4 SBs). I’d really prefer perhaps Noll or Lambert/Ham here.

    Troy didnt make the top 12?

  49. It’s great to be a fan of a team that hated by many, but loved by more. You can’t pick four without leaving someone deserving out … we are allowed two more mt.rushmores. We deserve it.

  50. Rooneys, Noll, Greene, and Lambert are my picks. I think a lot of people don’t factor in on their picks the number of championships, length of time as a Steeler, and never going to another team. As great as Rod Woodson was, he never won a championship with the Steelers and in my mind that places beneath those who won as a Steeler (even more so if they won multiple times).

    Also the players who were 4-0 in Superbowls should get nods over anyone after. Only one era of Steelerism is perfect. Mt Rushmore should reflect that…

  51. Hardest indeed:

    The Rooney Family
    Chuck Noll
    “Mean” Joe Greene
    Franco Harris

  52. Browns fan here, voted for your Mt. Rushmore.

    Tough if you don’t like it. I went with:


    And I vote for Turkey Jones to pile drive Bradshaw into the Stllr Mt. Rushmore.

  53. Well imho what we are voting for here is not the best four players in Steeler history. We are voting for the best four Steeler faces to carve into the side of a mountain. That makes it a lot easier.

    1 The Chief – smoking a cigar. Carving that should make people earn their money.
    2 Lambert. Maybe we can put a picnic park in the gap between his teeth.
    3 Polamalu. All that hair.
    4 Ward. That smile. The guy never stopped smiling no matter what anyone through at him. Best blocking wr in NFL history.

    Thats my call and Imma stick.

  54. Since the present day Steelers came out of the Steagles (Steelers+Eagles), you should include Norm Van Brocklin and Michael Vick.

  55. One thing in the comments that is bugging me is people trying to land Big Ben in on this. Realistically you are not going to place a guy who is 2 out of 3 in the big game over another guy at the same position (Terry) who is 4-0 in the big game. If you aren’t the best QB in your team’s history (and Ben isn’t), then you don’t belong on Mt. Rushmore for that team. Go look at what Terry did in all his Superbowls (guy was monster in each one) then try to tell me that it was just the defense/running game carrying him.

  56. Comparing Bradshaw to Roethlisbooger is like comparing apple to orange. By Apple, I mean one of the most successful corporations in the history of the world. By orange. I mean an orange.

  57. Joemontanaflacco says:
    Jun 28, 2013 4:39 PM
    Comparing Bradshaw to Roethlisbooger is like comparing apple to orange. By Apple, I mean one of the most successful corporations in the history of the world. By orange. I mean an orange.

    2 1
    Report comment

    I am glad you finally displayed a trait that makes you human…..jealousy. Try comparing Herandz to Lewis. Not a pretty sight eh?

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