Bob Brown was the one player who intimidated Mean Joe Greene

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Mean Joe Greene is known as perhaps the toughest player in NFL history, but he admits there was one guy who could get the best of him on the field.

Greene, the Hall of Fame Steelers defensive lineman, appeared on PFT Live and, when first asked whether he was ever intimidated during his playing days, answered, “That’s not something I experienced when I was on the football field.”

But after giving it some thought, Greene mentioned a fellow Hall of Famer, offensive lineman Bob Brown, whom Greene made the mistake of taking on just once.

“Probably my biggest example of being intimidated was a ball game we played in 1972, we played the Oakland Raiders and Bob Brown was the right offensive tackle and I was the left defensive tackle — I played one player removed from him. L.C. Greenwood lined up opposite Bob Brown,” Greene said.

Greene recalled that Greenwood, his longtime teammate who was also a very tough player, was complaining during the game that Brown was whipping his butt. Greene, convinced that he could handle Brown one-on-one, told Greenwood to switch places with him for a play. As it turned out, on that one play Brown hit Greene so hard that Greene didn’t even know what happened except that he was on the ground and his helmet had been knocked sideways.

“I said ‘What’s happening?’ he said, ‘Oh man the guy is killing me.’ I said, ‘Let me have him. I’ll line up over him.’ And when I lined up across from Bob Brown, and I looked in that helmet, he’s a couple shades darker than me and all I could see was his eyes, just the look in that helmet, I was very fearful,” Greene recalled. “When the ball was snapped, all I remember was looking through the ear hole of my helmet, one shoe was off, and the play was gone.”

Younger fans may not know the name Bob Brown, but that story from Greene speaks volumes. Brown was one of the all-time tough guys.

33 responses to “Bob Brown was the one player who intimidated Mean Joe Greene

  1. “all I remember was looking through the ear hole of my helmet, one shoe was off, and the play was gone”

    Bob Brown would’ve been suspended 4 games and fined 250k for that in today’s NFL…

  2. Raider fan since 1969, remember Brown very well, especially the tape/plaster ‘clubs’ he applied to his wrists & forearms to deliver a blow to opposing DEs. Back in those days, the trench battles were more like street brawls between armed gangs than any organized sport. Deacon Jones’s head slaps put many an OT in la-la land for a series

  3. Raider fan since 1969, remember Brown well especially the tape/plaster ‘club’s he applied to his wrists & forearms to deliver a blow to opposing DEs. Back then, the trench battles were more like armed gang fights than an organized sport w/ Deacon Jones’s head slaps knocking OTs out & dirty players like Dobler on almost every team.

  4. Remember that Coke commercial with the little kid. The bloopers of that are funny as hell. Burping out words.
    He was a great player.

  5. That would be an impressive story coming from any NFL player. When you remember it is Joe Greene describing a guy manhandling him like this, it elevates it to a whole other level. I wish I could have been around to watch when players of that caliber were on the field (not to knock current players, but they play a different game).

  6. Did you know…
    The University of North Texas changed their nickname from The Eagles to The Mean Green while Mean Joe Green was still a student athlete?

    Could you imagine a university changing their nickname for a player currently on their team in this day and age? Talk about going viral 50 years before going viral became a thing. Amazing.

  7. Bob Brown was so intimidating, the padded forearms, marked and scarred helmet…..and he backed it up to boot….

  8. That was the best offensive line of all time – FOUR HOF’ers, all playing on the same line from 1971-1973. And Brown doesn’t have the notoriety, but he may have been the best of Otto, Upshaw, Shell, and Brown.

  9. The Steroid needle didn’t scare Fake Joe Greene, either.

    Being just a little too judgemental of an era before you were born and which you have no clue about what the times were like….best to let the grown ups talk now son.

  10. My first year as a season ticket holder was 1972. I’m old enough to remember how bad the Steelers were growing up. All I knew in 1969 when they drafted him that things would be different. It all changed with him, he hated to lose. A great player and even better gentleman!

  11. The Raiders of that era had a “pad guy,” who would load metal and plaster inside tape as “padding,” and the Raiders loved using that illegal weaponry on others.

    Listen to all the old Raiders talk about all the cheating they did — and they all think it’s “hilarious.” Of note, Phil Vilapiano’s stories are particularly compelling, insightful and entertaining.

    This is merely one reason why whenever Al Davis ever whined about cheating, the Immaculate Reception, the icy field at Three Rivers, the Tuck Rule, etc. falls on deaf ears. Davis was the ultimate cheater — yet he shamelessly played the Victim Card time and time and time again.

    As for the Mean Joe Greene/Bob “Boomer” Brown story — that was epic!

  12. The 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s were the real golden age of NFL football. Free agency and the cap have done for assembling the types of teams we got to watch in the national games then. While it’s spread the playoff wealth and narrowed the gap between the haves and have nots in a lot of ways today’s relative parity and everybody gets a prime time game philosophy lends itself to a lot of not so entertaining national viewing. Steelers/Raiders, Giants/Niners, Boy’s/Skins games on MNF were appointment viewing.

  13. As an Eagles fan I remember watching Bob Brown as a rookie. He was the best offensive tackle in football period. Of course the Eagles traded him away which was par for the course back in those days. I thought he went to The Los Angeles Rams first before Oakland. I also will add that the Eagles traded Harold Jackson to The Los Angeles Rams as well around those same years. Jackson was an All Pro wide receiver.
    The Eagles owners were more interested in money then a good team. I can not even remember who the Eagles got in return.
    Bob Brown was 300 lbs back then as I remember. He was an excellent left tackle that dominated every single week.

  14. I feel terrible that I didn’t know who Bob Brown was before I read this story. I was familiar with Otto, Upshaw, and Shell. Now I know other member of that great group.

  15. So cute when Steelers fans make up their own history;
    Most all media outlets & records state that “Mean Green” came from the DC & his nickname for the WHOLE defense that lead the nation in rushing yards against, or a chant from the crowd about the ENTIRE defense, not just Joe Greene.
    Butt it’s okay, the Steelers have been the class of the NFL for all times (thats why Mean Joe didn’t even want to go there) & the Rooneys are all great people who would never sell their beloved team (other than that one time when they DID sell it).

  16. That great story reminds me of one. Though I forget the exact details, during a game a long time ago, Jim Brown dragged an opposing player about ten yards into the endzone for a touchdown.

    After the game, the player who got humiliated like this told a reporter that Brown disdainfully looked down at him under the goal post and said, “Son, you like chewing gum on the bottom of my shoe.”

  17. Being just a little too judgemental of an era before you were born and which you have no clue about what the times were like….best to let the grown ups talk now son.


    You have zero clue of my age or what era I “grew up in.” Pot, meet kettle. Back on the actual topic, as numerous former Steelers from that era have come out admitting through the years, they were all juiced to the hilt and cheating, Barry Bonds style before there was a Barry Bonds style.

    Cheating that continued up into the new millenium as we seen when team “physician(juice peddler)” was busted shipping 6 figure amounts of HGH and Anabolic Steroids to the team facilities, shipped from the same underground lab Bonds, Canseco ect were all buying their drugs from. Goodell convienently made that story go away without a peep of punishment.

    Next time you try slagging people? Know what you’re talking about.

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