When the word “mean” is added before your name and your defensive team is referred to with the phrase “Steel Curtain”, intensity is expected 100% of the time. Fortunately for Steelers fans, Mean Joe Greene was always focused on the game, lived up to his hype, and showed unmatched skill on the field. A ten-time Pro Bowler, Greene provided just what the Steelers needed to become the football dynasty of the 1970s.
Mean Joe was an NFL icon throughout the 1970s. He was an instrumental part of the Steelers Steel Curtain defense and won four Super Bowls with the Steelers. He played with the Steelers for his entire 13 season career. During his playing days, Greene was named to the All-NFL First Team five times and was honored as the NFL’s Defensive Player of the year twice. Greene always played his hardest and showed exceptional strength and concentration.
In 1979, Greene’s Coca Cola Super Bowl spot changed how the world viewed commercials. Greene became immortalized for his role in one of the most legendary Super Bowl commercials of all time. Even today, fans send Greene Coca Cola bottles in hopes of getting them signed. In 1981, Greene retired from the NFL with 13 successful seasons under his belt.
In the year following his retirement, Greene became a color analyst for CBS Sports covering football. His time with CBS was short-lived because of Greene’s unwavering competitive nature. In 1987 Greene came back to the game and took a job as the Assistant Coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers under Head Coach Chuck Noll. When Noll retired, Greene became the Assistant Coach for the Miami Dolphins; he also served as an Assistant Coach for the Arizona Cardinals. Greene retired from coaching in 2004 and became the Steelers Special Assistant of Pro and College Personnel. In this current position, Greene has won two more Super Bowl rings with the Steelers (making him one of the few to win 6 Super Bowl rings with the Steelers). Joe Greene stays actively involved with football and has recently spoken out about the severity of concussions in today’s NFL. He preaches the need for better and safer equipment and techniques.
Before Greene was nicknamed “Mean Joe”, he played for the North Texas State University (now University of North Texas) football team. Over Greene’s three years at Defensive Tackle, the team went 23-5-1. The North Texas State defense was nicknamed the “Mean Green” for the school’s color and the team’s take no mercy playing style. Charles Edward Greene, the key foundation of the “Mean Green”, was soon nicknamed “Mean Joe”. Greene was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1984.
Throughout his career in the NFL, Greene was honored with a variety of awards. In addition to being named the Defensive Player of the Year in both 1972 and 1974, Greene was also named the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1969. He was an 11-time selection to the All-AFC First-team. Greene was also honored as a member of the 1970s All-Decade Team and was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1987. In 1994, Greene earned the privilege of being selected to the NFL’s 75th anniversary All-Time Team.
Joe Greene currently serves as the Steelers Special Assistant of Pro and College Personnel. Greene splits his time between his homes in Texas and in Pittsburgh. He married his college sweetheart, Agnes, and they currently live happily together. They have three children together, Major, Delon, and JoQuel.
Pro Football Hall of Fame
When the word “mean” is added before your name and your defensive team is referred to with the phrase “Steel Curtain”, intensity is expected 100% of the time. Fortunately for Steelers fans, Mean Joe Greene was always foc...