Top 100 most influential people in Steelers history: 61 – 70

Let me tell you, the higher up the rankings we go, the more difficult it is to put people in place. I literally seem to change spots every single time I review the article. So much talent, so many contributors and so many people to consider.

You have starters who played on multiple Super Bowl winning teams who get upstaged by guys who never won a championship, but played at such a high level they can’t be ignored. The decisions become so difficult and I’ve long given up on excluding my own personal bias in the process.

It’s a great problem to have, arguing with myself over so many talented players, the vast majority of whom I had the opportunity to watch play. Now it’s time to move to the next group, so without further ado here we go with the next group, 61-70.

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70 – Joel Steed

Nose Tackle, 1992 – 1999 / PS4L

Before the “Big Snack” showed up, Joel Steed was the guy who played the middle for us. He was a solid nose tackle for a lot of years, and while he only made 1 Pro Bowl (1997) he was a solid starter for us for the better part of a decade.

He is also one of relatively few “international” Steelers, having been born in Frankfurt, Germany.

He probably should be lower on the list, but again, I met him, and he gets the Emily rule bump!

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69 – Robin Cole

Linebacker, 1977-1987

Robin Cole played 11 years for the Steelers (and as so many players do, went somewhere else to try and eek out one last year, in Coles case, that was the Jets). He was All-Pro and a Pro Bowler in 1984. He replaced Andy Russell when he retired, and was a part of 2 Super Bowl winning teams (XIII and XIV). When Jack Ham and Jack Lambert both retired, Cole was responsible for maintaining the legacy of excellent linebacker play for a few years.

Other than Landry Jones, Cole is probably the most famous New Mexican athlete to play for the Steelers. (I can’t swear to that fact, but I also can’t name anyone besides Landry Jones and Robin Cole who came from New Mexico).

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68 – “Fast” Willie Parker

Running Back, 2004-2009 / PS4L*

Mike Tomlin famously said that they would run Willie Parker “until the wheels fall off”. That’s exactly what they did. They got everything they possibly could out of this undrafted kid. He’s a two-time Pro Bowler (2006, 2007) and was a huge part of the Super Bowl XL win. I mean, c’mon, how awesome is it to replay that touchdown run? Hold on, I gotta go watch it on YouTube…be right back….

DAMN, that man was FAST! I love listening to Tunch and Bill Hargrove call that play. “Footrace!” Willie was so much fun to watch because he was just what his nickname said – FAST. Having the one-two punch of Parker and Bettis was awesome. His run in Super Bowl XL is still the longest TD run in Super Bowl history. How could he not be on the list?

* Since he was only on the practice squad or offseason roster for Washington, I’m counting him as PS4L!

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67 – Randy Grossman

Tight End, 1974 – 1981 / PS4L

Ok, since we’ve already discussed that Elbie Nickel was probably the greatest tight end in Steelers history not named Earl Heath Miller, why do we find Randy Grossman, another tight end at 20 odd spots higher? Well, it’s my damn list, and I saw Randy Grossman play, and I’ve met Randy Grossman, and he won 4 Super Bowls and none of those things are true about Elbie Nickel.

Dan Rooney said this about Randy Grossman:

“Randy Grossman was one of those guys who was never viewed as one of the superstars, but he did everything you asked him. He caught the big touchdown pass in the Super Bowl. He was one of those guys who got you the first down when he would go in and play. He was just a really good competitor who really proved his value. He was just a good team man.”

Not enough? Art Rooney, Jr. said that Grossman’s hands were “the best” and that “he caught whatever was near him.”

Plus he was really really nice to Emily, so he gets an “Emily Rule” bump. Hey, you have your criteria, I have mine, and one of mine is how nice you are to my daughter when and if she meets you!

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66 – John Banaszak

Defensive Tackle, 1975 – 1981

I like Banaszak. He was a solid, dependable and productive starter for us in two Super Bowls and had he not gone to the USFL could have had more productive years with us.

Still, even I can admit that he doesn’t belong this high. So why is he this high?

C’mon, you already know – let’s just call it the Emily test, which Banaszak passed with flying colors at the Legends Club. She met a bunch of players that day (Gildon, Woodruff, Lipps, Grossman) and maybe one or two more that I’m forgetting, but Banaszak was the sweetest to her, or at least second sweetest. He and Louis Lipps were awesome. I have a great picture with Emily standing with her arm around Lipps, and almost the same shot with Banaszak. So I put him 20 spots higher than he probably deserves, sue me.

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65 – Lawrence Timmons

Linebacker, 2007 – 2016

If you ask me Timmons and Andy Russell are probably the two most underrated linebackers we’ve ever had. Timmons is not just good, he’s awesome good, or at least he was. For 10 years he was as consistent a starter as we could ask for. He rarely missed a game, and while he may have started to slow down, I was really sorry to see him head to Miami at the end of 2016.

He led the team in tackles more than once, and it’s criminal, and I do mean criminal that he’s only made one Pro Bowl (2014). It was absurd that he didn’t make it 2010. What were Lawrence Timmons stats in 2010?

“135 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 3 sacks, 2 interceptions”

See, he should have made it then, and maybe every year after, but he had to wait till 2014 to get the nod. Timmons was fast, powerful and just another example of the excellence in linebacker play that we’ve all come to expect from the Steelers.

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64 – Le’Veon Bell

Running Back, 2013 – Present

Bell may very well be the best running back in the NFL right now, he certainly is the best “All Around” back in the league. The only reason he’s not higher right now is that so far he hasn’t been durable. It’s not his fault, and I don’t feel like he’s injury prone at all, he’s just been unlucky, and the victim of at least one cheap shot.

Bell is was a first-team All-Pro in 2014, and a second-teamer in 2016. He’s made two Pro Bowl squads (2014, 2016) and last year during the playoffs broke the Steelers single-game post-season rushing mark two weeks in a row.

The thing about Le’Veon is that he isn’t like any back we’ve ever had before. He runs routes as well as a wide receiver and adds a dimension to our offense that is hard to replace. Bell is just so good, patient, and powerful when he needs to be. He’s a key component of what makes the Steelers offense as potent as it is.

I just wish he’d show up for camp!

Even if (god forbid) he and the Steelers don’t eventually work out an extension and he was to leave in another year, he’d still be on the list, but hopefully we will see him retire in the Black and Gold, with a couple Lombardi’s in his back pocket, and quite possibly a ton of individual records as well. If that happens he’ll earn a gold jacket and move way up on this list.

Le’Veon also passes the “nice to my daughter” test (let’s just call it the Emily Rule, since it’s likely to come up again) – as we’ve met him twice and he was really nice to her.

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63 – Cameron Heyward/Stephon Tuitt

Defensive Ends, 2011 – Present/2014 – Present

I couldn’t pick between the two, so I decided to allow for a tie.  Yes, I know that makes this list total 101 instead of 100.  I know.  I just couldn’t choose between the two of them, so they both get to be here at 63.

How has Cam Heyward not made the Pro Bowl yet? How is that possible? I think he’s starting to get the respect he deserves, at least he showed up in the NFL top 100 this year, but still. Look, it should be known that of the current crop of Steelers Cam and Tuitt are my current favorites. I love their intensity, I love their effort, I love everything about their games. I am thrilled that Coach Butler is going to let them be more aggressive, and I think we saw some of what that would mean over the last two years.

They can be dominant, and I think in the long run, maybe, Tuitt might have even more upside than Cam, but Cam is the man right now.
Plus I love that Cam basically said the heck with the NFL and wore “Iron Head” eye black. For those of you who are my Facebook friends, you might remember that as he was getting fined, I changed my Facebook name to Iron Head to support him.

The NFL is stupid sometimes.

I have Iron Head eye blacks, and I wear them proudly on game day! These two guys both have major upsides, and I expect them to become more and more dominant as the next few years pass. Steel Curtain II baby – especially if Hargraves pans out!

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62 – Jon Kolb

Tackle, 1969 – 1981 / PS4L

Underappreciated by the NFL in general, but it says something that Jon Kolb made the Steelers All-Time and 50th season All-Time teams. He never made the Pro Bowl, but he was a solid part of the Steelers offensive line, which, when you think about having Rocky and Franco, and how much we ran in those days, had to be good, and they were!

He was considered one of the strongest men in the NFL. I wonder if he ever did one of those “SuperStars” shows (why do I remember that crap? – because I’m old!). If I can just find a Ray Pinney signed mini-helmet I’ll have the starting O-line from Super Bowl XIII (Kolb, Sam Davis, Webbie, Mullins and Pinney). I already have everyone from Super Bowl XIV (scratch Pinney, add Larry Brown). For some reason lineman are near and dear to my heart – maybe because I played guard in high school (and middle linebacker, of course).

Kolb had one of the many fan groups “Kolb’s Kowboys” which, unfortunately, doesn’t help him in my view, because I don’t care if you spell it with a K or a C I hate the damn Cowboys. It was a toss-up between Kolb and the guy at 61 for these two spots.

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61 – Gerry Mullins

Guard, 1971– 1979 / PS4L

Super Bowl IX – Gerry Mullins pulls on a sweep and crushes everyone so Franco walks into the end zone. Other than that, everything I said about Kolb applies to Mullins. The only real difference, he has a better nickname “Moon”. As far as I know, Kolb didn’t have one (and if it was Cowboy, then Moon is way better).


Nearing the halfway point – 40 guys down, 60 to go. You can see how crazy this list is – a guy who never made an All-Pro team or a Pro-Bowl comes in above a 2 timer at both spots. So much history with this franchise it’s amazing.

Next time around we get to look at guys who have awesome nicknames, a GM and the first HOFer who appears on the list.

Next: 51-60.

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