Making the Hall of Fame the former Steelers Greats: LC Greenwood

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The Pittsburgh Steelers dynasty of the 1970s was one of the greatest runs in NFL history, both on and off the field.

Coming out of that reign over the NFL, which saw four Super Bowl championships, the Steelers saw a total of 13 players, coaches and front staff enter the hallowed halls of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That’s more than half of the 25 total Steelers inducted in Canton.

Yet, all these years later, there is one name who is left out of this group of 13 in Canton, one who certainly deserves his rightful place alongside his teammates, coaches and reception staff.

Knowing the history of the famous Steel Curtain defense in Steel City and the number of greats who were part of this dynasty, I found myself down a rabbit hole on Pro-Football-Reference and its Hall of Fame page Monitor, looking at a number of stats while trying to defend a handful of Steelers players who I think deserve a place in the Hall of Fame.

A player from that incredible era is still not getting the respect he deserves nationally, according to the numbers.

This player ?

None other than LC Henderson Greenwood.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s 10th round pick in the 1969 NFL Draft, Greenwood played 13 seasons in black and gold, retiring in 1981 after winning four Super Bowls as a key part of the famous defense of the Steel Curtain under Hall of Fame head coach Chuck Noll.

Greenwood was a backup rotation defensive end in 1969 and 1970 under Noll before taking over as the starting left defensive end in the Steelers’ 4-3 defense before the 1971 season. Once in the starting lineup, the 6-foot-6, 245-pound defensive end never looked back, racking up a career-high 11.0 sacks in 1971 before recording 8.5 in 1973, earning his first trip to the Pro Bowl.

In 1974, Greenwood had the best year of his career, recording 11 sacks, one safety and three fumble recoveries as the Steelers won their first Super Bowl, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl, a first-team All-Star honour. Pro and a sixth. complete voting for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Greenwood followed the 1974 season with 6.0 sacks in 1975, again earning a trip to the Pro Bowl and a First Team All-Pro honor as the Steelers won their second Super Bowl. Quiet years in 1976 and 1997 saw him record just 7.0 combined sacks in 21 total games, although he still earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in 1976.

The Steelers’ star defensive end with the flashy gold cleats got back on track in 1978 and 1979, recording 9.0 and 7.0 sacks and making it to the Pro Bowl in those two seasons, before closing his career in 1980 and 1981 with 8.0 sacks overall.

Although sacks weren’t an official stat until 1982 – a year after Greenwood’s career ended – Pro Football Reference went back and charted every game and compiled sack stats. For his black-and-gold career, Greenwood’s 78.0 sacks rank second all-time, just 2.5 behind James Harrison and half a sack ahead of Hall of Famer Joe Greene.

In addition to his passing prowess, Greenwood also had 14 fumbles in his career, including an NFL record in 1971.

He also did his best on the biggest stages, knocking out two passes from Fran Tarkenton in the Steelers’ Super Bowl IX victory over the Minnesota Vikings, before firing Dallas Cowboy quarterback Roger Staubach four times. during the Steelers’ Super X victory over Dallas. His total of five sacks in four Super Bowls is unofficially the NFL’s highest overall mark, although Denver’s Von Miller and Charles Haley’s 4.5 sacks rank officially as the most ever recorded for a player in Super Bowl history.

Knowing how much Greenwood has accomplished on the court as a member of the Steelers, it’s a real shame he’s not in the Hall of Fame.

Twice Greenwood was a runner-up in 2005 and 2006, but was unsuccessful. Since then, he hasn’t garnered much attention overall, including in recent days when the NFL announced him in the senior and coach/contributor categories for the Class of 2023, which included 25 finalist players and 29 finalist coaches/contributors.

Not a single mention of Greenwood.

According to Pro Football Reference, the Hall of Fame Monitor, “is a metric designed to estimate a player’s chances of making it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame using AV, Pro Bowls, All-Pros, Championships, and various statistical milestones. The players listed below are the top 250 HOFm-ranked players who have played ILB from 1955 or later for at least 50 career games, a score of 100 is the average inductee in the modern era.

When it comes to defensive stance, Greenwood ranks 16th all-time with a HOFm score of 82.10, just one spot behind Indianapolis Colts star defensive end Dwight Freeney, who will likely enter the Hall of Fame. fame.

Greenwood has a better HOFm score than Hall of Famers Lee Roy Selmon (70.35), Richard Dent (64.40), Charles Haley (63.05), Claude Humphrey (54.78), Elvin Bethea (45.03 ) and Fred Dean (43.85). It’s confusing to see Greenwood so high on the list, but get no Hall of Fame love.

According to the HOFm average for a Hall of Fame defensive end, the position needs at least one championship, three First Team All-PRo honors and seven Pro Bowls while starting an average of 12 seasons.

Greenwood roughly meets those metrics with four Super Bowls, two First Team All-Pros, six Pro Bowls and 10 years as a full-time starter. The only number Greenwood could be punished for is 78.0 sacks, which placed just half a sack behind Selmon. However, Richard Seymour was just elected to the Hall of Fame and he only had 57.5 sacks for his entire career and won three Super Bowls, three All-Pros and seven Pro Bowls.

Knowing some of the Hall of Fame talent in that position, it’s truly disconcerting that Greenwood still doesn’t get enough credit or love today. This must change.

Although Greenwood, who died in 2013, didn’t really care about the Hall of Fame accolade, it would be wonderful to see him alongside “Mean” Joe Greene, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, Donnie Shell and Mel Blount in the Pro Football Hall. of Fame as members of the Steel Curtain. He more than deserved it on the pitch.

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