"When I dream
at night," he says, "I visualize techniques. Some of 'em are just
ungodly. It's just cat quickness; run over a guy, hurdle him, jump six feet,
put three or four moves on him so he freezes. No flaws in those moves. Perfect
push and pull on the guard, jump over the center. Another blocker, slap him
aside. Block the ball when the quarterback throws it, catch it and run 99
yards. 'Cause I don't want it to be over quick! The only thing that ever
matched the dreams I had was the Super Bowl."
Greene and Art
Rooney seemed to enjoy the Super Bowl more than anybody. Rooney, the Chief, was
in camp one afternoon this summer, standing beside the practice field. A kid
asked him for his autograph. "I'm not one of the players," said the
Chief, who is 74. The kid said that was all right. "Where do you come
from?" asked the Chief. The kid named a town. The Chief asked, "You
know Doctor Weaver there? He had a sign in his office: I'M NOT A DOCTOR. WHAT I
HAVE IS A GIFT FROM GOD. But he Could do more for your muscles than
anybody." The Chief went on about others of his wide range of friends, Tip
O'Neill, Sargent Shriver, Mean Joe Greene.
"I knew we
were going all the way last year before the playoff game with Oakland when Joe
came up to me. He grabbed my hand and said, 'We're gonna get 'em.' That was an
emotional moment. I never had a moment like that."
Greene comes over
and greets the Chief. They chat for a moment and then Greene moves away,
saying, "Enjoy yourself now." It seems an odd thing, but a friendly
thing, to say to one's owner.
Greene," says the Chief. "He takes you. I've never seen a player lift a
team like he does. I just hope he plays out his full years. He's the type of
player who wouldn't want to be associated with a team that didn't play
There was a time
when the Chief voiced doubts about Joe Greene. That was when the Steelers had
drafted him No. 1 and he was holding out. "Who is he anyway?" the Chief
grumbled. "I don't know that he's so good."
A few years
later, Art Jr. would gesture at the photographs of old Steeler greats—Ernie
Stautner, Whizzer White, Bullet Bill Dudley—covering the walls of his father's
office and say, "Someday you'll have to take all these down and throw them
away and put up one of Joe Greene."
But he didn't say
that when the Chief questioned how good Greene might be. " Joe Greene is as
good," is what Art Jr. told his father, "as you can imagine."
And if things
stay close enough to being as good as Greene can imagine, pro football may be
able to hold on to him—oops, that's the wrong term—may be able to keep him
around a while longer. Meanwhile Mean Joe is nervous, and waiting, and doing,
one way or another, what he wants to out there.