(Photo by Jamie Mullen/Getty Images)
Former Steelers free safety Chris Hope was on 93.7 The Fan on Friday to talk about his memories of being on the Steelers team that won Super Bowl XL. Hope also had some interesting takes on the current Steelers team.
"Let me very clear from the front, I have no disrespect for anyone on that defense, they are a great defense, they play high-level football, but I do take offense when they say that they are the best defense that have ever played for the Pittsburgh Steelers," Hope said of the Steelers' 2020 defense. I think they have some of the bigger names being that most of those guys are first-rounders, and they may reap the benefits of being first-rounders and having a good defense so they make a lot of Pro Bowls."
Hope went on to say that he thinks the Steelers' 2008 defense was the best to ever play in this era, just behind the Steel Curtain era in the 1970s.
Hope is an old-school guy, so he doesn't think Minkah Fitzpatrick is even close to being better than Troy Polamalu. He also doesn't think T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree are not on the same level as Joey Porter and James Harrison.
"Joey Porter (and) James Harrison, no really close (in) my opinion, "Hope said of comparing Watt and Dupree to Porter and Harrison.
Being an old-school guy, Hope wasn't a fan of when JuJu Smith-Schuster was doing TikTpk dances on opposing team's logos before the game.
"I'm probably gonna get some hate mail because of this, I'm old school. When I think about the Pittsburgh Steelers I think (of) a class organization that does it the right way, and we let our play do our talking," Hope said. "Does JuJu mean any harm by doing that? No. Does JuJu play hard? Of course, he does. Is he important to our team? Of course. Do I want him out there? Of course."
Hope said it's a new era now for players with social media and everything, and they have to understand them and put themselves in their shoes, but he and his former teammates were not raised to play the game like that.
"Coach (Bill) Cowher didn't allow us to do those things," Hope said."Joey Porter probably was the other one to fly off the handle and say something to get another team going. But it was never disrespect. It was more of a one-on-one battle of someone doing something disrespectful to him. And Coach Cowher did a great job of taking the microphone from Joey, putting the muzzle on his mouth, so he couldn't go out and say what he really felt, and just played that way.
"I know it's a new era, but I think that right there rubs me the wrong way because again, that's not what the Steelers tradition and organization was built on before I came and when I was there. We were some class act, blue-collar, hard-nosed, we hit you in the mouth on game day, we shake your hand after the game. It was none of the celebrations, none of the phones in the locker rooms, it was none of the tweets. All that stuff wasn't apart of what we were about."