Updated: Aug 7, 2021
(Photo on Focus On Sport via Getty Images)
The Steelers have 10 players from their 1970s dynasty in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Donnie Shell will be formally inducted into football immortality on Aug. 7. There's still one Steeler left from those great '70s teams that's been somehow overlooked, however, and that's L.C. Greenwood.
Greenwood was a six-time Pro Bowler and was named first-team All-Pro twice in his 13-year career with the Steelers. He's also a member of the NFL's 1970s All-Decade Team and Steelers All-Time Team. In addition, Greenwood is one of 22 players who won four Super Bowls with the Steelers in the 1970s.
Shell had to wait 33 years to get into the Hall, and he believes Greenwood should be right there with him in Canton.
“It would be a tremendous award for him and his family, and also for me,” Shell said during his Pro Football Hall of Fame press conference last week via Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “L.C. was very unusual. He was about 6-8, about 260, but we played a 4-3 defense and he was just as good a run-defender as a pass rusher. A lot of people don't realize that. I played on his side, the strong safety, and Jack Ham was the outside linebacker and L.C. was the defensive end. He played the run just as well as he was tremendous as a pass rusher.”
Thanks to decades of research by John Turney and Nick Webster, Pro Football Reference updated its site to add sack data all the way back to 1960, 22 years before it became an officially recorded statistic. This helps out Greenwood's case that he belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame tremendously, as he now ranks second in Steelers history in sacks with 78.
Joe Greene is credited with 77.5 sacks. Dwight White had 55 sacks and Ernie Holmes had 39.5 sacks. A total of 250 sacks for the Steel Curtain. It should also be noted that the team's back then we're more run dominant than pass-happy, so these newfound stats make it even more impressive. It shows just how elite the Steel Curtain was.
Along with his 78 regular-season sacks, Greenwood also recorded 12.5 sacks in the playoffs, which is the most in franchise history. His biggest performance came in Super Bowl X when he had four sacks on Cowboys star quarterback Roger Staubach.
Only Greene is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, however. How does arguably the greatest defensive line in NFL history only have one Hall of Famer?
It's quite simply football injustice for Greenwood to not be in the Hall of Fame. Greenwood passed away in 2013, so only football historians and his teammates can bear witness to why he belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Let's just hope the Hall of Fame voters come to their senses and elect Greenwood.