Updated: Jul 20
(Photo by Focus On Sport via Getty Images)
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 L.C. 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 ran the ball significantly more than they threw it, so these newfound stats make it even more impressive. It shows just how dominant the Steel Curtain was.
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?
I couldn't care less that the Steelers have 10 players from their 1970s dynasty in Canton already. Greenwood belongs there as well. The best players in the game deserve to be enshrined into football immortality, and Greenwood was one of them. It's truly a shame that he has been overlooked all these years.
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.
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.
Greenwood was a finalist in the 2005 Pro Football Hall of Fame voting but did not get elected. He was again a finalist in 2006 but didn't get nominated. Greenwood has stated that while he would be honored if he were to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, he would not be upset if he were not elected, feeling that the Steelers already in the Hall (in particular, Greene) represent the entire team's accomplishments.
Greenwood passed away in 2013, so only football historians and his teammates can vouch for him on why he belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Greenwood's teammate Donnie Shell had to wait 34 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 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.”
Shell and Steelers "super scout" Bill Nunn had to wait decades to get their rightful spot in football immortality. It's time for the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters to do the right thing and get Greenwood elected next. It's football injustice for Greenwood to not be in the Hall of Fame.