Joe Greene (AP Images) — NFL
Joe Greene (AP Images) — NFL

Over the past three months, thousands of fans voted in our "Team For the Ages" contest to construct the best imaginable 50-man roster from the NFL’s modern era, which began in 1967. The votes have been counted, and we’re unveiling one player each weekday between now and the kickoff of the 2018 NFL season.

Steelers DT Joe Greene

The foundation and most distinguishable member of the “Steel Curtain” defense that spearheaded four Super Bowl titles in a six-year period in the 70s, “Mean” Joe Greene is as iconic as any Steeler.

They said it

“Joe could best be classified as a winner. He was a guy who had great physical abilities, the ability to come off the ball fast, the ability to play low, the ability to play every play to the end. But Joe is one of those guys, one of the great football players who had his antenna out and was really sensitive to the people around him and as a result, I think we played together as a football team.”

— Chuck Noll, presenting Greene into the Hall of Fame in 1987

Key stat

After arriving in 1969 as the fourth overall pick and Defensive Rookie of the Year who endured a 1-13, last-place finish, Greene’s Steelers improved to 5-9 (third place) in ’70, 6-8 (second) in ’71 and 11-3 in ’72, when they were division and conference champions, and Greene won his first of two Defensive Player of the Year awards. Pittsburgh didn’t finish below .500 in any of Greene’s final nine seasons.

Did you know?

Greene’s real name is Charles Edward, and his nickname derives from his college, North Texas (formerly North Texas State), whose nickname is the Mean Green.

Signature game

In the 1974 AFC Title game, a 24-13 Steelers’ victory over the Oakland Raiders, Greene said his defense was “in the zone,” singularly “sacred ground” during his 13-year career. The menacing Greene’s individual stat line reads only one sack. His battle, though, with Hall of Fame C Jim Otto, and the havoc Pittsburgh wreaked on Ken Stabler (three interceptions) and Oakland’s run game (29 yards on 21 carries, 1.4 YPC) en route to Pittsburgh’s first Super Bowl, epitomized the dominance of the “Steel Curtain” defense, and Greene was at its forefront.

Previous "Team for the Ages" player unveils

Tom Brady

Reggie White

Jerry Rice

Walter Payton

Anthony Munoz