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Getting to Know the Pittsburgh Steelers: My Favorite Players by Jersey Number

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Getting to Know the Pittsburgh Steelers: My Favorite Players by Jersey Number
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a storied history and have had numerous Hall of Fame players.  You know the names: Greene, Bradshaw, Lambert, Stallworth, Bettis, and Roethlisberger. 

However, some names may not be so familiar.

Here are my favorite Steelers from jersey number No. 1 through No. 99.

No. 1. Gary Anderson (1982-1994)—The best kicker in Steelers history.

No. 2. Todd Peterson (2002)—It came down to Peterson or Brian St. Pierre.  At least Peterson played.

No. 3. Jeff Reed (2002-Current)—He has two Super Bowl rings and beats up paper towel dispensers like nobody's business.

No. 4. Josh Miller (1996-2003)—It came down to Miller and fellow punter Dan Stryzinski.

No. 5. Terry Hanratty (1969-1976)—Nobody could keep a bench warm like Terry.

No. 6. Bubby Brister (1986-1992)—I actually liked Bubby. I remember at my first Steelers game the crowd wanted Mark Malone benched and were chanting, "Hey Chuck, can Bubby come out and play?" And who can forget the constant shots of his mom on TV during the game?

No. 7. Ben Roethlisberger (2004-Current)—Two Super Bowl wins at such a young age will get you on my list.

No. 8. Tommy Maddox (2001-2005)—He had a couple of productive years.

No. 9. Norm Johnson (1995-1998)—He was productive in his years with the Steelers.  And it was fun to scream "NORM!" at the games.

No. 10. Santonio Holmes (2006-Current)—His play in the playoffs sealed it for me. But Kordell Stewart was fun to watch as "Slash,” and "Whizzer" White and Earl Morrall actually wore this number for the Steelers also.

No. 11. Rick Strom (1989-1993)—His high arching throws in Tecmo Bowl were legendary. Quincy Morgan did OK while in Pittsburgh, and Kent Graham wore this number also...I still hate Kent Graham.

No. 12. Terry Bradshaw (1970-1983)—Was there a question?

No. 13. Bill Mackrides (1954)—I really don't even know who he is, but he was the most recent. Should have been Dan Marino.

No. 14. Neil O'Donnell (1990-1995)—Even though Super Bowl XXX wasn't his finest moment, the Steelers would not have been there without him.

No. 15. John "Blood" McNally (1937)—How can you not like a football player with the nickname of “Blood?”

No. 16. Mark Malone (1980-1987)—He was the reason why my dad taught me how to “boo” at games.  Although I could have went with Charlie Batch, Jim Miller, or Len Dawson.

No. 17. Tee Martin (2000-2001)—His name is Tee, mine is Lee. Also worn by Chris Gardocki, Joe Gilliam, and Ted Marchibroda.

No. 18. Mike Tomzcak (1993-1999)—He was a solid backup and a tough guy.  Remember the hit he took from that Lions player that is shown all the time? 

No. 19. David Woodley (1984-1985)—Hey, it was him or Andre Coleman!

No. 20. Erric Pegram (1995-1996)—Everyone else would probably pick Rocky or Bryant McFadden.  I liked the way Pegram ran and how he wanted to be different.

No. 21. Deon Figures (1993-1996)—I felt he had a bright future, until he got shot.

No. 22. John L. Williams (1994-1995)—He was a very solid, versatile player for the Steelers.

No. 23. Mike Wagner (1971-1980)—He wasn't the most athletic player, but he used his mind to make plays. 

No. 24. Ike Taylor (2003-Current)—He has been the best cover cornerback for the Steelers on the past two Super Bowl winning teams.  Also worn by Chris Oldham and JT Thomas.

No. 25. Ryan Clark (2006-Current)—I just like the way this guy hits. Fred McAfee and Gary Jones both wore the same number.

No. 26. Rod Woodson (1987-1996)—My favorite player of all-time. He was pretty good, too, going into the Hall of Fame this year.

No. 27. Willie Williams (1993-1996, 2004-2005)—Small cornerback that just seemed to make plays. Remember the shoe-string tackle in the 1995 AFC Championship?  Also worn by Thomas Everett and Glen Edwards.

No. 28. Chris Hope (2002-2005)—Played awesome alongside Troy Polamalu. He’s now on the Tennessee Titans and playing very well. 

No. 29. Barry Foster (1990-1994)—He had a couple very good years for the Steelers. I loved the running game of the Steelers at that time. Just take away that kickoff that he didn't return against the 49ers.

No. 30. Frank Pollard (1983-1988)—He was a solid running back for the Steelers along with Walter Abercrombie and Earnest Jackson. Wow, it's been a while since I've heard those names.

No. 31. Donnie Shell (1974-1987)—I remember him playing when I was young, although he was at the end of his career.  He was one of my dad's favorite players, probably because he was undrafted and beat the odds. 

No. 32. Franco Harris (1972-1983)—It’s got to be the Hall of Fame running back.  Heck, nobody has worn the number since.

No. 33. Merril Hoge (1987-1993)—One of my favorite Steelers. He could run, catch, and block. He led the team in rushing and then became a lead-blocking fullback for Barry Foster.

No. 34. Andy Russell (1966-1976)—One of the few Steelers that played on the Super Bowl teams prior to Chuck Noll taking over. Walter Abercrombie, Tim Lester, Leroy Thompson, and Verron Haynes were considered for one reason or another.

No. 35. Dan Kreider (2000-2007)—I loved the way he played for the Steelers. All guts, no glory.

No. 36. Jerome Bettis (1996-2005)—“The Bus.” Enough said. Although Fred Foggie wore it in 1994, and I like the name. Andy Russell also wore it in 1964, as did Marion Motley in 1955.

No. 37. Carnell Lake (1989-1998)—He was a linebacker in college, a safety for most of his career, and then moved to cornerback to help the team. Very good player.

No. 38. Jon Witman (1996-2001)—Good blocking fullback and he went to college at Penn St. I wasn't going to pick Tim Worley or Carey Davis.

No. 39. Darren Perry (1992-1998)—Former Penn St. player that started from day-one and was a ball hawk. Willie Parker is a close second.

No. 40. Myron Bell (1994-1997, 2001)—He was a hard-hitting safety. Started in Super Bowl XXX.

No. 41. Lee Flowers (1995-2002)—He has an awesome first name and he was a talkative headhunter. He just couldn't cover wide receivers that well.

No. 42. Warren Williams (1988-1992)—I'll always remember him catching that fake punt in 1992 and his end zone dance.

No. 43. Troy Polamalu (2003-present)—Awesome player and good person.  He could eventually end up in Canton. Also worn by Shawn Vincent, who grew up about five minutes from where I did. He had three interceptions in a game I went to against the Oilers, I believe.  Earnest Jackson wore the number as well; he reminds me of my early days as a Steeler fan.

No. 44. D.J. Johnson (1989-1993)—He played solidly opposite Rod Woodson.  I remember thinking that dark visor he wore was cool when I was young.

No. 45. Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala (1998-2002)—He was one bad Ma'afala!

No. 46. Dante Brown (2003)—After watching him in preseason, I remember thinking that he could be a good player.

No. 47. Mel Blount (1970-1983)—One of the best cornerbacks ever.  They actually changed rules because of him. 

No. 48. Matt Cushing (2000-2004)—Yeah, not a lot of choices here.

No. 49. Dwayne Woodruff (1979-1990)—He was a solid player throughout his career with the Steelers.

No. 50. David Little (1980-1992)—One of the most underrated linebackers in Steelers history.

No. 51. James Farrior (2002-present)—One of the best free agent signings the Steelers have ever made.

No. 52. Mike Webster (1974-1989)—Rest in Peace, Iron Mike!

No. 53. Bryan Hinkle (1981-1993)—A very solid player for many poor Steelers teams.

No. 54. Hardy Nickerson (1987-1992)—I remember being jacked that he left in free agency. He was a heck of a linebacker.  If you called the right play in Tecmo Bowl, he'd rack up the sacks. Remember his flexing?

No. 55. Joey Porter (1996-2006)—Peezy. You proved that you still had some left in the tank last year for the Dolphins.  But it worked out for everyone, thanks to James Harrison. Jon Kolb and Jerry Olsavsky also wore No. 55.

No. 56. LaMarr Woodley (2007-Current)—This guy is playing so well; if he gets better, teams better watch out! Also worn by Ray Mansfield, Robin Cole, Tyronne Stowe, Rico Mack, Mike Vrabel, and Chukki Okobi.

No. 57. Mike Merriweather (1982-1987)—He racked up some sacks before being traded to the Vikings. Sam Davis also wore this number, as did serviceable linebackers Clint Kriewaldt, John Fiala, Eric Ravotti, and Jerrol Williams.

No. 58. Jack Lambert (1974-1984)—Big surprise here!  Only four other Steelers have worn this number. None since Lambert.

No. 59. Jack Ham (1971-1982)—A pro's pro. Only three players wore No. 59 prior to Ham and only one after (Todd Seabaugh in 1984).

No. 60. Brian Blankenship (1987-1991)—Not a lot of choices here. I remember Blankenship from my early days as a Steelers fan.

No. 61. Tom Myslinski (2000)—He was solid during his stay with the Steelers. No way was I going to pick Sean Mahan.

No. 62. Tunch Ilkin (1980-1992)—A Pro Bowl tackle during his time with the Steelers.  He may be better known for being on the Steelers Radio Network. 

No. 63. Dermontti Dawson (1988-2000)—In my opinion he should go into the Hall of Fame. He was one of, if not the best, centers in the NFL during his career. Ernie Holmes also wore this number.

No. 64. Jeff Hartings (2001-2006)—Hartings carried on the legacy of great centers for the Steelers.  One of their best free agent signings. Also worn by Kenny Davidson and Steve Furness.

No. 65. John Jackson (1988-1997)—Was a very good right tackle for the Steelers until he signed a big deal with the Chargers. Alan Faneca also wore this number in 1998-1999.

No. 66. Alan Faneca (1998-2007)—One of the best guards in Steelers history.

No. 67. Kimo Von Oelhoffen (2000-2005)—Came to the Steelers from the Bengals as a nose tackle and then moved to defensive end.  Solid player and good locker room guy.  Got to like the name, too. Also worn by Gary Dunn, Duval Love, Jamain Stevens, and Shar Pourdanesh.

No. 68. L.C. Greenwood (1969-1981)—Known for his shoes, but his play did the talking.  Should be in the Hall of Fame.

No. 69. Gabe Rivera (1983)—The other players who have worn this number for the Steelers are: Jason Capizzi, Ariel Soloman, Ben Thomas, David Opfar, Fred Anderson, Jerry Hillebrand, Buck Grover, Bob Stark, and Mike Iannucci. So take your pick.

No. 70. Ernie Stautner (1951-1963)—He was a great player on horrible teams.  The only number officially retired by the Steelers. Darwin Horn is the only other player to ever wear this number. He wore it prior to Stautner and not even for a full season. 

No. 71. Orpheus Roye (1996-1999)—Roye was a wedge-busting machine during his first stint with the Steelers.

No. 72. Leon Searcy (1992-1995)—Searcy was one of the best offensive lineman in the NFL. This number was also worn by Joe Greene for a short time in 1969. Others include Gerry Mullins, Wayne Gandy, and currently Darnell Stapleton.

No. 73. Justin Strzelczyk (1990-1999)—Strzelczyk played all over the offensive line. At times he was a backup and a starter. Pittsburgh loved his style and his beard.  R.I.P., Justin. 

No. 74. Willie Colon (2006-present)—A starter at right tackle for a Super Bowl winning team.  My other choices were Nolan Harrison, Chris Sullivan, and Terry Long.

No. 75. Joe Greene (1969-1982)—The building block on which the Steelers dynasty was built. He has been involved in all six of the Steelers Super Bowl winning teams.

No. 76. Chris Hoke (2001-present)—Hoke was not drafted, yet he's been vital to the Steelers' past two Super Bowl runs. Also worn by Kevin Henry and John Banaszak.

No. 77. Carlton Haselrig (1990-1993)—Haselrig developed into one heck of a guard before off-the-field issues derailed his career. Also worn by Marvel Smith, Will Wolford, and Steve Courson.

No. 78. Dwight White (1971-1980)—A key member of the “Steel Curtain” defense.

No. 79. Larry Brown (1977-1984)—A good offensive lineman at the end of the Steelers 70's dynasty.

No. 80. Plaxico Burress (2000-2004)—The most productive player to ever wear No. 80 for the Steelers I've seen. The only other player considered who has worn this number was Jack Butler.

No. 81. Charles Johnson (1994-1998)—I remember when he was drafted in the first round out of Colorado. He couldn't live up to the hype. Elbie Nickel wore this number, but that was a bit before my time.

No. 82. Yancey Thigpen (1992-1997)—I know that not picking John Stallworth isn’t popular, but Thigpen was one of my favorite Steeler players during his time. He came out of nowhere and started making difficult catches. Then he left for the Titans and sucked, and I'm glad he did. Besides Stallworth, I also considered Antwaan Randle El.

No. 83. Louis Lipps (1984-1991)—I love Heath Miller, but I grew up screaming "Looooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!!" in Three Rivers Stadium.  Buddy Dial also wore No. 83 in 1959.

No. 84. Mike Mularkey (1989-1991)—He played here and then came back and coached here. Plus, he was a good backup for Eric Green in Tecmo Bowl. Buddy Dial also wore this number for a few years. Again, a bit before my time.

No. 85. Nate Washington (2005-2007)—Not a lot to choose from here. So I'll take Nate.  He won two Super Bowls with the team.

No. 86. Hines Ward (1998-present)—The ultimate Steeler.  Tough, hard-nosed, and will do anything for the team.

No. 87. Mark Bruener (1995-2003)—A good guy, a heck of a blocker, and he had good hands. I also considered Weegie Thompson (I like the name), Adrian Cooper, Larry Brown, and Roy Jefferson.

No. 88. Lynn Swann (1974-1982)—A Hall of Fame wide receiver known for his awesome catches. The best player to wear this number for the Steelers besides Swann would be Andre Hastings. In 1992, Mark Didio wore it; I remember calling him "The Didio Dude!”

No. 89. Ernie Mills (1991-1996)—He had some pretty good years as a Steeler. I believe a knee injury ended his career. Bennie Cunningham was also considered.

No. 90. Tyronne Stowe (1987-1990)—For some reason I liked him when I was younger.  Whether it was the bad attitude or the hard hits, I'm not sure.

No. 91. Kevin Greene (1993-1995)—Greene was the man with his long flowing hair, quarterback sacks, and craziness. He'll always be remembered by Steelers fans, even though his stint with the team was short. Aaron Smith is a close second here.

No. 92. James Harrison (2004-present)—Jason Gildon could be here, too. Although I rooted for him, I just never took a great liking to him.  Maybe it was because he replaced Kevin Greene. Either way, Harrison is a beast and reigning Defensive Player of the Year.  He also brings back some of the nastiness that Greg Lloyd once brought.

No. 93. Joel Steed (1992-1999)—He was the big man in the middle before Casey Hampton. Keith Willis is second here. James Harrison actually wore this number in 2002 as well.

No. 94. Chad Brown (1993-1996, 2006)—He was very good at inside linebacker and then awesome at outside linebacker before he signed with Seattle.

No. 95. Greg Lloyd (1988-1997)—He was "Just Plain Nasty," and if you were on offense, you should "Avoid Lloyd." He wasn't hired for his disposition, and I loved it. 

No. 96. Brentson Buckner (1994-1996)—He was a key part of the Steelers AFC Championship team of 1995.

No. 97. Kendrell Bell (2001-2004)—During his time with the Steelers he had difficulty staying healthy. But when he was healthy, he was a man among boys.  Look no further than his training camp blast on the “Bus” and his Defensive Rookie of the Year award as proof.

No. 98. Casey Hampton (2001-Current)—The “Big Snack” picked up where Joel Steed left off.  A nose tackle that can't be moved and occasionally has the ability to push the pocket or chase a ball-carrier down.

No. 99. Levon Kirkland (1992-2000)—He was something to see. The athletic ability that he possessed for someone his size was amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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