A Blast From the Past: Jack Lambert

TJ JenkinsAnalyst INovember 8, 2009

HONOLULU, HI - FEBRUARY 4:  Class of 1990 Hall of Fame inductee, Jack Lambert, attends the 1990 NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium on February 4, 1990 in Honolulu, Hawaii.  The NFC won 27-21.  linebacker Jack Lambert played for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1974-1984.  (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
George Rose/Getty Images

In the first installment of "A Blast From The Past," we’re all going to get a history lesson on one of the best linebackers to play the game of football. His name? Jack Lambert.

Lambert spent his college days at Kent State University (just as current Steelers linebacker James Harrison did). During his time there he managed to achieve All Mid-American Conference (MAC) honors twice en route to the 1974 NFL draft.

Drafted in the second round, 46th overall, many professional scouts felt that the former high school quarterback was too small to play linebacker in the National Football League. The tale of the tape lied, as it so often does, adding nearly 20 pounds to his frame in an attempt to make him look bigger to opposing offenses on scouting reports.

Thought not expected to do too much, he quickly climbed a pinnacle of success with the team showing a demand for hard work within himself and teammates and a highly advanced skill in shedding blockers during plays.

He was the NFL Defensive Rookie Of The Year in 1974 and was a huge part of a Steelers team that reached and won Super Bowl IX, defeating the Minnesota Vikings 16-6. This was the Steelers' very first Super Bowl win.

For 11 years he was a constant in the Steelers linebacking corps, averaging 146 tackles for 10 years until suffering an injury in his 11th and final season.

To go along with that impressive tackling average, he finished his career with 28 interceptions, 1,479 tackles, and 23.5 sacks (sacks did not become an official stat until his ninth year in the NFL). He was the first player to sack Hall Of Fame quarterback John Elway in the 1983 season opener, Elway’s rookie season.

During the 1976 NFL season, Hall Of Fame defensive tackle "Mean" Joe Greene missed a few games with a back injury, and Lambert rallied the troops on one of the greatest NFL defenses of all time. He threatened to physically harm anyone who did not play their hearts out to reach the playoffs. They started 1-4, they finished 10-4.

During that nine-game winning streak, the "Steel Curtain," as the defense was nicknamed, allowed only two touchdowns and only 28 points. In fact, throughout the entire season they only allowed 138 points. Of the 11 defensive starters in 1976, eight of them made the Pro Bowl, including the 1976 Defensive Player of the Year—Jack Lambert.

In 2004 he was named the ‘"Toughest Player to Ever Play in the NFL."

Career Achievements

-Nine-time Pro Bowl selection
-Seven-time first team All-Pro
-One-time second team All-Pro
-Four-time Super Bowl Champion
-NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
-NFL 1970’s All-Decade Team
-NFL 1980’s All-Decade Team
-1974 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
-1976 NFL Defensive Player of the Year
-Member of the 20/20 Club
-Pro Football Hall Of Fame Member