Essential Pittsburgh
3:36 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Joe Greene’s Number Will Be Retired This Season: What Took So Long?

Thirty-three years after Joe Greene retired from football, the Pittsburgh Steelers are officially retiring Joe Greene's number 75.
Thirty-three years after Joe Greene retired from football, the Pittsburgh Steelers are officially retiring Joe Greene's number 75.
Credit Dman41689 / Wikipedia Commons

Chuck Noll’s selection of Joe Greene in the 1969 draft is believed by many to be a major changing point in the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise. He was the first of many Steelers drafted by the team under Noll who went on to win four Super Bowls and be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Post-Gazette sportswriter emeritus Bob Dvorchak emphasized the Steelers organization retiring a number is remarkable, as it has happened only once before Greene.

"This is big," Dvorchak said. "I mean, the organization's thinking has always been, 'Well, a number, if it's retired, goes out of circulation,' but a number that stays active actually recalls the identity of the person that wore it. So they didn't want to retire the numbers."

The Steelers have held some numbers in a de facto retirement without officially retiring them. These numbers include 12 for Terry Bradshaw, 32 for Franco Harris, 58 for Jack Lambert and 59 for Jack Ham.

Greene was a member of that category, but at the Nov. 2 game against the Baltimore Ravens, Greene’s number will officially be retired.