As you know, we’ve been breaking down the best Pittsburgh Steelers to wear every jersey number from #00 to #99 and have usually been leaping by 20′s, I apologize for the condense ten count here, but I’m about half an hour away from wrapping presents and baking a cake for my daughter’s first birthday. Though, the condensed version might be a better way to do it, let me know which you prefer and we’ll go on with that formula.
#61 – Brian Stenger, Linebacker (1969-1972)
The talent pool that wore #61 isn’t exactly deep, but it only takes 3 inches of water to drown someone, so take that for what it’s worth. The pick here was really a toss up between a gaggle of backups along the offensive line, so in true Pittsburgh fashion, I opted for the linebacker with multiple years for the team. To Stenger’s credit, he did pick off three passes in a backup capacity.
#62 – Tunch Ilkin, Offensive Line (1980-1992)
What set Ilkin apart, other than his two Pro Bowl selections was his versatility. If you’ve been reading the series, when I say versatility I’m generally referring to older players that played quarterback, linebacker, defensive back, kicker, and commented the game on the radio, but not Tunch. He could play any position along the offensive line, but found his sweet spot at tackle for the Steelers. Didn’t matter which side, he remained a constant on a Pittsburgh team during the 1980′s that never met with much success.
#63 – Dermontti Dawson, Center (1988-2000)
Dawson started during his rookie season, playing at right guard, before taking over the starting center position for Hall Of Famer Mike Webster. Continuing Webster’s legacy of dominance at the center position, Dawson was elected to seven Pro Bowls and was named First Team All Pro six times, and now finds himself as a Hall Of Fame Finalist yet again. It’s unclear when he will eventually get in, but there’s no argument that he doesn’t deserve it.
#64 – Jeff Hartings, Center (2001-2006)
After the retirement of Dawson, Pittsburgh continued along their storied road of success by picking up Jeff Hartings to fill the void. And fill the void he did, starting every game that he was healthy for until his retirement in 2006, seasons that included two Pro Bowls and one first team all Pro Selection. The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team that seems to always find great centers, and seemingly continued along that road by selecting Maurkice Pouncey with their first round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
#65 – John Jackson, Tackle (1988-1997)
Less scrupulous people would have taken the easy way out, and put Alan Faneca in this spot, simply because he wore the number as a rookie, but not Steelers Chronicle. We enjoy a challenge, and decided on Jackson, who started at the left tackle position through the majority of his time with the team.
#66 – Alan Faneca, Guard (1998-2007)
Plus, how lazy would it look to have Alan Faneca in two consecutive spots? One of the greatest guards of his era, Faneca will find himself with a bronze bust in Canton, Ohio someday, although he’s going to have a bit of a wait, because of all the talent that’s going up for selection in the next 10 or so years. Faneca may not have left on the best of terms, but is still respected by the Pittsburgh fanbase for his contributions while with the team. He recently retired this past off-season.
#67 – Gary Dunn, Defensive Line (1976, 1978-1987)
Another name that will pop out at you that wore #67 is Kimo von Oelhoffen, former defensive lineman, who is most famous for being blocked into Carson Palmer‘s leg during the Super Bowl XL run for the Steelers. What sets Dunn apart is not only his ability to play any defensive line position, but the fact that for two consecutive seasons he sacked the quarterback six times from the nose tackle spot.
#68 – L.C. Greenwood, Defensive End (1969-1981)
Greenwood has found himself among the names of the finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame countless times, but hasn’t been able to weather the storm and get his bust enshrined yet. His six Pro Bowls and two First Team All Pro Selections, along with the added merit of playing on one of the most dominating defenses of all time should eventually carry enough weight to get him in.
#69 – Jerry Hillebrand, Linebacker (1968-1970)
Not too many familiar names wearing the number 69 for the black and gold, but Hillebrand seems to be the best pick of a bad bunch, with his five career interceptions for the team. He did return those five for a total of 60 yards though, so it’s not all bad. Not every number can be a home run hitter, right?
#70 – Ernie Stautner, Defensive Line (1950-1963)
Only two men have worn the number 70 for the team, Ernie Stautner, and the guy who wore it before him, Darwin Horn. And no one is going to wear the number, because it is the only number officially retired by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Stautner had the versatility of the older players on this list, playing on both sides of the ball, and being named to nine Pro Bowls, and one First Team All Pro selection helped pave his way into the Hall Of Fame, were he was enshrined in 1969.
Remember to check out the other parts in the By The Numbers series below.
By The Numbers