No doubt, this is a peak “offseason content” article. We are very close to the start of the season, I promise. But props to Touchdown Wire for a cool angle to get us through the last two weeks, compiling a list of the 101 greatest nicknames in NFL history.
Three Steelers made the list. Coming in at #75 was Mean Joe Greene. Which honestly, feels a little low, but I’m a biased narrator here. Here’s what author Thomas Neumann wrote:
“There’s nothing fancy about Joe Greene’s nickname. It’s simply a classic. The moniker came from the student section when Greene was a collegiate standout at North Texas. As Greene once explained to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “That started my sophomore year when we had a student section that started the ‘Mean Greene’ thing,” he said. “The section would say, ‘Mean Green, you look so good to me,’ and it caught on.”
Greene carried that mean attitude over to his Steelers’ days, especially those early years of losing before Chuck Noll built the roster with Greene as its focal point. He got to show his softer side in later years with his famous Coke commercial. But it’s a legendary nickname for a legendary player.
Appropriately so, Jerome Bettis and “The Bus” drove into the #36 spot. A perfect nickname for the type of player Bettis was and the team – sporting school bus black and gold – he played for. Bettis was one of the league’s greatest power backs, running over defenders time and time again (my personal favorite was on the Ravens’ Kim Herring).
Here’s what TD Wire wrote:
“Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis adopted the nickname “The Bus” during his college days with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, thanks to the school newspaper. “They wrote an article saying something about how I looked like a bus or something like that and I was taking guys for a ride, and it just kind of stuck,” Bettis once told the Beaver County Times. “So the student body would chant, ‘Nobody stops the bus.’”
One Steeler cracked the top ten. That was QB/WR Kordell Stewart, dubbed “Slash” for his ability to play multiple positions. That made his career tougher, bounced between spots, and it’s fair to wonder if he would’ve had a more successful career today compared to when he played two decades ago.
“Kordell Stewart was dubbed Slash in a nod to the many skills he wielded as a passer/runner/receiver in his early days with the Pittsburgh Steelers by broadcaster Myron Cope. Stewart, who guided the Steelers to two AFC Championship Game appearances, was selected to the Pro Bowl after the 2001 season.”
It was a little surprising to see Stewart rated that high. But “Slash” is an undeniably cool name.
Though not a Steeler, Cam Heyward’s father, Craig, ranked 20th for his “Ironhead” moniker. Several other Steelers were listed as honorable mentions: Ben “Big Ben” Roethlisberger, Terry “Blonde Bomber” Bradshaw, Gene “Big Daddy” Lipscomb, Devlin “Duck” Hodges, and Byron “Whizzer” White.”
Personally, I would’ve added “Iron Man” Mike Webster, Dermontti “Dirt” Dawson, and Casey “Big Snack” Hampton.
The #1 nickname of all-time went to “Sweetness,” Walter Payton. Hard to argue with that one. Click through the list again and there are some great ones worth revisiting. Let us know what your favorite one of all-time, Steeler or otherwise, is.