Joe Greene was a 13-year NFL veteran who played defensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1969-81. After earning consensus All-American honors in 1968, Greene was a first-round selection out of North Texas State in 1969, proving to be a key ingredient of Pittsburgh’s “Steel Curtain” defense in the 1970s. Greene was a 10-time Pro Bowler and was an integral part of Pittsburgh’s four Super Bowls in 1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979. He was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1969 and won two Defensive Player of the Year awards in 1972 and 1974.
When Greene was drafted by the Steelers, Pittsburgh had recorded just four winning seasons since 1950. Shortly after his arrival, Greene was a centerpiece of the franchise and an anchor of head coach Chuck Noll’s defense. Greene’s No. 75 is just one of two retired by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was selected as a member of the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team and made the list of the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1994.
Greene played in 181 NFL games and started 172 of them. After retiring, he coached the defensive line in Pittsburgh from 1987-1991 and for Miami from 1991-95 while later serving as an assistant coach for the Arizona Cardinals from 1996-2003. Off the field, Greene became famous for his “Hey Kid, Catch!” Coke commercial that originally aired on October 1, 1979 and later re-aired during Super Bowl XIV. The spot won a Clio award for being one of the top tv commercials that year.