Does The Dynasty Deserve Even More Recognition?

<p>John Stallworth is now the ninth player involved with the Steelers' Super Bowl teams of the 1970s to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Is nine enough, or does the most dominant dynasty in the history of the NFL deserve even more recognition? In my mind, you can't just stop at nine. In fact, with Stallworth's induction, the time is now to begin lobbying hard for two players who deserve induction into the hall - defensive end L.C. Greenwood and safety Donnie Shell.</p>

Stallworth did some lobbying for those two Saturday. "L.C. Greenwood and Donnie Shell are worthy," Stallworth said. Greenwood, who played from 1969 through 1981, was one of the founding members of the Steel Curtain defense and is the Steelers' all-time leader in sacks with 73.5. A six-time Pro Bowl pick, Greenwood was a savage competitor and won four Super Bowl rings. In 1973, Greenwood recorded 11 sacks in a 14-game season. In 1971, he had five fumble recoveries.

Critics contend that Greenwood was a beneficiary of Joe Greene being double-teamed. But without players like Greenwood, Greene, Ernie Holmes, Dwight White, and later John Banaszak and Steve Furness up front, the linebackers Jack Lambert and Jack Ham - both of whom are already in the hall - would not have been as good as they were.

Shell, meanwhile, was a member of that outstanding rookie class of 1974 that already includes four Hall of Fame members - Lynn Swann, Stallworth, Mike Webster, and Lambert. But Shell took a different journey to the Steelers. Despite the fact that the draft was 17 rounds in 1974, he had to make the team as an undrafted free agent. All he did in his career, which ended in 1987, was go to the Pro Bowl five times, intercept 51 passes - only Mel Blount and Jack Butler have more in team history - and recover 19 fumbles, which is second in team history. And that doesn't even take into account Shell's ferocious hitting. Certainly there are those out there who feel that nine is enough. But until Greenwood and Shell get their spots in Canton, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will be incomplete.

Who else?

Of the Steelers of the '80s and '90s, only three will get consideration for the Hall of Fame - cornerback Rod Woodson, running back Jerome Bettis, and center Dermontti Dawson. The Steelers have had some very good teams in the past 10 to 15 years, but they have been just that - teams. Woodson is one of the top defensive backs to play the game in the past 20 years. He is a shoo-in for the hall, having already been named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1994. Bettis and his more than 10,000 career yards rushing are also nearly a given. Only one retired running back in NFL history with 10,000 or more career yards - Otis Anderson - is not in the hall. And Dawson was the dominant center, if not offensive lineman, of the era. Keeping him out of the hall would be a travesty. After those three, however, that is likely to be it.

Outside linebacker Kevin Greene, who played for the Steelers from 1993 through 1995, is third on the all-time list with 160 career sacks, but was a one-dimensional player. He did have 10 seasons with 10 or more sacks, but Greene was not at all strong against the run and was next to worthless dropping into coverage. Greene is a borderline Hall of Famer, a good player who never reached greatness.

Linebacker Greg Lloyd will get some consideration, but the knee injury he suffered in Jacksonville cut him down in his prime. Had Lloyd put together a couple of more seasons like those from 1992 through 1995, he would have deserved strong consideration. As it is, however, the five-time Pro Bowler is on the outside looking in.

If safety Carnell Lake had any hands, he would be a shoo-in for the hall. But Lake treated the ball as if it were a hand grenade. His lack of interceptions kept him from making the Pro Bowl three or four more times than he did, and it will also keep from making the Hall of Fame.

Inside linebacker Levon Kirkland, like Woodson, Dawson, Lake and Greene, was a member of the Associated Press' all-decade team for the '90s. Kirkland's penchant for eating cheeseburgers rather than mixing in a few salads, however, will keep him out of the hall. He was very good for about three seasons, 1995, 1996 and 1997, and pretty average after that.

Placekicker Gary Anderson is the NFL's all-time leader in points and was also a member of the all-'90s team. But Anderson takes a back seat to Morten Andersen, as kickers go in the '90s, and doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame.

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