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In the Trenches

NFL Hall of Famer Mean Joe Greene dreams of another Super Bowl ring, but this time with the Miami Dolphins.
Edward Kiersh
From the Print Edition:
Tom Selleck, Winter 95/96

(continued from page 6)

The old-boy network in sports doesn't worry him, at least for now, mainly because he's been able to live again for Sunday. Trotting onto the field, feeling the tensions and excitement anew, he's replaced old visions of "playing the perfect game, making every tackle," with a different idea of perfection. He craves that next Super Bowl.

"The joy of being in a Super Bowl, leaving my imprint there, seeing the excitement on players' faces--that's what gears me up every Sunday," says Greene, visualizing this return to the "Holy Land" with a wave of his corona.

"The 40 plays in the morning, the 40 in the afternoon here [in camp], the fronts, the defense, the bitching, all this is to get to the big one. And sure, there are guys who fear me, guys who don't like me and tell me I'm pushing them too hard, that I'm always in their face.

"But I'm from an era when it was basics and fundamentals. I knew who was in charge, and now some of these guys have to be whipped into shape. I'll be damned if I don't keep pushing it. I haven't been to a Super Bowl in a real long time, and if I could pick any one description of how I approach the game, it's 'refusing to be denied.'"

One bad dude, tough and relentless. Still an icon of big D, the type that meant gouged-out eyes, twisted limbs and moaning quarterbacks, Mean Joe is in rarefied company: with LT, Huff and Butkus in the trenches, where the man's name says it all.

Yet he's also the softie, still hoping to honor Mr. Rooney. Once his Super Bowl is realized, expect Greene to wink at his mentor while he passes out "smokes to the boys." Worthy of the Rooney ritual, it'll be "the fancy stuff," as Greene promises to celebrate that day by "lighting the biggest, sweetest cigar I've ever had."

Edward Kiersh is a writer living in Florida who is looking forward to seeing the Dolphins in the Super Bowl.

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