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When Joe lifts, there is more than enough talent to respond. Behind the front four on defense are three of the most mobile linebackers in the league: eleven-year Veteran Russell on the right side, lanky Jack Lambert in the middle, and hard-hitting Jack Ham on the left. Behind them are four defensive backs with the speed and experience to spoil most passing patterns.
On the offense, Quarterback Terry Bradshaw, 27, has been slow developing, but since late last season he has directed the Steeler attack like a young Johnny Unitas. This year he has completed better than 60% of his passes, scrambled for first downs, and given his powerful backfield plenty of opportunities to carry the ball. When Franco Harris is at fullback, that may be all a team needs to win. The son of an Italian mother and a black father, Harris is a runner of the Jim Brown model: strong, shifty and astonishingly difficult to bring down. Last year he was the Most Valuable Player in the Super Bowl, breaking the rushing record for the game as he rumbled for 158 yds. This season Harris trails only O.J. Simpson in rushing stats.
Bradshaw has other weapons as well. Second-year Wide Receiver Lynn Swann has become one of the best pass catchers in the N.F.L., moving through his patterns with the speed of a college sprinter and the fakes of a ten-year veteran. Running Back Rocky Bleier, who was wounded by shrapnel while serving with the Army in Viet Nam, last year became a bruising blocking back for Harris, as well as a dangerous runner in his own right. Helping it all come together in offense is an experienced, hard-charging line that can move out almost any front four, except their own.
If the offense falters, the Steelers can always turn to the front four to hold off the opposition for a while, and perhaps even to score. Joe Greene dreams about just that possibility. "I visualize techniques," he says. "Some of them are just ungodly. Run over a guy, hurdle, jump six feet, put three or four moves on him so he freezes. No flaws. Perfect push and pull on the guard, jump over the center. Another blocker, slap him aside. Block the ball when the quarterback throws it, catch it, and run 99 yards." If that's the defense, Pittsburgh shouldn't have to wait another 42 years to win a second championship.