The Steelers drafted a center in 1974 who would establish the standard by which all future Steelers centers are measured
We all know about the legendary Steelers draft of 1974, a draft that produced four future Hall of Famers. Mike Webster was drafted in the fifth round, played fifteen seasons for us, seventeen in total, was voted to the Pro Bowl nine times, was named All-Pro five times, was a four-time Super Bowl champ, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997.
‘Iron’ Mike Webster was and still is my favorite Steelers player. When I started lifting weights, I wanted to be as strong as he was. I vividly remember commentators professing that each Steelers offensive lineman could bench over 500 pounds.
For a teenager who was striving to bench 225 pounds, being able to bench 500 pounds was a pipe dream. The one thing that I noticed right away was the size of his arms. They were like tree trunks. The other thing I noticed right away was the perfect technique that ‘Iron Mike’ possessed.
I honestly can’t remember a time when he got beat by an opposing defensive lineman. Considering he was listed at 6′ 1″ and 255 lbs., he routinely went up against bigger players. Obviously, his strength and technique served him well.
Decades later and after the advent of the internet, I came across an article from a book I referenced earlier in the conversation called ‘Tales from behind the Steel Curtain’. In the book, author Jim Wexell references the 500-pound benchers, and ‘Iron Mike’ was one of them.
You may be wondering why I placed ‘Iron Mike’ at the top of the pedestal. First and foremost, and objectively speaking, he really was the standard by which all Steelers centers were measured. Some were able to live up to the standard and some were not. Second, he had an incredible work ethic and was dedicated to his craft.
Like James Harrison, all you need to do is search ‘Mike Webster strength’ and start enjoying the cornucopia of articles about ‘Iron Mike’. I hope you enjoyed being part of our discussion.