FWAA president calls on members to pitch our organization, benefits to non-member colleagues Reply

By David Jones, 2017 FWAA President

I have met many FWAA members who’ve made great use of our organization. But maybe none struck me so much as a reporter I met last month while covering the Penn State spring scrimmage in State College.

David Jones, 2017 FWAA President

I would say it doesn’t take a nuclear engineer to figure out the benefits of FWAA membership. But then, such a guy would certainly be bright enough to recognize them, too.

I submit to you Blaise Collin, nuclear physicist by trade, college football reporter as a side gig, writing for the French-language football site Football Americain. He’s a proud member and his FWAA directory has served him well.

Collin was born and raised in the town of Nancy in east-central France near the German border. As a young boy, he was fascinated by video of American football. A couple of trips to his aunt’s home in Boston whetted his appetite. And after college, a year-long post-doctoral stint with the Penn State physics department in 2003 sent him over the top.

Collin was so taken by the sport that, even after returning to Paris to work, he took vacation time to make trips to the U.S. to see college games in Pac-12 country. And when he took a job in Idaho Falls, Idaho, as a research scientist with the Idaho National Laboratory in 2010, he began writing for FootballAmericain.com on the side. The site serves 20,000 fans of American football in France and French-speaking countries.

That’s when Collin discovered the FWAA. He joined in 2012. And he told me his directory has been indispensible in making contacts, finding sports info personnel to request credentials and feeding his bottomless thirst for college football knowledge:

“The booklet is really useful. It saves a lot of time. All the contacts are in one place.”

And that’s how he ended up in State College last month covering the Penn State “Blue-White” game as a credentialed reporter for FootballAmericain.com and revisiting his old stomping grounds.

I’ve used the directory my entire career since joining the FWAA in the 1990s, but for more than just calling SIDs. To me, tempering and honing what I think I know about a team or program or association with the clarity of someone who really knows it better than anyone — a veteran beat-writer or columnist from the school or an officer from the organization — is its most valuable resource. Cell phones and email addresses for just about everyone are in the directory.

And every time you consult the opinion or insight of such a person and use it, they remember you. There’s no better way to broaden your knowledge and build your contact list. Isn’t that really what reporting is all about?

That’s why I’m urging current members to reach out to those who either don’t know us or maybe have heard of us but aren’t members. Think of someone in your sphere, then look him or her up and see if they’re in the directory. If not, give them a pitch.

Becoming an FWAA member can’t help but be an asset — both to the new recruit and to you. Because we all know how great being in this association is.

Annual dues are $50. And for that, you get the directory — which is worth it by itself — but also more benefits than we’ve ever had. I’ll just touch on my favorite ones:

  • As “Hilton MVPs,” FWAA members get 20 percent off the best available rate at participating Hilton Worldwide properties around the country (includes Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2, Hilton Grand Vacations, Conrad and Waldorf Astoria). Also, MVP members can earn Hilton HHonors® GOLD VIP status with as little as four stays or nine total nights in 90 days, four times faster than normal. I’ve been a Hilton Honors member for years because I love the chain. This makes the deal sweeter.
  • FWAA members have complimentary network-wide access to 247Sports.com. Considering 247’s growth recently, I think that asset goes without saying.
  • There is no single annual publication that covers college football more thoroughly than “the book the experts can’t do without,” the Phil Steele College Football Preview. I have every copy back to the first in 1995. FWAA members who enroll or re-up by June 12 receive a complimentary copy. Once the magazine goes to print, copies are automatically mailed to active members. That’s a $12.99 value alone.
  • New this year: Complimentary admission to College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta and a discounted rate for accompanying guests with your 2017-18 membership card. Plus, half–price membership to the National Football Foundation (which allows you to vote for the College Football Hall of Fame).
  • Also new this year: FWAA members will receive $10 off the annual subscription to ESPN.com’s Insider. ESPN.com does not offer any other discounts on this subscription.

Beyond all of these tangible benefits is the intangible one: The FWAA is a brother-and-sisterhood. I feel we are the most cohesive and impactful such association in any major sport. Our members are and have been giants in the profession. And, with all the youthful talent we now have in the organization, that trend will only continue.

Be a part of us and bring others along. I can tell you, the benefits last a career.

FWAA names ‘Super 11’ sports information departments of 2016 season Reply

DALLAS — Five previous winners and six first-time winners comprise the Eighth Annual Super 11 Awards, which the FWAA gives out annually to the best performing sports information departments in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The awards announced this week are for the 2016 season.

USC claimed its seventh Super 11 award and third straight. Nebraska won for the fifth time overall and fourth time in five seasons. Clemson and Colorado each won for a fourth time. It was Clemson’s second straight award and Colorado’s third award in four seasons.

Navy was the other past winner, having claimed a spot back in 2010, the second year the Super 11 was named.

The first-time winners are Air Force, Arkansas State, Miami (Ohio), Oklahoma State, Tennessee and UTEP in the awards selection that dates back to the 2009 season.

“Our organization believes this award is one of the most important tasks that we do each year,” said Tim Griffin of Cox Communications, the FWAA’s 2010 president and the head of the Super 11 committee.

“There are many outstanding SID staffs across the country. But these 11 departments we are honoring are consistently exemplary beyond expectations. We hope these awards help to showcase them.”

Criteria employed in determining the winners not only included how press boxes and media operations were operated, but also the quality and timeliness of information provided. Also judged was the amount of information presented and appropriately updated on websites, and personal responsiveness to media inquiries as well as the accessibility of a program’s players, coaches and assistant coaches. The ratings considered those departments that went the extra mile in servicing the media.

The Super 11 Committee received input from other FWAA members and others who covered college football during the 2016 season.

“The FWAA takes very serious the importance of good sports information departments and what they can mean to coverage of college Football,” said PA Media Group’s David Jones, 2017 FWAA President. “They can greatly aid in that coverage. And we want to salute those departments. Obviously, there are other top sports information departments. But these are ones the committee believed were in the top category during the 2016 season.”

In January 2009, the FWAA formed the first Super 11 Committee. The concept has been supported and endorsed by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), many of whom are members of the FWAA.

The FWAA, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,300 men and women across North America who cover college football for a living. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards (Eddie Robinson, Outland and Nagurski), a national poll and its annual All-America teams that date to 1944.

For more information on the Super 11, contact committee chairman Tim Griffin (210-823-3666, timgriffin59@hotmail.com) or visit the association’s official website, footballwriters.com.

Football dreams come full circle for Armed Forces Merit Award winner

Steven Rhodes claimed the Armed Forces Merit Award in 2016. The FWAA helps name the winner of the Merit Award along with the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.

From Middle Tennessee Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. Middle Tennessee defensive end Steven Rhodes’ incredible four-year journey will come full circle in the next week.

Armed Forces Merit Award winner Steven Rhodes, a former Marine and defensive end at Middle Tennessee State, is flanked by
Dr. Sidney A. McPhee, president of Middle Tennessee State (left) and Athletic Director Chris Massaro at the FWAA’s Awards Breakfast on Jan. 9, 2017, in Tampa.
Photo by Melissa Macatee.

The senior Marine veteran and Antioch, Tenn., native will accomplish what he calls “two of the biggest goals in my life” all in the span of eight days. He will graduate from college on Saturday with a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication and then attend rookie minicamp with his hometown Tennessee Titans from May 12-14.

“Finally my dream is starting to take place,” Rhodes said. “It’s something not everyone can say they’ve done, to graduate college and get a chance in the NFL. Especially not having any student loans, that’s even better.

“There’s nothing like playing the sport you love and playing for your hometown. I wouldn’t have it any other way, and I’m excited to be a Titan.”

It’s often said that students mold the person they will become during their four years at college, and especially during their freshman year. But, for Rhodes, that was a little different.
He wasn’t an 18-year-old kid moving away from home for the first time in his life when he stepped onto MT’s campus in 2013. He was a 25-year-old man who had spent the previous five years fighting for his country as a Marine.

“I think the biggest thing I learned [at college] was I can be pushed to new limits and pushed a lot further than I thought I could go,” Rhodes said. “It’s been a lot being a husband, a father, a full-time college student and a football player. It’s like having 10 jobs and it was very difficult, but it definitely helped mold me, and coming through those tough times made me a better man and a stronger man.”

Rhodes became a beloved member of the Murfreesboro community, being awarded the Daily News Journal Person of the Year award in 2013 during his freshman season for the Blue Raiders. He also became a consistent player on the field and got better each season.

He had never played defensive end before coming to MT, but improved with every game and every practice and capped his four years with a career season in 2016. He set personal highs in tackles (41), tackles for loss (8), quarterback hurries (7) and sacks (4.5), leading the team in the latter three statistics.
How Rhodes was able to focus on his craft as much as he was able to over his four years wasn’t just a credit to his own work ethic. It was a family affair.

He and his wife, Adrienne, have two children: Kameron, 5, and Devon, 4. It was their support and flexibility that helped their dad reach his ultimate dreams.

“My family is my support system, my backbone through all of this,” Rhodes said. “My wife was the one who encouraged me to keep going and never give up, and my two boys, my parents, my brother they all kept me going and kept me motivated and helped make this possible.”

As he prepares this week to showcase his talents in front of the Titans, Rhodes will take some time to reflect back on the special four years he’s had. But, sticking true to what he learned as a Marine, he knows there’s plenty of work to do in order to prove himself, and he’s too disciplined to take a break.

The Armed Forces Merit Award recipient also knows there are a lot of people from another family, his fellow veterans, who are inspired by his story, and he won’t let them down.

“It’s possible to achieve your dreams after active duty, and I’m glad I can show that,” Rhodes said. “It’s been an emotional rollercoaster … but everything worked out how it was supposed to.

“I’m just really excited and ready to get back to work and back to football.”

 

FWAA member catches the bug, but not the ball, at Penn State spring game

FWAA member Nate Bauer of Blue-White Illustrated participated in the punt-catch event at Penn State’s Blue-White Spring Game on April 22.  Penn State head football coach James Franklin offered media members an opportunity to participate.  Here is Bauer’s account of the experience.

By Nate Bauer

Blue-White Illustrated

The proposal was one not to be taken seriously.

Penn State’s James Franklin began his midweek, post-practice press conference by offering up an opportunity for the media. Any interested colleagues, he announced, could go down on the field, in front of the Blue-White Game crowd, and catch a punt.

With a tone that instantly elicited memories of grade school teachers fed up with students who’d talked too much during class, the invention was, in my mind at least, clearly born of spite. Go ahead, hot shot, you teach the class.

An avid practitioner of avoiding any and all forms of unnecessary embarrassment, this was an example-making moment from which I’d spent my entire life steering clear.

Fewer than 72 hours later, I’d let a booming, sidewinding punt glance through my fingertips and to the Beaver Stadium turf. And not a day has passed since in which I haven’t wished for another crack at it.

So what changed?

It started with Franklin himself shortly after his challenge had first been revealed. Lingering with a colleague on the other end of Penn State’s outdoor practice fields following the scrum, snapping a few pictures of players while chatting with team personnel, the head coach himself popped into the circle to say hello.

As we’d been warned, by Franklin’s own words and via other staff members, the challenge was not a joke. They’d already drawn up legal waivers to be signed by participants, and Franklin was adamant about bringing the idea to fruition.

“So are you going to do it?” he asked excitedly.

“Absolutely not,” I said.

And my colleague? The same.

“Come on! Are you kidding me? I had higher expectations for you guys. This is a real disappointment,” Franklin said. His up-to-no-good grin beaming for the duration of the conversation, the dismissal was a welcomed relief. Crisis averted.

The reality would quickly turn the next day as my phone buzzed with incoming texts and calls. In a group text with three of my closest friends, without having mentioned any of it, the challenges poured in.

“Are you suiting up for the Blue-White Game Nate?”

Acknowledging that I’d been lobbied by Franklin and other staffers to participate, my answer remained a solid no.

“Do it! Do it!” they persisted.

Then another, and another, and another; as each hour passed, friends and family urged my participation after they’d read the Tweets, Facebook or Instagram posts from Penn State football that had, to no surprise, gone viral.

The sway of bad advice from folks with no skin in the game began to work. I queried the team’s sports information director to find out what the response had been like from others. The response had been positive, I was told, and though I’d made no mention of wanting to participate, the question was apparently the equivalent of a verbal commitment.

“I’m signing you up,” the next message read. “You want to do it.”

Maybe she was right. Certainly, that I’d already Googled “how to catch a punt” betrayed any notion to the contrary. Predictably, the answers were mostly less than illuminating, but an entry from former New York Giants return man Phil McConkey did offer some insight. McConkey, paraphrasing legendary coach Bill Parcells, said catching punts could be boiled down to four golden rules.

“Sprint to the ball. Get set. Don’t drift. Catch it.”

Not unlike playing centerfield in a church softball game, the nuances of trajectory, wind and spin would need to wait for another day. Instead, understanding the basic principles would have to suffice as preparation.

Still reluctant about my decision as I stepped onto the field alongside 15 other brave souls at halftime, I made one last-ditch effort to glean some pre-punt knowledge to increase my chances of success. With Franklin making the rounds to offer his thanks for being good sports, I asked for at least a few tips in return.

Turning back, his emphasis was even more straightforward than McConkey’s. Whatever you do, he said, show no hesitation. Make the decision on where the ball will land, run to the spot and go after it, as he continued, because “you’re either going to look ridiculous, or you’re going to catch it, but you don’t want anything in between.”

And with that, the steady air assault began.

The punts booming in rapid succession off the feet of starter Blake Gillikin and backup Dan Pasquariello, two lines of media members filtered through. At my place deep in the second line, maybe 12th overall, the on-field experience of watching punt after punt sail through the air proved beneficial, though. The distances weren’t wildly different from punt to punt, but the locations sideline to sideline often were.

Finally at the front of the line, my name announced over the Beaver Stadium loudspeakers, Pasquariello’s punt leapt from his foot to my right, at least the 40 feet separating my hash from the one opposite my line.

Immediately, the golden rules would come into play. Though I’d been able to track the direction of the punt well, the downfall of my career in any and all varieties of youth athletics manifest itself completely.

In my short and stocky case, “Sprint to the ball!” likely appeared as a beleaguered rumble, leaving the ball to slip through my outstretched fingers.

Though two or three colleagues ahead of me were able to actually secure the punts, I would not join them. Instead, the consolation of Penn State men’s hoops head coach Pat Chambers awaited me in the back of the end zone — him being nearly in tears laughing at my near-miss.

Still, what I’d suspected was confirmed by him and others.

I almost had it! A better kick and I would have been on to the second round! That wasn’t so difficult!

Reflecting on the initial challenge, having avoided abject embarrassment while still taking in a unique experience, it was a decision I’m glad to have made.

“We thought that would be fun,” said Franklin. “And just so you know, I’m dead serious.”

It was fun. And though I’d resolutely objected to the idea from the start, I’m now determined to get another shot at next year.

And just so you know, I’m dead serious.

Schedule for upcoming FBS Conference media days

Here are the dates and sites for the 2017 Football Media Days in July for the 10 FBS Conferences.

American: July 17-18,  Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina, Newport, Rhode Island

ACC: July 13-14, Westin, Charlotte

Big Ten: July 24-25, Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Chicago

Big 12: July 17-18, The Star, Frisco, Texas

Conference USA: July 19-20, DFW Marriott North, Irving, TX

Mid-American: July 25-26, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton, Ohio

Mountain West: July 25-26, The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas

Pac-12: July 26-27,  Hollywood and Highland Entertainment Center, Los Angeles

SEC: July 10-13, Hyatt-Wynfrey Hotel, Hoover, AL

Sun Belt: July 23-24, Superdome, New Orleans

Call for entries in the 2017 FWAA Best Writing Contest

FWAA members may begin submitting entries in the 2017 Best Writing Contest now.

CATEGORIES

• Game Story (Immediate Deadline)

• Feature Story/Profile

• Enterprise/Investigative

• Column/Analysis/Commentary

BEAT WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD

In addition, see below, we have created a special award for the top beat writer as judged by a special FWAA committee headed by FWAA board member Malcolm Moran. He is now the director of the Sports Capital Journalism Program, IUPUI.

WRITING CONTEST RULES

You must be an FWAA member in good standing to enter.

Deadline: July 1, 2017. Entries sent after the deadline WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

Limit: One (1) article per category, although a series of articles may be submitted in the enterprise category.

Entries must have appeared in print or on line between Feb. 1, 2016 and Jan. 31, 2017.

Entries must be submitted electronically to contest@fwaa.com.

Entries not sent to this e-mail address will not be accepted

Send MS Word or text files only. DO NOT SEND HTML files, Word Perfect files, stories in other word processing software or links to stories on the Internet or electronic libraries

Make your entry easy to read by taking out unnecessary carriage returns (They can give your entry an odd look when opened by a judge’s word processing program)

Delete any embedded advertising, photos and cutlines from the files (The file should contain only your story and your identifying information)

At the top of each entry, the following information should be included:

• Writer(s)

• Publication or online service

• Category

• Date of publication

• E-mail address and telephone number for the writer(s) of the entry

The entries will be sorted and stripped of identifying information and forwarded to the judge(s).

Files containing your entries should follow this naming convention: yourname-category.doc

The category must be one of these four words: Game, Feature, Enterprise or Column

Example: KenStephens-game.doc

Only entries sent electronically will be accepted and all entries will be sorted and stripped of identifying information and forwarded to the judge(s)

FWAA BEAT WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD: If you have a nomination of a beat writer who covers major college football (either a team or a conference) or you want to nominate yourself, please send an e-mail/letter explaining the qualifications of the person (no more than 250 words) to:

Malcolm Moran

Sports Capital Journalism Program IUPUI

University Library 3100J

755 W. Michigan

Indianapolis, IN 46202

Malcolm’s e-mail is malcolmmoran1@gmail.com. Malcolm and his committee will then make inquiries into the FWAA members nominated. In order to qualify for this award the person nominated must have been an FWAA member during the 2016 football season.

Questions? E-mail Ken Stephens at ken.stephens@sbcglobal.net.

FWAA member begins previews of all 130 FBS teams

FWAA member Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel is previewing all 130 NCAA FBS Teams, ranking them from No.130 all the way to the No.1 team. His first installment  began on Monday with No. 130 Alabama-Birmingham, which is re-instituting football this coming season. His team reports will appear daily in the Orlando Sentinel on-line.

CLICK HERE to begin reading Matt’s series.

 

Rice honors former Owl Matt Sign of NFF

Matt Sign, FWAA Board member from the National Football Foundation where he is the chief operating officer, was honored this past week at the Rice Spring Game. He is a former standout Rice football player.

For Immediate Release

Chuck Pool

cpool@rice.edu

713-348-5775

Cobb and Sign Selected as 2017 Honor Jerseys

Two mainstays of the current Rice football team will take to the field for the annual Blue-Gray spring game in new numbers as they honor a pair of standout teammates from the past as part of the Rice Owls Honor Jersey program.

Running back Samuel Stewart will switch to 45 this year to honor 1991 Doak Walker Award winner Trevor Cobb, while defensive tackle Preston Gordon wear 99 to honor Cobb’s teammate and two-time All –SWC noseguard Matt Sign.   

Cobb became the first Owl to win one of college football’s major individual awards when he received the 1991 Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back.  Cobb was a consensus All-American in 1991 and went on to be named the 1992 Southwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year.  He completed his  career ranked second on the SWC rushing list with 4,948 yards, which ranked eighth on the NCAA career list at that time and now ranks 22nd in NCAA history.

He became the first Owl to rush for over 1,000 yards in three seasons and holds the top three season totals in school history, capped by his 1,692 yards in 1991 during his run to the Doak Walker Award.  In addition to his yardage total, Cobb holds Rice season and career marks for rushing attempts (306/1,091), and all-purpose yards (6,512) in addition to the career mark for rushing touchdowns (38).

Despite his 5-10, 220 pound frame, Sign was a dominant defensive force during his career at Rice.  He led Rice linemen in tackles in each of his four seasons and he ranks fifth on the Rice career chart with 36 tackles for loss and sixth with 14 sacks. He won the Lipscomb Award in 1989 as the Outstanding Freshman and shared the first “Bloody Joe” Davis Award in 1991.

After starting his professional career with Florida Citrus Sports (FCS) which produced the Champs Sports Bowl and the Gridiron Classic College All-Star Game, Sign was named the Chief Operating Officer of the National Football Foundation in 2005.

The Honor Jersey program began in 2012, when Rice head coach David Bailiff first honored past notable Rice football players by having current member of the team who play the same position change numbers.  King Hill and O.J. Brigance were honored the first year.  In 2013, the Owls honored the first three African-American players at Rice (Rodrigo Barnes, Stahle Vincent and Mike Tyler) along with Bucky Allshouse, who was their recruiting host.   In 2014, Larry Izzo, N.D. Kalu and Richard Chapman were honored while in 2015; Jeff Rose and Dr. Leland Winston saw players change to their numbers. Last year, Ray Alborn, Donald Bowers and David Houser were honored.

Kickoff for the annual game to wrap up spring football drills is set for 8:00 p.m. Friday at Rice Stadium.

NFF publishes book on Mean Joe Greene by FWAA member Jon Finkel

The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today the first book, “Mean” Joe Greene: Built By Football, in its Football Matters’ “Built By Football” series. The book, which will be available April 3, can be preordered by clicking here.

“We are extremely excited about this new series, which will take an inside look at the marquee members of the College Football Hall of Fame,” said Steve Hatchell, NFF president & CEO. “The road to becoming a Hall of Famer produces so many amazing stories of those who overcame adversity and persevered. We knew that we needed to do more to capture these stories. We are extremely grateful to Hall of Famer Joe Greene and author Jon Finkel for their efforts on launching this series.”

“Mean” Joe Greene’s memoir is a master class in determination, domination and perseverance. For the first time ever, the College and Pro football hall of famer gives readers an unflinching look at his rise from high school bully-victim and bench warmer to University of North Texas legend and Pittsburgh Steelers icon. Many years before he would anchor the most-feared, most-successful defense the NFL had ever seen, Joe Greene was just a big, timid kid from Temple, Texas, struggling to find his confidence as a teenager being raised by a single mother.

“When I got to North Texas I was rough around the edges as a man and as a player,” said Joe Greene. “College helped polish me up a bit and then when I got to Pittsburgh my teammates helped me to continue to smooth things out. I’m a better person because of the men who coached me and the men I played with. I learned from them. I’d like to take this opportunity to pass along that knowledge.”

In his compelling, eye-opening autobiography, Greene takes readers on an unprecedented tour of his life, exploring the people who influenced him and the events that shaped him: from humiliating high school embarrassments to the grit and guts that led to four Super Bowl titles as a player.

Better known by his nickname “Mean Joe” Greene, Charles Edward Joseph Greene acquired his moniker as a reference to his school’s nickname, the University of North Texas Mean Green (then known as North Texas State). During his three seasons in Denton, the 6-4, 270-pound defensive tackle led the Mean Green to a 23-5-1 record. In his 29 games, the team held the opposition to 2,507 yards gained on 1,276 rushes. A per carry average of less than two yards per attempt. His collegiate coach, Rod Rust, said of the 1968 consensus All-America, “There are two factors behind Joe’s success. First, he has the ability to make the big defensive play and turn the tempo of a game around. Second, he has the speed to be an excellent pursuit player.”

A top prospect in the 1969 NFL Draft, Greene was selected fourth overall by the Steelers, and he would go on to become part of the “Steel Curtain” defense that won four Super Bowls in six years. He made 10 Pro Bowl appearances, and he twice earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors. He played 13 seasons in the NFL from 1969-81, appearing in 181 games. In 1979, he was named NFL Man of the Year.

After his playing career, Greene spent 16 years as an assistant coach before becoming a special assistant for player personnel with the franchise. During his time in player personnel, the franchise would claim two more Super Bowls, giving Greene a total of six rings. Both North Texas and the Steelers have retired his No. 75. He earned induction into the University of North Texas Hall of Fame in 1981, the College Football Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.

Jon Finkel, the co-author with Greene on the book, has written numerous books, which have been endorsed by everyone from Oscar-winner Spike Lee and NFL Hall of Famer Kurt Warner, to Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones and ArtofManliness.com founder Brett McKay. He has published with legends who have won a combined 14 Super Bowl titles, 25 NBA Championships, 4 NBA Slam Dunk contests and a Heisman Trophy. Visit www.jonfinkel.com for the latest news, book and social media information. He can be reached at: info@jonfinkel.com

INTERVIEW & BOOK REQUESTS: Scott Bedgood, media@footballmatters.org

ABOUT THE BOOK: Football Matters Publishing, Release Date, April 3rd 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9986273-0-4

Advance Praise for the Book

Mel Blount, NFL Hall of Famer

“I had the honor of playing with Joe Greene and sharing those great Steeler Super Bowl victories with him. I am convinced that none of them would have happened without Joe and his leadership. He was a great leader on the field and in the locker room. His desire to win and positive attitude were contagious. Because of his physical play he was known as “Mean” Joe Greene, but those of us who truly know Joe Greene know that he is a better person than he was a player and that’s saying a lot.”

Jon Kolb, 4x Super Bowl Champion

“I believe that my friend Mr. Joe Greene may be one of the “deepest” people that I’ve ever met. I sometimes get angry when people only refer to him as “Mean” Joe because they miss the complexity of the man. To view Joe as only a great football player is to miss the biggest part of a great man. I am glad he has agreed to do this book, as it comes at a time when real heroes are desperately needed.”

Franco Harris, Pro Football Hall of Famer

“By the time I was drafted by the Steelers, it was clear that Joe was the cornerstone of our team. With him in place, they drafted players to fit this new system and mentality. The results are now legendary, as we won four Super Bowls and the Steelers became the new standard of professional football. Yes, Joe was the spark that ignited it all, and as time passes, his role continues to shine brighter and brighter. There is no question in my mind that “Mean” Joe Greene is the greatest Steeler of all time!”

Dan Rooney, Owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, former US Ambassador

“Joe has been a good father to his three children, a good husband, and it has been wonderful to have Joe as a representative of the Steelers in all the ways he was involved with the team. He was still a young man when we became the team of the decade in the 70s. He had many achievements, playing in Super Bowls, Pro Bowls, and all the best recognitions. He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987. However, he was not interested in the accolades. He was focused on being the best.”

About FootballMatters.org

FootballMatters.org, launched in 2014, is an initiative of the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF). The site is the NFF’s home for telling stories that promote amateur football and highlight the good in the game. Through social round-ups, behind-the-scenes captains videos, exclusive interviews with Hall of Famers, and features that include I’m A Football Player, Football Moms and Leaders Beyond the Field, FootballMatters.org showcases the many areas of life that football impacts. Visit www.FootballMatters.org.