Hines Ward Names His Choices For Steelers Mount Rushmore

Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward was a guest Friday evening on Pro Football Talk and was asked to name the four people that he would put on the organizations\’ version of Mount Rushmore. The first name out of Ward\’s mouth was Art Rooney Sr., and he followed it up by naming Chuck Noll, Franco Harris and Joe Greene as his choices for the Steelers fictitious monument.

“You probably have to start off with of course with the Chief, Mr. Art Rooney – the founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers,” said Ward. “For the Pittsburgh Steelers it starts at the top, and from Dan (Rooney) to Art (Rooney II), they\’ve always done it their way. They\’re not really big on going out and getting free agents. They\’re really high on building through the draft and building their team by the draft process.”

It is certainly hard to disagree with Ward\’s choices, as only Harris would likely be debated by Steelers fans worldwide. Ward was also asked during the interview to name his favorite team that he played on during his 14 years in Pittsburgh, and while he had the year wrong, he was of sound mind with his reasoning.

“It would probably have to be the 2001 Pittsburgh Steelers, when I think it was Ben\’s (Ben Roethlisberger) rookie year, and I think we finished 15-1,” said Ward. “I just thought we had all the pieces there. Our defense was solid – they were ranked No. 1. We had Joey Porter, Jason Gildon – those guys leading the defense. Jerome (Bettis) was running the ball like crazy. Plaxico Burress and I, we was a great tandem for each other, and then Ben came into a great situation where he had a great supporting cast. We just fell short to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game.”

Ward was later asked to name a Steelers player who will never be on the Mount Rushmore and is underrated.

“There are a couple of guys,” said Ward. “Of course I\’m a little biased; I love Alan Faneca. I just think he epitomized our offensive line. He was kind of the Mike Webster, Dermontti Dawson type of player on the offensive line, because we were always known as running team. Alan Faneca is one of those guys that helped those guys pick up a lot of yards throughout the season.”

When asked who he thought was the single best player that he played with while with the Steelers, Ward went with “The Bus” as his choice.

“For me, it was Jerome Bettis,” said Ward. “To be that size, he was just so massive. Now he\’s even bigger than he was when he played. He still had the great footwork and the power. Me looking back on Jerome\’s career, there\’s one play that stood out to me – when he ran over (Brian) Urlacher to help our team win those last four games and make it to the playoffs and go on our run all the way to Super Bowl XL. So that\’s a play that will always stick in my mind of what Jerome represents for our team.”

If you missed the interview, I have included it below.

  • Matt Searls

    He didn’t really say that 2001 was Ben’s rookie season did he?

  • Christopher Wilkes

    Probably just a typo. 1=4

  • Matthew Marczi

    That would be my Mount Rushmore as well. Art Rooney, Sr. really doesn’t need to be explained. He was more than just the founder of the team; he was their compass. He was, if anything, generous to a fault, and it took Dan Rooney making some decisions that possibly his father wouldn’t have made to change the team’s fortunes. Like hiring Chuck Noll. If you win four Super Bowls, that’s a pretty good resume. He turned a bottom feeder into a champion. And Joe Greene was just as instrumental in that. He set the tone for the rest of the team’s history. He was not the team’s first great player; that would be unfair to players like Frank Varrichione, Jack Butler, and Ernie Stautner. But he was their first great champion. And Franco Harris, of course, aside from being one of the greatest running backs of his era and of all time, aside from excelling as a postseason performer, had the magic hands that turned the tide in 1972 with the Immaculate Reception.

  • sgtrobo

    good points, although an argument can be made for Dan, considering the Chief was always the “lovable loser” and it wasn’t until player decisions were made at a…”son” level. I had the same as my Mt. Rushmore but included Terry instead of the Chief, simply to go with all players instead of having an owner on there

  • Matthew Marczi

    Dan Rooney and Bradshaw would be my next two choices. It’s hard to give a bad answer, really.

  • Jazz

    Mount R? Hmm! I’m going to go with Art Rooney Senior, Chuck Noll, Mean Joe Greene, and Terry Bradshaw.

  • Stephen Dale

    I can’t disagree with Ward’s choices. There are other good choices as well : Webster, Dawson, Swann, Blount, Polamalu………….

  • steves

    This is a really good article and interview with Ward, who will soon be in the HOF. I just enjoyed watching Bus, Ward and others play. They were naturals and enjoyed playing for us as much as we enjoyed watching them. It was written on their faces in the smile after the wack or laughing after the TD. They enjoyed it tremendously and we enjoyed watching. Ben has that same smile after the throw or TD, that all the Great ones do, and is getting to that point where he can direct a team to Greatness.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    I was glad they grouped the Rooney’s together on PFT, because it would have been hard to choose between Art and Dan. I went with Chuck Noll, Mean Joe, the Rooney family, and Jack Splat,

    (Ward’s facts were slightly off, since Art Sr. was known more for trading his draft picks and it was Noll and Dan Rooney who instituted the build through the draft philosophy.)

  • sgtrobo

    yeah, I don’t think there is a bad answer. Arguments could be made for guys like Webster, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, Mel Blount, etc. Definitely a good “problem” to have. 🙂

  • hergieburbur

    Underrated guys while Ward was there? Aaron Smith. I don’t think Faneca was underrated, as while he was a beast of a run blocker and he did hold the line together, he was only average as a pass blocker. Smith was the best 3-4 DE in the league for a long time and rarely acknowledged as such.

  • RW

    Was there at that game that Bettis ran over Urlacher. I turned to my dad sitting next to me and said we were going to win the super bowl that year. Was my second favorite play ever.

  • Ahmad

    How about William Gay 😉