12 January, 1996
Mr. Kevin Green
The Pittsburgh Steelers
Three Rivers Stadium
300 Stadium Circle
Dear Mr. Green:
You don't know me from Adam, but I lived in Pittsburgh from 1973 to 1981, and then from 1986 to 1988. I loved the city; I saw it mature from a blue-collar, industrial town to a well-balanced center of commerce, technology, and manufacturing. But, best of all, I lived in Pittsburgh when guys like Jack Ham and "Mean" Joe Greene roamed the defensive secondary, and when guys like Swann and Stallworth struck fear in opposing cornerbacks every Sunday, and when beasts like Mike Webster played in short-sleeve shirts in sub-zero-degree weather.
I rooted for the team while I lived in Tokyo, Japan. And I still pull for the Steelers, win or loose, now that I live near Seattle, Washington.
I love the Steelers, Mr. Green, but I'm very afraid of you. You're huge. You're a hulking menace. You seem like a nice, articulate guy when you're interviewed, but I've seen you put mean sticks on opposing players. My teeth chatter around my pizza as I watch the few Steelers games telecast in my area. When I heard (and saw) you put the rub on one of the Cleve Brownies earlier in the season, I got a big case of The Yips. In the words of inimitable WTAE color man Myron Cope, I thought: "Yoi!"
You really gave that one guy the business. Do you know if he turned out okay?
But, I'm sure that the slightest thing can get you riled. And, of course, Mr. Green, rightly so. A man of your accomplishments and stature doesn't need to deal with any stuff that you didn't want to have to deal with in the first place. Gosh, I would hate to think that I'd be that slightest thing, so I always wear my Steelers baseball cap on Sunday, and Monday at work, too.
So, look: I'm writing to wish you luck in the playoff games. I'm sure you guys-and probably you in particular-will split some heads and earn your spot in The Super Bowl. I truly believe that the Pittsburgh dream of "One for the Thumb!" will come true this year. But you still scare me, Mr. Green. I do mean this with all respect possible, and I hope you understand. I'm not in Pittsburgh much anymore. Sometimes when I travel, I fly through Pittsburgh and Pump an Iron City Beer in the airport. But I get on with my business and go home-I'd hate to cross paths with you.
Please do me the kind favor of letting me know if you're ever in Seattle, or even in Washington state, so I can make sure I'm on my best behavior and don't get in your way. I'd hate to end up causing you to have to whip my ass. I'd really prefer that you have all your time and energy to concentrate on guys from Buffalo or Green Bay or Dallas. Sometimes, I get excited (or drunk) and tell people that I'm The Man. But if you were in town, I'd want to be sure to not do that since you, are, after all, The Man.
Again, let me extend my best wishes to you and the rest of the Steelers for the best of luck in the playoffs and The Super Bowl. (I wrote to you directly because you scare me the most of all those other guys, except maybe Rod Woodson. He's got a lot of natural talent.)
6260 139th Avenue, Northeast
P.S. If you ever see Tunch Illkin at an alumni function, pleaset tell him I said "Hi!". He used to scare me, too; almost as much as you do. He's a fine young turk of a guy, too.