I got an email from Tina Veon, the creative director at KDKA, the CBS-owned affiliate in Pittsburgh, saying that the station did a PSA with some former Steelers/Pens/Pirates players to honor the real life heroes in her town and did I want more info about it. I told her yes, that if she gave me some background, I’d share her story but I would also tell her my Mean Joe Green story.
I got an email from Tina Veon, the creative director at KDKA, the CBS O&O in Pittsburgh (DMA 24), saying that the station did a PSA with some former Steelers/Penguins/Pirates players to honor the real life heroes in her town and did I want more info about it.
I told her yes, that if she gave me some background, I’d share her story but I would also tell her my Mean Joe Greene story.
So here’s Tina on how the spot came to be:
“People in Pittsburgh are proud to be from the City of Champions (myself included!) so I wanted to get as many current and former Steelers/Pens/Pirates together in one PSA to honor the real heroes in our town — those who are selflessly working to keep us safe. With the help of co-workers, we sent my script to players/coaches to record on their smart phones in their home. Players then sent their videos to our editor, Greg Loscar who perfectly put the spot together (in his living room). The process confirmed to me that you don’t need fancy Steadicams, big budgets or elaborate sets to create a meaningful spot.”
For those reading who might be unaware of who Mean Joe Greene is, he played defensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1969 until 1981. He’s widely considered to be greatest lineman to play in the NFL.
However, even if you didn’t know who he is, you might remember him from a very famous Coke commercial.
Here’s my Mean Joe Greene story.
Super Bowl XXIV was played, appropriately enough, in the Superdome in New Orleans in 1990. At the time, I was working at WDSU, the NBC affiliate located in the heart of the French Quarter.
Celebrity sightings due to the Super Bowl were the talk of the station.
One day in the week leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, I‘m walking to lunch with my cameraman, Glenn “GT” Taylor. Taylor is a well-known reality show director. Extreme Home Make-Over is just one the shows he’s worked on.
I had to stop at the only ATM machine in the French Quarter, a relatively new technology then. When we got to the machine, there was a large gentleman using it. We stood off to the side and waited for him to finish. But it was taking quite a long time for him to finish, and all the while, Glenn is complaining how hungry he is and wondering why the guy is taking so long. The guy couldn’t hear what Glenn was saying and I was just laughing while Glenn complained.
At long last, the guy finishes and turns around and walks right toward us. It’s Mean Joe Greene, the cornerstone of the legendary “Steel Curtain” defense of the four-time Super Bowl champions Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s. (Greene went to the University of North Texas). I notice how big his hands are. In one he has the biggest cigar I’ve ever seen, and on the other he’s wearing one of his Super Bowl rings.
Both the cigar and ring look tiny in his hands.
“Hey fellas, sorry I took so long” he says apologetically.
“Hey Mean Joe Greene,” says Glenn, “no problem. I didn’t care but my friend here was complaining the whole time.”
So now Mean Joe Greene, one of the best NFL players ever, turns his attention to me while I look sheepish. Gentle and sincerely, Mean Joe explains, “Hey man, I’m sorry. I’m from out of town and I had a little trouble using the machine. I tried this, and that and….”
So if you see Mean Joe somewhere, please tell him it wasn’t me.
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