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View Full Version : Jack Lambert, the 5th hardest hitter in NFL history?



CowherPower
06-06-2012, 11:22 AM
I came across an article (http://www.footballnation.com/content/top-12-hardest-hitters-nfl-history/14914/2/)that listed the top 10 biggest hitters in NFL history. Something that in today's NFL is definitely frowned upon.

Be that as it may though, they have Lambert listed as 5th on the list.

5. Jack Lambert (LB) 1974-1984 Pittsburgh Steelers
Some guys are tough, some guys try to look and act tough, and some guys are all of the above. Jack Lambert was one of those guys who looked the part, walked the walk, and talked the talk. His famous toothless scowl had most opponents fearful before the snap. Unfortunately things only got worse for them. He was a hard-nosed, hard-hitting SOB who took pleasure in making grown men afraid of him. I would pay good money to see him in meeting with Roger Goodell after getting chided for a “hard tackle”.

http://youtu.be/4EdmIB2kRFc

Number99
06-06-2012, 11:32 AM
Looking at the 4 men in front of him it's definately a list to argue over but its a good arguement. All 4 of those guys I can see listed ahead of Lambert because they were all brutal hitters. Lists are opinions and we all know what opinions are like. The one thing I can't argue is Lane being no1. He was a nightmare for opposing players.

ChucktownSteeler
06-06-2012, 01:14 PM
I am not sure I agree with Mike Curtis on the list (especially that high).

I loved Lambert's style and he is still my #1 favorite Steeler, all-time. What can you say about the way he came to his QB's defense (Kruzek?) in the clip above.


C-town

BlitzburghRockCity
06-06-2012, 05:09 PM
The way Lambert played football, the real way, he wouldn't even be allowed to suit up in this day and age. If he did he'd be broke within the first 2 months of the season from all the fines. Man I miss how things used to be. Just taking somebody's head off because they were the opposition, the enemy.

Goodfrom55
06-06-2012, 07:35 PM
COnsidering hwas was barely 215 pounds as a MLB, it's a testament to his toughness and "steelertude".

MDSteel15
06-08-2012, 09:05 AM
Damn it! I am at work and can't see who the other 4 are!!!!

Real Deal Steel
06-08-2012, 01:21 PM
Well,

As tough as Lambert was (and he was a tough SOB) Mean Joe Green was the one who knocked Lambert's tooth out. So how tough must Mean Joe have been?

JensK
06-08-2012, 03:39 PM
The argument was not whether he was the 5th toughest player to play the game. He might have hit harder than his body should allow him to, but there have been guys who hit opponents harder. I think around 5 is a pretty good place for him, maybe even a little lower, but he is up there for sure.

Scorp
06-08-2012, 07:12 PM
Questionable but what a list.

Real Deal Steel
06-08-2012, 07:26 PM
Lambert was a beast. And his bad attitude magnified it!

gtadroptop
06-08-2012, 09:33 PM
The Steelers hoop team played a benefit against our area teachers at the local high school way back when. One of the teachers fouled Jack. The look Jack gave him scared the crap out of me and I was safely in the stands.

Count Dracula in cleats, indeed.

BlacknGoldHaze
06-08-2012, 11:48 PM
The Steelers hoop team played a benefit against our area teachers at the local high school way back when. One of the teachers fouled Jack. The look Jack gave him scared the crap out of me and I was safely in the stands.

Count Dracula in cleats, indeed.

:yellowthumb: As tough as he was on the field, he gained even more of my respect by taking care of a friend of my family in Worthington, Pa. Jack mowed the grass shoveled snow...gave vegetables from his garden to an elderly widow neighbor and our friend for years.....when her invalid husband passed away, he quietly paid his respects and made sure she was taken care of.....a true class act and a true Steeler!

Danger DANJ
06-09-2012, 01:11 PM
Watching those hits in the video, I don't think there was one time where Jack led with his helmet. There were some hits that would be considered hits on a defenseless receiver today, but most would be legal today.

ChucktownSteeler
06-09-2012, 01:22 PM
Well,

As tough as Lambert was (and he was a tough SOB) Mean Joe Green was the one who knocked Lambert's tooth out. So how tough must Mean Joe have been?

I thought they were lost in a basketball game?

As for the missing teeth, they were victims not of the thundering hooves of Pete Johnson or Earl Campbell, but instead the head of Steve Poling, a high school basketball teammate. Poling's head collided with Lambert's mouth in practice one afternoon.

"Jack was very sensitive about it at first," says his mother, Joyce Brehm. "Once, when he was swimming in an old gravel pit after school, he lost his bridge, and he stayed out of school until the dentist made him a new one."

Then there are the feet, the way he'd pump them up and down before the ball was snapped, a picture of intensity. He got away from that after his first few years.

From article below:

A Rose By Any Other Name
Steeler linebacker Jack Lambert is not known as a sweetie, but he sure knows the sweet smell of success

By Paul Zimmerman
As published in Sports Illustrated
July 30, 1984
The painting hangs on the wall outside the office of Art Rooney, Jr., the coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers' scouting scouting operations. It's not the kind of thing you'd want your mother or your wife to see. It's what Attila must've looked like while he was sacking a village, or the way a Viking chieftan was with his blood lust up. Only this Viking wears No. 58 and he's dressed out in the gold and black of the Steelers, eyes flashing in a maniacal frenzy; blood flecking his nose; his mouth, minus three front teeth, bared in a hideous leer. Jack Lambert's portrait epitomizes the viciousness and cruelty of our national game.

The portrait was done by Merv Corning. It was one of two he submitted the the Steelers' publicity director, Joe Gordon, for possible use as a program cover, and it was rejected immediately. Too scary. Rooney saw it. He called Corning, "Can I buy the original?" he said. The deal was made, and Rooney hung it outside his office. Then he had misgivings.

"I though, 'Holy hell, Lambert's gonna pull this thing off the wall when he sees it,'" Rooney says. So he removed it and sent for Lambert.

"Jack," he said. "I want to hang it on the wall. What do you think?"

"He got very quiet," Rooney says. "He looked at it. He studied it. He stepped back, he stepped forward. Then he asked me, 'Can you get me a couple of copies?'"

Is that really the image Lambert wants, a toothless monster ravaging the NFL? Off the field he's a quiet, extremely private man, a bird watcher and avid fisherman. A bachelor, he owns a home in the exclusive Fox Chapel suburb of Pittsburgh, and he spent much of the offseason ensuring greater privacy by building himself a country retreat on 85 acres he bought about 40 miles northeast of the city. At one time he was bothered by all the Count Dracula-Darth Vader stuff everyone used to write about him. When the Steelers played the Rams in the '80 Super Bowl, Jim Murray, the columnist for the Los Angeles Times, referred to him as "the pro from Pittsburgh, Transylvania." That same year the Pittsburgh highlight film called him "Count Dracula in cleats." In 1981, Azra Records of L.A. put out a platter in the shape of a football; it was called Mad Man Jack, and two bass drums pounding all the way were supposed to simulate Lambert's feet pumping before a play, a trademark of his early pro days.

"All that stuff about Jack, it's a bad read," says Andy Russell, ther right linebacker on the '74 and '75 Steelers Super Bowl teams. "He's a great player and he'll be remembered for a long time, but for all the wrong reasons."

But here's Lambert, carefully scrutinizing that savage picture in the Steelers' office and deciding, "Yep, that's me, all right." How come?

"It's like the old Greek drama," says Rooney, a dramatic arts major in college, "where they'd wear masks, and eventually the mask has become part of Jack's face. Right now he thinks he's John Wayne. Actually, though, he's sort of a larger-than-life type guy."

As Jack Lambert reported to camp last week for his 11th Steeler season, he still seemed larger than life. He came to the Steelers a tough, skinny kid out of Kent State, and he found a spot on a team that was just reaching the crest of its greatness. He arrived at exactly the right time, in exactly the right place. Pittsburgh fans have always appreciated talented athletes, but they reserve a special place in their hearts for their tough guys -- Fran Rogel, Ernie Stautner, John Henry Johnson, those people. And Lambert played the ultimate tough-guy position, middle linebacker.

At one time middle linebackers roamed the league like Goliaths. Nitschke, Butkus, Schmidt -- names as tough as the people who carried them. Wille Lanier, with the pad he wore on the front of his helmet. Mike Curtis, the Animal. Bob Griese talks about staring across the line at Butkus and feeling his legs turn to jelly. Gene Upshaw, the Raiders' ex-guard, remembers the terror he felt when he looked into Lanier's eyes.

But then a few years ago, something sad happed to these great middle linebackers. The 3-4 defense robbed them of their identity. They divided, like an amoeba. Instead of one, there were two of them, inside strong and inside weak, or, in the Steelers' case, left and right. The great gunfighters of the past had gone corporate. It was if Wyatt Earp had taken on a job with Pinkerton's, or Bat Masterson had become director of security for the National Bank. It happened to Harry Carson with the Giants, then to Jack Reynolds when he went from the Rams to the 49ers. And then the last of them, the last of the great old middle linebackers, Jack Lambert, got his two years ago.

"Oh yes, Mr. Lambert, I've heard of you. And what position do you play, Mr. Lambert?" And instead of snarling out "middle linebacker" through chipped and broken teeth, Lambert would answer "inside linebacker left." Sounds like a traffic signal.

Oh, there are still middle linebackers -- seven of them. They belong to the seven NFL teams that continue to use the 4-3 as their basic defense, but most of them are 60% players. They get the hook on passing downs, when the defense goes into its nickel. There's the Bears' Mike Singletary, the best of the bunch, but the rest of the names won't quicken the pulse; Ken Fantetti, David Ahrens, Neal Olkewicz, Bob Crable, Bob Breunig, Fulton Kuykendall -- all good steady workers, but there's no magic there. So can you blame Lambert for trying to recapture a little of the old imagery, some of the old glamor -- and terror -- that went with the position?

Actually, if you look at Lambert's career with the Steelers you find a remarkable collection of big plays in big situations, but no trail of bloodied and broken bodies; you find very little to justify all the adjectives and mayhem that give writers so many easy off-day features. Lambert hits hard, of course. Always has, ever since his high school days.

"After a while teams would stop running curl patterns in front of him," says Gerry Myers, his coach at Crestwood High in Mantua, Ohio. "I can close my eyes now and see him hitting the split end from Streetsboro. Knocked his helmet and one shoe off."

As for the missing teeth, they were victims not of the thundering hooves of Pete Johnson or Earl Campbell, but instead the head of Steve Poling, a high school basketball teammate. Poling's head collided with Lambert's mouth in practice one afternoon.

"Jack was very sensitive about it at first," says his mother, Joyce Brehm. "Once, when he was swimming in an old gravel pit after school, he lost his bridge, and he stayed out of school until the dentist made him a new one."

Then there are the feet, the way he'd pump them up and down before the ball was snapped, a picture of intensity. He got away from that after his first few years.

"I've had people tell me I'm not playing as hard as I used to because I don't pump my feet up and down," he said in 1978. "I'd hate to think I only played hard when I pumped my feet."