Imagine Joe Montana not only throwing to Jerry Rice - but Lance Alworth as well. Or Mean Joe Greene sacking a quarterback, helped by Reggie White.
How about Jim Brown running the ball behind blocks by Forrest Gregg, John Hannah and Mike Ditka? Or Lawrence Taylor forcing a fumble that Ronnie Lott returns for a touchdown.Those greats were among 48 players reportedly selected for the NFL All-Time Team.
On Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette released the names of the players picked by a 15-person panel of NFL and Pro Football Hall of Fame officials, former players and media members. The league would not comment on the Post-Gazette story, saying only that the team officially would be announced next Tuesday at a news conference in New York.
Montana, Rice, Lott, White and Rod Woodson were the five active players on the team. Woodson was one of six Steelers and the only Pittsburgh member of the team not to play for a Super Bowl winner.
"You just go out there and play your best and let the critics be critics," Woodson said.
The other Steelers were Joe Greene, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham and Mel Blount from the Steel Curtain defense, and center Mike Webster.
"This is one of the real legitimate all-time teams that are selected," Steelers president Dan Rooney said. "They really worked at doing this."
O.J. Simpson, accused of the murder of his ex-wife and her friend and expected to stand trial next month, was selected to the backfield. So were Walter Payton, the career rushing leader, Jim Brown, Bronko Nagurski, Marion Motley and Steve Van Buren.
Also on the squad were quarterbacks Sammy Baugh, Otto Graham and Johnny Unitas; receivers Lance Alworth, Raymond Berry and Don Hutson; tight ends Mike Ditka and Kellen Winslow; tackles Roosevelt Brown, Forrest Gregg and Anthony Munoz; guards John Hannah, Jim Parker and Gene Upshaw; and center Mel Hein on offense.
The defense had ends Deacon Jones, Gino Marchetti and White; tackles Bob Lilly, Merlin Olsen and Greene; linebackers Dick Butkus, Ted Hendricks, Willie Lanier, Ray Nitschke, Taylor, Lambert and Ham; cornerbacks Mike Haynes, Dick Lane, Blount and Woodson; and safeties Ken Houston, Larry Wilson and Lott.
The placekicker was Jan Stenerud and the punter was Ray Guy. Gale Sayers was the kickoff returner and Billy "White Shoes" Johnson made it as the punt returner.