Monday Night, Dave Portnoy texted me and asked me if I had heard the story of Rocky Bleier. I had but it had been a while. Somehow when this special came out, I missed it. Dave was pretty clearly moved by it if he texted me. I watched it the next day and immediately reached out to some folks I knew had Rocky's contact. Tuesday morning, I was talking to Rocky Bleier on the phone and he was as unassuming as any person that I've spoken with. You would have thought you were talking to your dad or grandpa who is the nicest man you know. I asked Rocky to come on Zero Blog 30 and we set up an interview for Thursday.
I started to do more research into Rocky including talking with a Hall of Fame Beat Writer who covered the Steelers in the 70s and early 80s. Vito Stellino told me about some of Rocky's best games including a game that was once known as the greatest game in the history of College Football. It took place in 1966 and was the latest in a season that a number 1 had met a number 2. Notre Dame, where Rocky was a captain, went up against Michigan State in front of a record crowd of 80 thousand people. The game ended in a tie after Notre Dame essentially ran out the clock. The following week, Notre Dame beat USC 51-0 and Michigan State was idle. Notre Dame was voted the National Champions. It was Rocky's second National Championship at Notre Dame.
After getting drafted in the 16th round of the NFL draft by the Steelers, Rocky was a special teamer and deep on the depth chart his rookie season. That's really where our story for the podcast picked up.
It's a baffling story that seems unreal. It is real. It's a story about a man who was one of the great players in college football, a 4x Super Bowl Champion, Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient, not to mention being a local and national hero. Rocky Bleier: the type of person we should all aspire to be and my newest friend. Sometimes, this job is too good to be true. The 45 minutes I was talking with Rocky is one of those times. I hope you enjoy listening to this interview as much as I enjoyed doing it.