The NFL has started a tradition of selecting 32 former “NFL Greats” and having them announce the 2nd Round pick of the team they formerly suited up for. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Steeler Nation have seen guys like Merril Hoge and Franco Harris take the podium in past years. This is the fifth season for the NFL doing this NFL Greats 2nd Round announcing – so you would think that the NFL isn’t short of Steeler greats to choose from.
Looking at this year’s 2nd Round announcer, and one can’t help but scratch their head in wonder. The NFL has chosen former Steelers QB Terry Hanratty to take the podium. Terry Hanratty goes way back. Way way back – even before the days of Terry Bradshaw as to when he started his NFL career. Hanratty was selected in the second round (irony?) of the 1969 draft by fresh out of the box head coach Chuck Noll. Hanratty started for a brief period of time until the Steelers 1970 first rounder, Terry Bradshaw (the other Terry) took the starting role away within a couple years.
Hanratty became the Steelers backup much the same way another hometown backup QB did some 25 years later in Charlie Batch – seldom used, but dependable when on the field. He won two Super Bowl rings with the Steelers as the backup. He suited up for both bowls but only saw action in Super Bowl X. That was also his last game as a Steeler and then was selected by the Tampa Bay Bucs in the ’76 expansion draft. Hanratty played backup to Steve Spurrier and would retire after the ’76 season.
I have nothing against Hanratty, but I’m curious as to why he represents the group of NFL Greats. A good player and admirable as a backup for the Steelers for all those years. But ‘great’? Eh, it’ll be nice to the 66 year old represent a hometown guy and a well like Steeler during his time in the ‘Burgh. Look for Hanratty on Saturday when the 2nd round occurs at Radio City Music Hall.