is your all-time favorite NFL player? Why?
My favorite all-time player is Jim Brown. He was strong, fast, and off the field he was trying to improve society. He
had a strong desire to make a difference. As a player, his records stood up for
a long time. He's been out of the game a long time, but he is still the guy
people use to measure other running backs.
football getting too complicated? For example, all the stunts, coverages, etc?
Stephenson: Not at all. The game is good and it's great how offenses are
moving people around to create mismatches. I think it's great and it's always
been a thinking game.
you try to give your son advice about playing in the NFL, and if so, does he
No, I don't give him advice. I've given him advice from a financial standpoint.
We talk every week after his game. I do some critiquing, but I really don't want
to jump in. He's doing it his way. He doesn't need my input he needs my
much do you miss football? Was it tougher retiring from playing or coaching?
I think it's tougher to retire from playing. There's a time for everything and
things must come to an end. You have to accept that both as a player and a
coach. In coaching, you're not limited in age -- although people think you go
braindead after 60! I have great memories of both playing and coaching. As for
missing football, I still have friends in coaching that I talk to. I watch
college on Saturdays and the pros on Sunday. It's still something I can enjoy!
you ever play on artificial turf? If so, did you like it? Do you think that
teams that play in domes are hurting the integrity of the game?
I never played on artificial turf and I'm very happy about that. It can shorten
your career. All these young guys today have lasting injuries that pop up when
you get older. As for domes, I don't really care for them. Football should be
played outdoors in the elements. People who go to the games (the real fans)
probably enjoy the game more outdoors.
do you think about today's players?
They're bigger, stronger and it looks like they've been raised on a farm
somewhere! The players platoon so much, too. They're in for 3-4 downs and then
they leave the field. When I played, I played on all the offense, all the
defense, and special teams. I got into the rhythm of the game and as it went
along, I got sharper and sharper. It would be hard for me to play like they do
today! You get warm, you get cold, and you don't get into the rhythm of the
What was the hardest part about retiring as a player?
I think it's missing the relationship with the players. With a group of guys,
you establish some bonds. With no arena do you get that, and that's what makes
it so special.
Who was the meanest player on those Steeler Teams? And who was the meanest
you ever played against?
The meanest player on our team was Ernie Holmes. This guy was mean on and off
the field. He was a terrorizing player because even his own teammates were
afraid of him! As for people I played against, I would say Conrad Dobler. He
cheap-shotted me a couple times!
you still get fired up when you see the video of the Hail Mary pass to Drew
Pearson at Metropolitan Stadium in Minnesota?
You know, I do! Ironically, last night I was at this party and Charlie Waters
was there. He had a VHS tape of that game and sent a copy over to me today! I'm
going to try and watch that whole game. We were a Wild Card team that year
against the Vikings and a big underdog. It was 14-10 at the time and time was
running out. When I threw the ball to Pearson, I kind of under-threw it. The
term "Hail Mary" was developed because after the game, I told the
press I closed my eyes and said a "Hail Mary."