HOF Mail Bag - Lynn Swann

Hall of Famers Published on : 9/7/2005
Lynn Swann

Hindsight being 20/20, if you had it to do all over again would you have been happier being drafted by another team or were you happy being drafted as well as playing your entire career in Pittsburgh? - Dave Likens

Happy being drafted by the Steelers, I would not trade four Super Bowl wins and the teammates that I had for any other situation. If I had gone to San Francisco, it wouldn’t have guaranteed that I would have caught as many passes as Jerry Rice did or that I would win four, they won three. If I had gone to the Dallas Cowboys it doesn’t mean that we would have beaten the Steelers if I was with the Cowboys or not. That stuff’s hard to predict and say. I’ve never looked back with any regret on my career.

I was wondering why you chose the number 88? - Jaxon, Las Vegas

Lynn SwannI didn’t choose it, I wore 22 in high school and college.  Our (Steelers) equipment manager Tony Parisi (explained) when they passed the rule in 1974 that you had to wear a number by position and all receivers and tight ends had to be an 80 series number. I didn’t particularly have a desire for any 80s series number and he said ‘Well you’re 22, double deuces, so we’ll give you 88, double eights’, and that’s how I ended up with that number.

Since you were so competitive and a good jumper, I remember you got hit in the air a lot. Do any of those stick out in your mind? Any worst of the worst? Or one you are particularly proud of coming out alive? - Bill Crupe, Gaithersburg, MD

I guess it would involve one against the Vikings because I had two broken ribs. I got a concussion on another.  There are some that are highlight shots that look really bad but weren’t as bad as they looked so I was glad to come out of them. You know, you just, when you go up in the air and you grab the ball you’re just sacrificing a piece of your body to make sure you get the catch. Sometimes I’m limping around today and I say, 'Hmm, that’s a long-term sacrifice.’

You played against some of the greatest cornerbacks of all time. Big name guys include Mike Haynes, Willie Brown and Lester Hayes. But you played often against others who aren't so well-known such as Lemar Parrish, Roger Wehrli, Ken Riley and Gary Green. Who do you consider the best cover corner you ever faced? What made him so tough? Thanks for playing with such grace - as a player and as a person. - Burnie Thompson, State College, PA

Thank you. There’s a large number of people who were tremendous athletes that I have a great deal of respect for. Everybody I played against I respected and considered that they would play their best game against me. I can’t pick out just one, certainly there are those that are mentioned who are in the Hall of Fame, who are outstanding, but the idea for a receiver is that while you may not be open on every play, when the quarterback is looking for you, that’s the one you want to be open on. So, you try and win those important ones on third down to get the first downs to see if you can come out on top. People don’t make it easy but there are just a lot of very, very good cornerbacks.

What was your most memorable catch? - Chris & Cathy Williams

My most memorable catch, boy, I think I’m fortunate to have the catches that I highly value in my career, both in college and in professional football. My senior year against Stanford, there was a catch coming across the middle of the field, that I was hit from the side and the back and somehow stayed on my feet and got to the end zone for a touchdown. We won that game with a last second field goal and I helped set that up so that’s a good catch. Certainly the catches in Super Bowl X. On the sideline, the first catch, or the catch in midfield. In Super Bowl XIII the touchdown catch, or Super Bowl XIV the touchdown catch I had, those are all huge and big catches in a ball game so I’ll take any one of those, whichever one is your favorite.

How did playing in the National Football League translate into helping you with a political career? Steelers fan for life, Adam Schill

I think the discipline from the game, understanding that there is competition wherever you go, that you don’t win every battle, but at the end of the season the key is to come up and be the champion, and have done it to the best of your ability. You know, how to build a good team, knowing that you have to trust the people you work with, you respect them to get their job done. You build a good team politically to get the same things accomplished.