LeBeau says his 2008 defense may be the best ever


I was lucky enough to attend the annual Dick LeBeau Night at London Country Club last week, and the former NFL defensive coordinator talked a lot about his legendary 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense.

“I don’t think there will ever be another defense that posts those kinds of stats for a season, not with how teams are throwing the ball around now and moving up and down the field,” said LeBeau, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010. “Of course, it will take 20 or 30 years out to see how defenses go, but I don’t think there will ever be a better one than that one.”

Led by Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison and Pro Bowler James Farrior at linebacker and All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu, the 2008 Steelers finished first in the NFL in total defense (237.2 yards per game), scoring defense (13.9 points per game) and pass defense (156.9 yards per game).

They finished second in the league in rush defense (80.2 yards per game).

It’s beyond rare to have a defense that ranks so highly in both pass and rush defense … usually, when one of those stats is low, the other is high.

In the Super Bowl at the end of the 2008 season, Harrison’s 100-yard interception return for a touchdown led Pittsburgh to a 27-23 win over Arizona.

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This Sunday’s Legends Golf Classic at Urbana Country Club will feature an evening presentation by Pro Football Hall of Famer Paul Warfield, and it should be a good one.

Warfield, who starred at Ohio State and later as a wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins, is an excellent speaker.

Also during the evening presentation, framed Urbana Country Club scorecards autographed by golf legends Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Raymond Floyd, Johnny Miller, Curtis Strange and Hale Irwin; football legends Dick LeBeau, Paul Warfield, Anthony Munoz, Ozzie Newsome, Jim Tressel and John Cooper and basketball legend Jerry Lucas will be auctioned off with all proceeds benefiting the local United Way.

The Nicklaus scorecard is matted with a black and white photo of him from circa 1957, the same year he played an exhibition match with Sam Snead at Urbana Country Club.

In addition, Roger Wallace of Urbana will be donating a World Football League program from 1975 that he and Warfield will autograph.

Wallace and Warfield were teammates that season with the Memphis Southmen of the WFL.

A few tickets are still available at $27 each for Sunday’s evening presentation, which will begin with a cocktail hour at approximately 5 p.m.

For more information, call Urbana Country Club’s William Unger at (937) 303-0916.

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Trivia Time – Ernie Kellerman played college football at Miami of Ohio. He will be in attendance on Sunday at Urbana Country Club.

This week’s question – Who were the other two members of the foursome when Jack Nicklaus faced off with Sam Snead for the first time at Urbana Country Club in 1956?

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Reach Steve Stout at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or at sstout@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Steve Stout at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or at sstout@aimmediamidwest.com