Can a Video Really Change our Perspective of an Athlete?

Yes … it can.
Or, shall we say … it still can.

I’m not immune from the “news of the day,” even though I don’t watch much news, or anything on network television other than football … which, unfortunately, has been where much of the news seems to come from these days. It doesn’t seem to matter that we don’t hear so much about the 99% of athletes who are not in trouble …
So … back to our question:
Can a Video Really Change our Perspective of an Athlete?
It still can.

Let’s go back to 1979/80:
To a commercial which changed the way the world looked at a defensive tackle who had earned the name of “Mean Joe” Greene. Born Charles Edward Greene, “Mean Joe” Greene is still considered one of the greatest defensive linemen to ever play in the NFL. He was the cornerstone of the legendary “Steel Curtain” defense, and is the last surviving member of that legendary Pittsburgh Steelers foursome.

“Mean Joe” Greene was considered … well … mean … right?
Unapproachable. Unfriendly. Someone you wouldn’t want to run into (literally).
That player that everybody hated to play against, but would love to have on your team.

Anyway … then came that “Coca-Cola” commercial. And, that “changed everything.” It really changed the way “we” viewed Mean Joe Greene. How popular was that “Coke” commercial?
Whenever I did a search for information on “Mean Joe” Greene, right along with the Hall of Fame stats, was always the mention of that commercial, still considered to be one of the greatest television commercials of all time. Mr. Greene has said that he has received more mail as a result of that one commercial than for his entire football career.

Two things I learned from watching the new “A Football Life” documentary: The lady who was behind the Coke commercial wasn’t a football fan, and had never heard of “Mean Joe.” But, she thought the idea of having someone with a name like that in this type of commercial may be effective.

Can a Video Really Change our Perspective of an Athlete?
As I found out from one of the videos we feature, “most of the letters were from mothers, who thanked him for being an example of kindness for their children.”
By the way, “Mean Joe” Greene received the prestigious “NFL Man of the Year Award” in 1979, which honors a player’s volunteer and charity work, as well as his excellence on the field. The name of this award was later changed to Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.

So, enjoy this look back. The commercial first aired in October of 1979, and really gained attention when it appeared in the Super Bowl in early 1980.

The first video features the commercial, with comments made from football player “Mean Joe” Greene, right after the commercial aired:

This next video, is from the Coca-Cola company, and I wanted to include this because this features “Papa Joe” talking about the effects of the commercial … how it changed the way people looked at him …



To edify, uplift, encourage, and inspire. Part of the online ministry of, and featuring the writing of author Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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