As all of Steeler Nation now knows, Troy Polamalu will appear in a remake of a Coca-Cola commercial made famous by Joe Greene. Ed Bouchette reported that back in November but it means more now that the Steelers are in the Super Bowl and that is when the spot will debut. Polamalu may be the perfect player for the job, although Hines Ward would have been a good bet, too, given his signature smile.
But does anyone remember the TV movie inspired by the 1979 TV spot? Called "The Steeler and the Pittsburgh Kid," it aired on NBC in November 1981 and starred Joe Greene, Franco Harris and, as the kid, Henry Thomas.
This was less than a year before Thomas would befriend another popular icon: E.T. in Steven Spielberg's "E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial."
In the original commercial, a boy (not Thomas) approaches the Steeler as he's hobbling to the locker room. He tells the defensive tackle, "I think you're the best ever. Want my Coke? Really, you can have it."
As the music celebrates "a Coke and a smile," Greene downs the sugary libation and then, in a surprise move, tosses the boy a souvenir jersey. How sweet it was.
In 1999, when TV Guide compiled a list of the 50 best commercials of all time, it ranked No. 7. Ahead of it were:
1. Apple Computer, "1984," 1984 -- Not bad for a spot that aired only once, during the Super Bowl. It features an ominous, large-screen Big Brother whose tyranny is about to be shattered by the introduction of Apple's Macintosh personal computer.
2. Alka-Seltzer, "Spicy Meatballs," 1969 -- During the filming of an ad for spaghetti sauce, an actor repeatedly flubs his lines, has to start over, develops heartburn and needs an Alka-Seltzer.
3. Volkswagen, "Funeral," 1969 -- Penny-pinching Harold, who drives a Bug and brings up the rear in the funeral procession, inherits his uncle's fortune.
4. Volkswagen, "Snowplow," 1963 -- A Beetle triumphs over winter's fury to deliver its driver to a snowplow.
5. Federal Express, "Fast-Paced World," 1981 -- Motormouth actor John Moschitta talks at warp speed and plugs the speedy delivery service.
6. American Tourister, "Gorilla," 1970 -- The luggage maker lets Oofi, a former circus performer, abuse its hard-sided suitcase to demonstrate its durability.
Remember, these were all commercials, not just Super Bowl ones and in the ad world, a decade is a long time.