Upon first examination, this jersey purported to be Mean Joe Greene’s 1975 Steelers home jersey had team repairs, was made from durene materials, and had a favorably applied nameplate. But, examination by MEARS with the magnified light source revealed switched year and manufacture tagging which left the outline of tags consistent with 1989 Steelers tagging.
A complete evaluation was preformed using the MEARS research database, a magnified light source, and accessing the MEARS research library.
Offered for evaluation was a durene white jersey with gold & black sleeve trim with sewn on 75 front and reverse numerals. “GREENE” appears on a nameplate in gold on black tackle twill. The jersey is tagged with Sand Knit tagging and a 75 year tag. The jersey was submitted to MEARS to evaluate whether or not the item could be attributed to being worn by Joe Greene for the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 1975 season. In order to produce an opinion, MEARS analyzed:
1. Sand Knit tagging (style and location of tag)
2. Font of the 75 front/reverse & sleeve numerals compared using basic imagery analysts
3. Cut of the shoulder yoke in conjunction with the neckline opening
With respects to the style of the tags, both the “Designed and Tailored Exclusively” & the Sand Knit size 50 is present. The “Designed and Tailored Exclusively” tag compared favorably to
Darrow, 1975 Browns
Hamilton, 1975 Vikings
F Harris, 1975 Steelers
Meaning, the “Designed and Tailored Exclusively” was correct for a jersey issued to be worn during the 1975 season.
With respects to the style of the Sand-Knit size 50 tag, this tag also compared favorably to
Atlas, 1975, Vikings
F Harris, 1975, Steelers
L Walton, 1975, Lions
With respects to the 75 box size tag, it also compared to the Franco Harris 1975 Steelers home jersey found in the MEARS database. This jersey was personally donated by Franco Harris to the Italian Community Center in Chicago and is currently on display and was photographed and archived by MEARS.
The style and arrangements of all three tags are consistent with the Franco Harris jersey. It is my opinion that the 3 tags are original NFL jersey tags. But, they have been resewn and cannot be attributed to being issued and worn by the Pittsburgh Steelers or Joe Greene.
In the area immediately behind the “Designed and Tailored Exclusively”, Sand Knit size 50 tag, and the 75 year tag, under examination with the light table and a magnified light source, a clear outline of removed stitching is present. It appears to be three different tags, similar in purpose of this examined jersey (exclusive tag, Sand Knit size tag, year tag).
The tag layout on the examined jersey is, “Designed and Tailored Exclusively (top)”, Sand-Knit size 50 (underneath), 75 year tag (right of bottom tag). This is consistent with the donated Franco Harris (see plate 16).
The outline of the tags, which denotes an original set of tags was removed, is consistent with a 1989 jersey of a player named Williams that played for the Steelers during 1989. See plate 6. It should be noted that the Steelers also wore Durene during the 1989 season. This tagging arrangement was found as
“Designed and Tailored Exclusively (top)”, Sand Knit size (underneath) and 89 year tag (left of upper tag).
Although the tags are original, they appear to have been removed from one circa 1975 jersey (possible common player) and attached to this durene shell. Before the 1975 era tags were added, the original jersey tags were removed, which left a visible outline. We could find no references of the Steelers using a tagging arrangement with the year tag in the upper position during the 1975 season.
Cut of the shoulder yoke in conjunction with the neckline opening
The jersey durene shell was examined to help determine possible pre-dating (1975) of issuance to the early career of Joe Greene. Sometimes a shell from a previous seasons(s) was used. This was done by examining the cut of the shoulder yoke in conjunction with the seam to the bottom of the neckline opening. Examination of Corbis image #U1702642 (color plate 5) shows the shoulder yoke running through the neckline. The examined shell, MEARS #308062, was constructed with the yoke seam running below the neckline. This eliminated the shell as being issued from the 1970 circa. MEARS color plate 2 of a circa 1969-71 Steelers road jersey also shows the yoke running through the neckline. Therefore, it is not likely this shell was issued earlier in Greene’s career.
To examine the career of Joe Greene with respect to the font, we examined the entire career from available photos and made photographic comparisons taken during the 1975 season. Examination allowed us to disqualify this examined jersey as being worn by Joe Greene during the 1975 season for the following reasons:
Year Reason disqualified
Color Plate Reference Number
1969-71 Eliminated due to yoke seam Plate 2, Plate 5
1972 Eliminated due to incorrect 5 (front) Plate 11
1972 Eliminated due to incorrect 5 (front) Plate 12
1974 Eliminated due to incorrect 5 (shoulder) Plate 10
1975 Eliminated due to incorrect 5 (shoulder,front) Plate 13
1975 Eliminated due to incorrect 5 (shoulder) too large Plate 14
1975 Eliminated due to incorrect 5 (shoulder, front) Plate 15
1977 Eliminated due to incorrect 5 (shoulder) Plate 9
1978 Eliminated due to incorrect 5 (shoulder) Plate 8
Note the examined jersey, MEARS #308062, does NOT match the available dated 1975 photo (plate 15). The inside of the 5 has a 90-degree angle on the plate 15 photo, which is not found on the examined jersey. Not until the photo dated 1978 does the front 5 font match the examined jersey. The 90-degree angle inside the 5 is changed to a straight cut inner. Plate 7, dated 1979, also shows Greene wearing this version of the 5.
Originality of the 75 and nameplate
When placed under the magnified light source, MEARS could find no evidence of a number change and the nameplate appears to be all original. The manner and style of the nameplate and GREENE lettering appears to be consistent with available photos. The exact issuance of this jersey is unknown, especially with the originality of the numbering and nameplate. But, due to the stated reasons, this jersey is not consistent with road durene jerseys worn by Joe Greene during the 1975 season. Although only speculation, this jersey may have been an old-timers or presentation jersey presented to Joe Greene circa 1989. I state this only as a theory, but my theory is supported by the outline of the original inner tagging arrangement, which was found on circa 1989 jerseys. In addition, the Steelers wore Durene jerseys. Therefore, it is plausible that a durene jersey with 1989 tagging could have been prepared for Greene. I cannot explain the reason for the outline of the original tag sewing found on the inside, but the practice is consistent with the removal of tagging.
Due to the incorrect sleeve 5 of actual jersey when compared to available photos, incorrect cut of the inner 5, evidence of tag changing found inside the shell, and the incorrect arrangement of the tagging, MEARS was unable to authenticate this jersey as being worn by Joe Greene during the 1975 season.
Not verified, the team repairs are noted for future identification purposes
1. 7 repairs on right shoulder
2. 9 on left shoulder
3. on upper left sleeve near bottom seam of shoulder