About Rocky Bleier


 

Rocky Bleier's story - a gripping tale of courage on both the football fields of America and the battle fields of Vietnam - has held audiences in rapt attention for years. Yet, the motivational message behind it, detailing how ordinary people can become extraordinary achievers, defines success in the new American century.

 

With the same optimism, sense of humor and steadfast determination that were his trademarks as a Pittsburgh Steelers running back, Rocky Bleier takes audiences from his early years through his professional career and talks about the lessons he learned along the way….lessons that we all can benefit from.



Not falling within the ideal of what a running back should look like, Bleier had to run harder and play smarter to be able to stand out. Despite his drive and ability to make the big play, the Pittsburgh Steelers only considered him a late round pick. But before the season ended that first year, he was drafted again…this time by the United States Army. At the height of the Vietnam War, Bleier was thrust into combat early and was seriously wounded when his platoon ran into an ambush. Receiving wounds from both rifle fire and grenade fragments in his legs, he was barely able to walk and his professional football career seemed to have ended before it began.

 

For more than two years, he drove himself. Little by little he overcame obstacles and fought his way back. He not only made the Pittsburgh Steelers, but also eventually became a starting running back on a team that won four Super Bowls and became the greatest football team of the 20th century.

 

The hard lessons Rocky Bleier learned early in his life that helped him overcome adversity and reach his goals, have paid off after football. Some of those lessons are seen between the lines in the popular book on his life, "Fighting Back," and an ABC-TV movie of the week by the same name.

 

Fact Sheet

Place of Birth: Appleton, Wisconsin

 

High School: Xavier High School

 

1968:
• Graduated from Notre Dame
• Degree in Business Management

1968:
Drafted in the 16th round by the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

 

 

December 1968:
Drafted by the U.S. Army

 

May 1969:
• Sent to Vietnam
• Served with the 4th/31st of the 196th LIB of the Americal Division
• Stationed in Chu Lai, South Vietnam located in I Corp

August 1969:
• Wounded in Heip Duc
• Awarded Purple Heart
• Awarded Bronze Star

1970:
Pittsburgh Steelers Injured Reserve

 

1971:
Pittsburgh Steelers Taxi Squad

 

1972:
Made the active roster for the Pittsburgh Steelers

 

1974:
Earned a spot in the starting backfield

 

1975:
Enjoyed one of the best games of his career against the Green Bay Packers…he rushed for 163 yards for the day.

 

1976:
Rocky Bleier & Franco Harris became the second pair of running backs from the same team to gain 1000 yards in the same season.

 

1977:
Scored the "go-ahead" touchdown in Super Bowl XIII

 

1980:
Retired from the Pittsburgh Steelers at the end of the 1980 season.

 

1980:
• President, Rocky Bleier, Inc.
• Four-time Super Bowl Champion (IX; X; XIII; XIV)