Legends Series: Louis Lipps
To this day, when Louis Lipps is out and about around Steelers fans, he hears the old familiar cheer. 'Louuuuu,' fans will yell, sometimes just passing him on the street, sometimes on the way into Heinz Field, just about anywhere he still hears it.
But nothing, absolutely nothing, compared to hearing it at Three Rivers Stadium when he made a big reception.
"I almost get the question asked of me every time I go somewhere," said Lipps. "'What is it like?' I could sit here and tell you 20 different stories. But you actually have to be down there and listen to it. I had goose bumps as big as marbles on my arms and throughout my body. It just makes you want to go out there and do something fantastic or something big just to hear that crowd go crazy and scream your name. The fans in the stadiums make you do things that when you see it on film, you look up at yourself and think, 'How the heck did I do that?' And that's because of people in the stadium, they make you do unbelievable things."
Lipps, who is from New Orleans, Louisiana and played his last season with the Saints, remained in Pittsburgh after his playing days because of that love affair with the city and the fans.
Lipps weighed in more on his relationship with the fans, and a variety of other topics, in this exclusive interview:What's your best memory of your playing career?"There were a few of them. I guess it would have to be my very first game I played in Three Rivers Stadium against Kansas City, which happened to be one of my best games. As far as a memory of actually playing, that would be it. I was voted team MVP, which is pretty cool when the players in the locker room think that much of you. Not only did it happen once, it happened twice."* *Who had the biggest impact on your career? "I've never been on a team where you're fighting for a position and the guys you're fighting with are helping you with that position. I would hate to have to put a number on the people that were instrumental, but there was a bunch of them. John Stallworth, Chuck Noll, Calvin Sweeney, Tom Moore. You had people that were seeing great things in you when you didn't even get a chance to see them in yourself at that particular time. They saw them way before you did, and that just makes you realize to keep going, keep chomping at it, and that made for some amazing things in my career."
What was it like playing for Chuck Noll? "Playing for Chuck, he wanted to make sure that if you were going to play for him, you were going to run his offense and run his defense, and run it the right way. That meant studying, paying attention to detail, doing the little things. If you do the little things right, the big things are going to happen. Even today that has carried on with me. I speak for myself, but I think a lot of the former players would be right there with me to put a check mark right by that statement." What did it mean for you to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers? "My high school colors were black and gold, my college colors were black and gold, so my cousin said, 'Naturally, I knew you were going to Pittsburgh.' And that's what happened. But playing in Pittsburgh was special for me. It was the first time for me actually getting out and living on my own, making my own way of life. Here in Pittsburgh you feel so attached to the fans because the fans are so attached to us. That's what makes it special. It makes you want to go out there and perform, not only for you and for your coaches and your other teammates, but for the people that would do anything for you. Playing in Pittsburgh is just a special place to play." Is it special that you still have a bond with the fans? "You'd be surprised at what some of them would say after you take a picture with them, sign an autograph for them. They'll tell you, 'Good luck next year.' I'm like, 'You know I don't play anymore.' But it really is neat. You don't hear very many other players from other teams talking the way former players from the Steelers talk."