Photo by Theo Tate
As part of the NFL Super Bowl High School Honor Roll program, Granite City High School received a golden football because one of its former players, Kevin Greene, participating in the Super Bowl.
The Super Bowl was celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
So in September, the National Football League decided to start a program to honor schools and communities from around the country that influenced Super Bowl history and made a huge impact on football. It’s called the Super Bowl High School Honor Roll.
High schools across the country and around the world get a golden Wilson football for every player or head coach who graduated from the school and participated in the Super Bowl. More than 2,000 high schools were recognized.
One of those high schools was Granite City High.
Last month, GCHS received a golden football and put it in its large trophy case at Memorial Gymnasium. The school was recognized since Kevin Greene, a Granite City South graduate, played in Super Bowl 30 while he was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“It’s pretty neat for our high school,” Granite City Principal Daren DePew said. “I’ve spoken to Kevin on the phone and he’s pretty excited about it.”’
On Feb. 6, Greene was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Then, pictures of Greene were added with the golden football in the trophy case.
After graduating from Granite City South in 1980, Greene played college football at Auburn University. Then, he started a 15-year pro football career with the Los Angeles Rams in 1985.
Greene joined the Steelers in 1993. Two years later, he helped the Steelers reach the Super Bowl, but Pittsburgh lost to Dallas 27-17. It would be his final game with the Steelers as he joined the Carolina Panthers the next year.
Greene also played one season with the San Francisco 49ers and two more seasons with the Panthers before retiring in 1999.
Greene later became the outside linebacker coach of the Green Bay Packers. He was part of an NFL championship team for the first time after the Packers won Super Bowl 45.
There are only five schools in the Metro East area that have golden footballs. The others are East St. Louis (Bryan Cox), Edwardsville (Morris Bradshaw), Belleville West (Nathan Hodel) and Marquette Catholic (Craig Hentrich).
A total of 82 schools in Illinois have golden footballs. Mount Carmel High in Chicago has the most players and coaches who participated in the Super Bowl with five.
California received 432 golden footballs, more than any other state. It also has 296 schools receiving at least one golden football.
“It’s really nice for the NFL to do that and to recognize all of the high schools,” DePew said.
Out of all of the players and coaches being honored, a total of 129 of them are in the Hall of Fame. That number will increase to 130 when Greene gets inducted at Canton, Ohio, in August.