|No. 20, 26|
|Born:||March 5, 1946|
Appleton, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Height:||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight:||210 lb (95 kg)|
|High school:||Appleton (WI) Xavier|
|NFL Draft:||1968 / Round: 16 / Pick: 417|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at NFL.com · PFR|
Robert Patrick "Rocky" Bleier ( /ˈblaɪər/ BLY-ər, born March 5, 1946) is an American former professional football player and a veteran of the United States Army. He played as a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1968 and from 1970 to 1980. 
Nicknamed "Rocky" as a baby, Bleier said, "As the first born of the family, my dad was proud, as all parents are. And the guys would come into the bar and say 'Bob, how's that new kid of yours?' And my dad would go, 'Aw, you should see him, guys, looks like a little rock sitting in that crib. He's got all these muscles.' So they'd come back in the bar and they'd say, 'Hey Bob, how's that little rock of yours?' So after that, that's how I got it. It stuck." 
Born and raised in Appleton, Wisconsin, Bleier was the oldest of four children of Bob and Ellen Bleier,  who ran a tavern, Bleier's Bar, while the family of six lived above it.  He had a paper route as a youth,  and graduated from Xavier High School in 1964, where he starred in football and basketball. In football, Bleier was a three-time all-state selection as running back,  and won all-conference honors at both linebacker and defensive back. He was a team captain in football, basketball, and track. 
Bleier played college football at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana, and graduated in 1968 with a degree in business management. During his junior season in 1966, the Fighting Irish won the national championship and he was a team captain as a senior in 1967.  He was selected in the 16th round of the 1968 NFL/AFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, 417th overall.
After his rookie season with the Steelers, Bleier was drafted into the U.S. Army on December 4, 1968, during the Vietnam War.  He volunteered for duty in South Vietnam and shipped out for Vietnam in May 1969 assigned to Company C, 4th Battalion (Light), 31st Infantry, 196th Light Infantry Brigade and assigned as a squad grenadier operating a 40mm M79 grenade launcher. On August 20, while on patrol in Hiep Duc, Bleier was wounded in the left thigh by an enemy rifle bullet when his platoon was ambushed in a rice paddy. While he was down, an enemy grenade landed nearby after bouncing off a fellow soldier, he tried to leap over it and it exploded sending shrapnel into his lower right leg.  His right foot was severely damaged in the blast as well.    He was later awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. His rank was Specialist 4.
While he was recovering in a hospital in Tokyo, doctors told him that he could not play football again. Soon after, he received a postcard from Steelers owner Art Rooney which simply read "Rock - the team's not doing well. We need you. Art Rooney". Bleier later said, "When you have somebody take the time and interest to send you a postcard, something that they didn't have to do, you have a special place for those kinds of people". After several surgeries, he was discharged from the Army in July 1970,  and began informal workouts with Steeler teammates.   
Bleier rejoined the Steelers in camp in 1970. Upon his return, he couldn't walk without being in pain, and weighed only 180 pounds (82 kg). He was put on injured reserve for the season, but returned in 1971 and played on special teams.  He spent several seasons trying to get increased playing time, and was waived on two occasions. But Bleier never gave up, and said that he worked hard so that "some time in the future you didn't have to ask yourself 'what if?'". An offseason training regimen brought Bleier back to 212 lb (96 kg) in the summer of 1974, and he earned a spot in the Steelers' starting lineup.
Since Preston Pearson was wearing number 26 (the number Bleier wore his rookie season before he went to Vietnam), Bleier switched to number 20 when he returned to the team. After Pearson was traded to the Dallas Cowboys in 1975, Bleier kept the number 20, with which he had become associated.
In addition to being a great lead blocker, Bleier was the second of the Steelers' rushing weapons (Franco Harris was the primary back), but was effective nonetheless at both blocking and rushing. In 1976, both Harris and Bleier rushed for over 1,000 yards, making this the second NFL team to accomplish this feat, after Mercury Morris and Larry Csonka of the 1972 Miami Dolphins.
Bleier played in the first four Steeler Super Bowl victories, and caught the touchdown pass from Terry Bradshaw that gave Pittsburgh a lead it would never relinquish in Super Bowl XIII. He also recovered Dallas's onside kick in the closing seconds, sealing the Steelers' victory.
Bleier retired after the 1980 season,  with 3,865 rushing yards, 136 receptions for 1,294 yards, and 25 touchdowns. At the time of his retirement, he was the Steelers' fourth all-time leading rusher.
|Won the Super Bowl|
|1969||PIT||0||0||did not play due to service in Vietnam War|
|1970||PIT||0||0||did not play due to injury|
Bleier wrote a book of his struggle to recover from his war wounds called Fighting Back: The Rocky Bleier Story , and it was made into a television movie in 1980, with Robert Urich starring as Bleier, Richard Herd as Steelers coach Chuck Noll, Art Carney as team owner Art Rooney, and many of Bleier's teammates (including Matt Bahr and "Mean Joe" Greene) as themselves.  Bleier is featured in the 2014 feature documentary "Project 22", which chronicles the cross-country motorcycle journey of two young veterans exploring alternative treatments for PTSD and TBI. 
Bleier has four children. He has two children from his marriage with Aleta Giacobine Whitaker, from whom he was divorced in October 1996.    He also has two adopted children with his second wife, Jan Gyurina.  As of 2011, he lived in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania. 
Bleier has become an author and speaker on retirement and financial management. He has authored the book Don't fumble your retirement  and is the co-host of a weekly radio show The Rock on Retirement on Pittsburgh radio station 104.7 FM WPGB.  He runs Bleier Zagula Financial with his business partner Matt Zagula. 
The football stadium at Xavier High School was renamed Rocky Bleier Field on the Knights of Columbus Sports Complex  on October 12, 2007.  Bleier tossed the coin to start the high school football game that day. He had spoken earlier in the day to students at an assembly. The entire student body wore T-shirts with his number 23, the only number retired in the school's history. On the following day, the third day of a three-day event, mayor Tim Hanna unveiled a street named in his honor. The former Oneida Court was renamed Rocky Bleier Run.  In 2017, Rocky became the subject of a children’s book called, “Rock Solid-The Courageous Journey of Rocky Bleier.” The story was written and illustrated by Pittsburgh artist, Larry Klu.
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Super Bowl IX was an American football game played between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Minnesota Vikings to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1974 season. The game was played on January 12, 1975, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Steelers defeated the Vikings by the score of 16–6 to win their first Super Bowl championship.
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Charles Henry Noll was an American professional football player and head coach. Regarded as one of the greatest head coaches of all time, his sole head coaching position was for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL) from 1969 to 1991. When Noll retired after 23 years, only three other head coaches in NFL history had longer tenures with one team.
Jerome Abram Bettis Sr. is an American former football running back who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 13 seasons, primarily with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Nicknamed "the Bus" due to his large size and running style, he played college football at the University of Notre Dame and was selected 10th overall by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1993 NFL Draft. Bettis was a member of the Rams for three seasons before being traded to the Steelers, where he spent the remainder of his career. A six-time Pro Bowl and two-time first-team All-Pro selection, he is regarded as one of the greatest power runners of all time and ranks eighth in NFL rushing yards. He retired in 2006 after helping the Steelers win a Super Bowl title in Super Bowl XL, the franchise's first in over two decades. Bettis was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015.
Charles Edward Greene, better known as "Mean" Joe Greene, is an American former professional football player who was a defensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL) from 1969 to 1981. A recipient of two NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards, five first-team All-Pro selections, and ten Pro Bowl appearances, Greene is widely considered to be one of the greatest defensive linemen to play in the NFL. He was noted for his leadership, fierce competitiveness, and intimidating style of play for which he earned his nickname.
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The 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the team's 44th in the National Football League. The team attempted to win their third consecutive Super Bowl championship, but ultimately lost to their bitter rivals, the Oakland Raiders, in the AFC Championship game. Despite failing to reach the Super Bowl, the 1976 Steelers are fondly remembered as one of the franchise's most dominant teams, thanks to a record-setting defense and running game. The Steelers' strong defense finished the season with just 9.9 points allowed per game, the fewest in the NFL, and a franchise record that still stands.
The 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the franchise's 46th season in the National Football League (NFL). The season concluded with the team winning Super Bowl XIII to become the first franchise in the NFL to win three Super Bowl titles. The championship run was led by quarterback Terry Bradshaw and the team's vaunted Steel Curtain defense. This team is regarded as one of the greatest defensive teams of all time and one of the greatest teams in NFL history. Bradshaw put together the best year of his career to that point, becoming only the second Steeler to win the NFL MVP award. Ten Steelers players were named to the Pro Bowl team, and four were judged as first-team All-Pros by the AP. Head coach Chuck Noll returned for his tenth season—moving him ahead of Walt Kiesling as the longest tenured head coach in the team's history to that point.