How to eat like a 1970s champion.
The earliest reference that specifies Knorr vegetable soup mix that I’ve found is in the January 18, 1979 edition of the Santa Fe New Mexican in a story titled, “Steelers wives: starches important in husbands’ diets.”
The Websters try to eat more vegetables. So, when they watch football games on television, she often prepares a spinach dip for dipping celery, carrots and cauliflower. Following is her recipe.
Webster Spinach Dip
Pkg. frozen spinach
Thaw spinach, drain and chop. Fry in skillet. Add sour cream, scallions, water chestnuts, dry vegetable soup mix. Mix together and serve.
“The Websters” are Pamela Webster and her husband at the time, NFL legend “Iron” Mike Webster, who played 15 seasons with the Steelers, including 4 Superbowls.
Mike Webster’s jersey (right) by JohnSeb, on Flickr
After football, Webster suffered from dementia and amnesia. The NFL retirement board determined that his disabilities began while he was an active player. He started living out of his truck and forged a prescription to obtain Ritalin. In 2002, he died of a heart attack at the age of 50.
After his death, it was determined that he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disorder found in many professional athletes who play sports involving repeated blows to the head. Iron Mike has become a symbol of the dangers presented in highly physical football.
But his end wasn’t his legacy. He’s remembered for his consistency, his even temper, his leadership and his work ethic. He intimidated his opponents by playing with bare arms to highlight his muscles, and intimidated his teammates by setting a bar that Steelers aspire to reach even today. One memory, from the September 25, 2002 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Webster always had their backs, whether it was the future Hall of Fame quarterback or the new field manager. Rodgers Freyvogel was hired in the summer of 1980 to replace Jack Hart, who quit after a dispute with some players. That’s when Freyvogel met Iron Mike.
“He said, come here, I want to tell you something,” said Freyvogel, now the equipment manager. “If any of these ballplayers screw with you, you come to me because they’re not going to do to you what they did to the last guy. He got up in front of all the players and said that new guy, don’t screw with him like you did the other guy. He told everybody, and there’s not one guy who did.”
From a box sold in Martinez, California.
Knorr Spinach Dip
Thaw and squeeze 10 oz. pkg. spinach until dry (chopped)
1-1/2 c. sour cream
1 c. mayonnaise
1 pkg. soup mix (vegetable soup)
8 oz. can water chestnuts, chopped
3 chopped green onions
Blend well. Cover; refrigerate 2 hours. Stir before serving.