Pittsburgh Steelers Football
The Pittsburgh Steelers are an American football team in the NFL. Based in the AFC North, they are the oldest team in that conference.
The Steelers have played in 13 conference championships and six Super Bowls, and they are tied with the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers for the most Super Bowl wins (5). The Steelers play home games at Heinz Field, and a recent survey showed them to have the NFL’s largest female fan base. They have sold out every home game since 1972.
Pittsburgh Steelers Origins
The team known as the Steelers was originally named the Pittsburgh Pirates. They joined the NFL in 1933 and were owned by Art Rooney Sr. During the 30s, they never finished higher than second in their division.
In 1940, they were renamed the Steelers after a local fan suggested the name in a contest. World War II caused a shortage in players, and the Steelers had to merge with other teams on two occasions just to field a team.
Their merger with the Eagles in 1943 led to the team being referred to as the “Steagles.” In 1944, they merged with the Chicago Cardinals and finished the season 0-10.
The Steelers made the playoffs in 1947, but they would not appear in the postseason again for 25 years. Their best finish during this period was a record of 9-5 in 1962.
Steelers Dynasty Begins
The AFL and NFL merged in 1970, and the Steelers were one of three original NFL teams to be placed in the AFC (which was traditionally reserved for teams originating in the AFL). Chuck Noll was hired as the team’s head coach in 1969, and he immediately demonstrated a talent for drafting quality players, including “Mean” Joe Greene (1969), Terry Bradshaw and Mel Blount (1970), Jack Ham (1971) and Franco Harris (1972).
In 1974, the Steelers had what is considered the best draft in NFL history. Noll selected four Hall of Fame players in the draft, including Mike Webster, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth and Jack Lambert. Several of these players would form the nucleus of Pittsburgh’s dreaded “Steel Curtain” defense.
With such an array of talent, the Steelers had the makings of a dynasty. They made the playoffs in eight straight seasons and became the only team in NFL history to win four Super Bowls in six years (Super Bowl IX, Super Bowl X, Super Bowl XIII and Super Bowl XIV).
The Immaculate Reception
During this era, their rivalry with the Oakland Raiders was the most heated in professional football. In the 1972 playoffs, with only 22 seconds left in the game, Terry Bradshaw threw a pass to John “Frenchy” Fuqua in an effort to overcome a 7-6 deficit. Raiders DB Jack Tatum deflected the ball, but Franco Harris caught the ball before it could hit the ground. He scored, and the Steelers knocked the Raiders out of the playoffs, 13-7. This play would forever be known as the “Immaculate Reception.”
The Dynasty Crumbles
In the early 80s, injuries and retirements began to whittle away the Super Bowl roster of the Steelers. While they appeared in the 1984 AFC championship game, they failed to finish over 0.500 in 1985, 1986 and 1988. They were back in the postseason in 1989, but again missed out in 1990 and 1991.
The Man With the Mustache
In 1992, Chuck Knoll retired after coaching the Steelers for 23 years and compiling a record of 209-156-1. His successor was Chiefs’ defensive coordinator Bill Cowher.
Cowher, a native of the Pittsburgh area, led the Steelers to the playoffs in all of his first six seasons with the team. He was aided by players such as Barry Foster, Bam Morris, Kordell Stewart, Kevin Greene, Greg Lloyd, Yancey Thigpen and Jerome Bettis.
In his 15 years with the team, Cowher would reach the playoffs 10 times. While the team lost Super Bowl XXX to the Cowboys (despite their lethal “Blitzburgh“ defense), they would bounce back in 2006 and defeat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. Along the way, players such as Hines Ward, Plaxico Burress, Ben Roethlisberger, Joey Porter, James Farrior and Troy Polamalu would also be added.
Cowher resigned from the team in 2006 to spend more time with his family. He was replaced by Mike Tomlin. In 2007, the Pittsburgh Steelers football team finished 10-6. They were eliminated by the Jaguars in the wild card round of the playoffs.
NFL Pittsburgh Steelers Logo
Introduced in 1962, the Steelers logo is based on the “Steelmark” design originally done for U.S. Steel. The logo features the team’s name surrounded by three astroids. After a petition was issued in 1963, the team was given permission to add “ers” to the existing “Steel” on the logo.
They are the only team to put their logo on just one side of the helmet. The team switched from gold to black helmets to make the logo stand out better.
Steelers’ Hall of Famers
The following Steelers have been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio: Mel Blount Bert Bell, Terry Bradshaw, Bill Dudley, “Mean” Joe Greene, Jack Ham, Franco Harris, John Henry Johnson, Walt Kiesling, Jack Lambert, Bobby Layne, Johnny McNally, Chuck Noll, Art Rooney, Dan Rooney, John Stallworth, Ernie Stautner, Lynn Swann and Mike Webster.
Current Fan Favorites
These are some of the most popular stars currently playing for the Steelers:
- Ben Roethlisberger (QB)
- Willie Parker (RB)
- Santonio Holmes (WR)
- Hines Ward (WR)
- Heath Miller (TE)
- James Farrior (LB)
- Troy Polamalu (SS)
- Rashard Mendenhall (RB)
- Limas Sweed (WR)