Tag Archives: Steeler Nation

The Pittsburgh Steelers Mt. Rushmore

The Steelers are the standard. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

The Pittsburgh Steelers, the seventh oldest NFL franchise, begins the 2016 season as won of the favorites to win Super Bowl 51 and capture their record 7th Lombardi Trophy.

In all, they already have a record 8 AFC Championships, 21 division titles (AFC Central & AFC North), 23 Pro Football Hall of Famers, A NFL record 34 playoff victories,

595 games won (629 combined regular & postseason) over the course of 82 years for third most in League history.

And if they made a Mount Rushmore to honor the men who helped build such an impressive trophy case, these would be the four guys who’d arguably be on it and are the most influential in the story of the most successful franchise in NFL history.

With a franchise that has so many legends, this was a difficult exercise, but here goes.

CRITERIA:

  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives.  Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday.  I will make a separate list for them soon.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them?

Chuck Noll (1969-1991) leads this list because he changed the culture in the Steel City that led to what Steeler Nation is today.

Coach Noll was the first coach to win 4 Super Bowls, and would easily be on the Mt. Rushmore for coaches. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

He was the head coach of the 70s dynasty, and the first coach to win four Super Bowls. In the 36 years before Coach Noll took over, the Pittsburgh franchise played in only one playoff game, and lost 21-0. He finished his twenty-three year career with a record of 209-156-1 (193 in the regular season) in regular season and playoffs combined.

Many younger Steelers fans may not know that Coach Noll won three NFL Championships, two as a player with his hometown Cleveland Browns and one with the Baltimore Colts as defensive coordinator. Coach Knoll was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993, in his first year of eligibility.

Joe Greene (1969-1981) was the face of those 70s Steelers. “Mean Joe” was Chuck Noll’s first draft pick and became the leader of their dynasty and the “Steel Curtain” defense. NFL.com ranked the 4-time Super Bowl Champion as the 13th best NFL player of All-Time. He’s a 10-time Pro Bowler, 5-time 1st-team All-Pro, three-time 2nd team All-Pro, and a member of the Steelers All-Time and 50th Anniversary teams, the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time team, and NFL 1970s All decade team.

“Mean Joe” Greene is the only player in Steelers history to have his jersey retired.

Green was the 1969 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and a two-time Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He is the only player to have his number (#75) officially retired by the organization. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.

Jack Lambert (1974-1984) and his toothless snarl, to go along with his “Lambert Lunatics” are as symbolic of the Steelers dynasty of the 70’s as is their four Lombardi Trophies.

Lambert’s grill may make you laugh, but opponents weren’t laughing when he was blowing them up on the field.

In his career, he intercepted 28 passes, made 1,479 tackles (1,045 solo) and 23.5 sacks. He was a Pro Bowl selection for the first nine years of his career (1974-1983), a 7-time All-Pro (1975, 1976, 1979-1983), the 1976 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and 2-time Steelers team MVP.

Very impressive when you think of the number of Hall of Famers he played with. Lambert is a member of the Steelers All-Time and 50th Anniversary Teams. He was also selected to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary, 1970s and 1980s All-Decade teams. He was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990, and his number 58 jersey is one of a few that has been unofficially retired.

Hines Ward (1999-2011) was to the younger generation of Steeler fans what “Mean Joe”, Coach Noll and Lambert were to their father’s and grandfather’s.

Ward played the wide receiver spot like a classic Steeler defender, mean and nasty.

He set the tone for what this generation of Steelers fans expect from a Steeler.

This may be my most controversial name on this list, but the 4-time Pro Bowler (2001-2004) and 3-time All-Pro (2002-2004) is the face of the Steelers teams that won a fifth and a NFL record sixth Super Bowl (XL, XLIII) for the franchise. The Super Bowl XL MVP is the Steelers all-time leader in receptions (1,000), receiving yards (12,083) and receiving touchdowns (85). Ward is a member of the Steelers All-Time Team and the Pittsburgh Pro Football Hall of Fame. The team has taken his jersey number 86 out of rotations, and he ranks 12th in NFL history in receptions.

Let me hear you Steeler Nation. Agree or disagree? Who would be your top four Steelers?

Steelers Win, and Lose, Again

When the chapter is written on the 2015 Steelers, the overwhelming theme will be injuries. Injuries to their best players. All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey hasn’t played one snap in the regular season. Pro-Bowl quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed 4 games with a left knee bone bruise and sprained MCL, and, may be out for a significant amount of time once again after suffering a foot injury against the Oakland Raiders. In Roethlisberger’s first game back against the Cincinnati Bengals, All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell went down for the season with what’s being called a severely torn MCL. All signs point to this year just not being meant to be.

With that being said, they still hold their playoff destiny in their hands after beating the Oakland 38-35 on Sunday. Here are my takeaways from the 5th win of the 2015 season.

• The offense with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the lineup looks like it can only be stopped by themselves. After the first drive that was littered with dropped passes—there were 3 total—the offense once again showed the promise it made in the preseason to put up 30 points a game.

In an all, Pittsburgh put up 597 total yards, 402 by air and 195 by ground and 38 points. Roethlisberger had 334 of those yards and 2 touchdowns before leaving with injury. He moved the ball efficiently down the field, Oakland had no answer. Only drops stalled the drives. One can only hope they can amass half of that production without #7 at QB.

#7 became now has the 14th most passing yards in NFL history after throwing for 334 on Sunday. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

Side note: Roethlisberger passed Hall Of Famers Johnny Unitas and Joe Montana into 14th on the All-Time Passing yardage list, and collected his 40th 300-yard passing game.

• Antonio Brown looks like the best wide receiver in the NFL again. AB caught a Steeler record 17 passes for 284 yards on the day, 10 of them for 180 yards in the first half alone; a new career high for any half he’s played. He also rushed the ball twice for 22 yards, for two first downs.

AB had a career day with 17 catches for 284 yards. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

Brown suffered the most when Roethlisberger went down for 4 games, hopefully offensive coordinator Todd Haley makes a concerted effort to keep Brown highly involved if Big Ben misses significant time with this latest injury.

• The bend but don’t break Steelers D of the last few weeks looked broken from the Raiders first offensive drive of the game, giving up a 3 play, 66 yard drive that ended with a Michael Crabtree 22 yard touchdown reception. While the next 3 Raider drives produced only 66 yards combined, second year QB Derek Carr took advantage of a secondary that had steadily improved since the opening night confusion against the New England Patriots. Carr went 24/44 for 301 yards and 4 touchdowns, his third consecutive game throwing for more than 3+ TDs. 

Oakland came into the averaging 25.4 points per game, 365.3 total yards per game. They exceeded both against the Steelers. Pittsburgh also allowed the Raiders to convert 6/14 (42%) on 3rd down and gave up 24 first down, 17 via the pass. 

• Running back DeAngleo Williams was the pick up of Pittsburgh’s offseason, and will likely need him to be its MVP if they’re to make a playoff run. Steeler Nation knows all too well how bad the offense looked in the 2015 AFC Wild Card loss to Baltimore with Le’Veon Bell sidelined with injury.

Williams racked up 170 rushing yards and 55 receiving yards in Bell’s absence. Photo Credit: Steelers.com

Against Oakland, Williams put up numbers reminiscent of his days as a starter for the Carolina Panthers; 27 carries for 170 yards with 2 touchdowns. He also caught 2 passes for 55 yards and a 2-point conversion. With Williams as Bell’s replacement in 3 games so far this season, he has 374 rushing yards (124.6 ypg) 5 rushing TDs and 75 receiving yards.

• This wasn’t the ugly, physical Steelers versus Raiders of the past. To begin, surprisingly only 1 penalty was called in the first half, coming with 55 seconds left in the half on a pass interference call against Oakland. For the game there were only 8 penalties accepted; 3 against Oakland for 21 yards and 5 against Pittsburgh for 41 yards.

Things did get sloppy in the second half in the turnover department, but that worked out in the Black & Yellow’s favor. The Raiders turned the ball over 4 times to the Steelers 2.

• The Steelers are still in control of their playoff hopes. By beating the Raiders, they would have the tie breaker over them if they finished the season with the same record. The New York Jets and Buffalo Bills are currently the Steelers biggest threats for the two AFC Wild Card spots; both won on sunday. The Jets (5-3) and Bills (4-4) face off on Thursday night. The Steelers host the 2-7 Cleveland Browns in Heinz Field next Sunday at 1 PM.