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The Pittsburgh Steelers are a professional American football team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They are members of the Northern Division of the American Football Conference (AFC), in the National Football League (NFL). The Steelers are the oldest and most championed franchise in the AFC. The team has appeared in eight Super Bowls and is, along with the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, one of three teams to have won the Super Bowl at least five times and the only team to have won six. They have appeared in fourteen Conference Championship Games, and have hosted more conference championship games than any other NFL franchise. They are the only team in NFL playoff history to win a Super Bowl after being seeded sixth in the playoffs, winning three consecutive games on the road followed by a Super Bowl victory in Detroit on February 5, 2006 against the Seattle Seahawks.
Originally named the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team, along with the Philadelphia Eagles and the now-defunct Cincinnati Reds football team, joined the NFL as 1933 expansion teams, after Art Rooney, Sr. paid a $2,500 fee. However the Steelers are the heirs to the first ever pro-football team, Pittsburgh being the city to host the world's first pro game in the 1890's, a franchise that would still be in existence today if not for the strict state blue-laws preventing any activity during the sabbath (NFL Sundays) up until 1933. The team was renamed the Steelers in 1940 after the city's prominent steel industry to reflect the "blue-collar worker" ethic of the many Pittsburgh fans as well as to avoid confusion with the major league baseball team with the same name.
Franchise history[edit | edit source]
The Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL first took to the field as the Pittsburgh Pirates on September 20, 1933, losing 23–2 to the New York Giants. Through the 1930s, the Pirates never finished higher than second place in their division, or with a record better than .500 (1936). Pittsburgh did make history in 1938 by signing Byron White, a future Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, to what was at the time the biggest contract in NFL history, but he played only one year with the Pirates before signing with the Detroit Lions. Prior to the 1940 season, the Pirates renamed themselves the Steelers.
The Phil-Pitt "Steagles" (1943-44)[edit | edit source]
During World War II, the Steelers experienced player shortages. They twice merged with other NFL franchises to field a team. During the 1943 season, they merged with the Philadelphia Eagles forming the "Phil-Pitt Eagles" and were known as the "Steagles". This team went 5–4–1. In 1944, they merged with the Chicago Cardinals and were known as Card-Pitt (or, mockingly, as the "Carpets"). This team finished 0–10, marking the only winless team in franchise history.
Post World War II years[edit | edit source]
The Steelers made the playoffs for the first time in 1947, tying for first place in the division at 8–4 with the Philadelphia Eagles. This forced a tie-breaking playoff game at Forbes Field, which the Steelers lost 21–0. That would be Pittsburgh's only playoff game for the next 25 years; they did qualify for a "Playoff Bowl" in 1962 as the second-best team in their conference, but this was not considered an official playoff.
In 1970, the year they moved into Three Rivers Stadium and the year of the AFL-NFL merger, the Pittsburgh Steelers were one of three old-guard NFL teams to switch to the newly-formed American Football Conference (the others being the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Colts), in order to equalize the number of teams in the two conferences of the newly-merged league. The Steelers also received a $3 million relocation fee, which was a windfall for them; for years they rarely had enough to build a true contending team.
Logo/Jersey Image Gallery[edit | edit source]
The Chuck Noll era (1969-1991)[edit | edit source]
- For more details on this topic, see Chuck Noll.
The Steelers' history of bad luck changed with the hiring of coach Chuck Noll for the 1969 season. Noll's most remarkable talent was in his draft selections, taking Hall of Famers "Mean" Joe Greene in 1969, Terry Bradshaw and Mel Blount in 1970, Jack Ham in 1971, Franco Harris in 1972, and finally, in 1974, pulling off the incredible feat of selecting four Hall of Famers in one draft year, Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth, and Mike Webster. The Pittsburgh Steelers' 1974 draft was their best ever, and no other team has ever drafted four future Hall of Famers in one year, and only very few (including the 1970 Steelers) have drafted two or more in one year.
The players drafted in the early '70s formed the base of an NFL dynasty, making the playoffs in eight seasons and becoming the only team in NFL history to win four Super Bowls in six years, as well as the first to win more than two. They also enjoyed a regular season streak of 49 consecutive wins (1971–1979) against teams that would finish with a losing record that year.
The Steelers suffered a rash of injuries in the 1980 season and missed the playoffs with a 9–7 record. The 1981 season was no better, with an 8–8 showing. The team was then hit with the retirements of all their key players from the Super Bowl years. "Mean" Joe Greene retired after the 1981 season, Lynn Swann and Jack Ham after 1982's playoff berth, Terry Bradshaw and Mel Blount after 1983's divisional championship, and Jack Lambert after 1984's AFC Championship Game appearance.
After those retirements, the franchise skidded to its first losing seasons since 1971. Though still competitive, the Steelers would not finish above .500 in 1985, 1986, and 1988. In 1987, the year of the players' strike, the Steelers finished with a record of 8–7, but missed the playoffs. In 1989, they would reach the second round of the playoffs on the strength of Merrill Hoge and Rod Woodson before narrowly missing the playoffs in each of the next two seasons.
The Bill Cowher era (1992-2006)[edit | edit source]
- For more details on this topic, see Bill Cowher.
Cowher led the Steelers to the playoffs in each of his first six seasons, a feat that had been accomplished only by legendary coach Paul Brown of the Cleveland Browns. In those first six seasons Cowher coached them as deep as the AFC Championship Game three times and following the 1995 season an appearance in Super Bowl XXX on the strength of the "Blitzburgh" defense. However, the Steelers lost to the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XXX, two weeks after a thrilling AFC Championship victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Cowher produced the franchise's record-tying fifth Super Bowl win in Super Bowl XL over the National Football Conference champion Seattle Seahawks ten years later. With that victory, the Steelers became the third team to win five Super Bowls, and the first sixth-seeded playoff team to reach and win the Super Bowl since the NFL expanded to a 12-team post-season tournament in 1990. He coached through the 2006 season which ended with a 8–8 record, just short of the playoffs. Overall Cowher's teams reached the playoffs 10 of 15 seasons with six AFC Championship Games, two Super Bowl berths and a championship.
The Mike Tomlin era[edit | edit source]
- For more details on this topic, see Mike Tomlin.
On January 7, 2007, Cowher resigned from coaching the Steelers, citing a need to spend more time with his family. He did not use the term "retire," leaving open a possible return to the NFL as coach of another team. A three-man committee consisting of Art Rooney II, Dan Rooney, and Kevin Colbert was set up to conduct interviews for the head coaching vacancy. The candidates interviewed included: offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, offensive line coach Russ Grimm, former offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin, and Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. On January 22, 2007, Mike Tomlin was announced as Cowher's successor as head coach. Tomlin is the first African-American to be named head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers in its 75-year history. Tomlin became the third consecutive Steelers Head Coach to go to the Super Bowl, equaling the Dallas Cowboys (Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer) in this achievement. He was named the Motorola 2008 Coach of the Year. On February 1, 2009, Tomlin led the Steelers to their second Super Bowl of this decade, and went on to win 27–23 against the Arizona Cardinals. At age 36, he was the youngest head coach to ever win the Super Bowl, and he is only the second African-American coach to ever win the Super Bowl (Tony Dungy was the first). The 2010 season made Tomlin the only coach to reach the Super Bowl twice before the age of 40. Tomlin led the team to his second Super Bowl (Super Bowl XLV) on Feb. 6, 2011. However, the Steelers were defeated in their eighth Super Bowl appearance by the Green Bay Packers by the score of 31–25.
Since the NFL merger in 1970, the Pittsburgh Steelers have compiled a regular season record of 363–235–2 (.607) and an overall record of 394–253–2 (.609) including the playoffs, reached the playoffs 25 times, won their division 20 times, played in 15 AFC championship games, and won six of eight Super Bowls. They are also the only NFL team not to have a season with twelve or more losses since the league expanded to a 16-game schedule in 1978.
Ownership[edit | edit source]
Since 2008, the Rooney family has brought in several investors for the team while retaining control of the team itself. This came about so that the team could comply with NFL ownership regulations. Current Steelers Chairman, Dan Rooney, and his son, Art Rooney II, president of the franchise, wanted to stay involved with the franchise, while two of the brothers – Timothy and Patrick – wanted to further pursue racetracks that they own in Florida and New York. Since 2006, many of the racetracks have added video slot machines, causing them to violate "NFL policy that prohibits involvement with racetrack and gambling interests".
While Dan Rooney and Art Rooney II retain control of the team with the league-minimum 30%, the following make up the other investors:
- Several other members of the Rooney family, including Art Rooney Jr., John Rooney, and the McGinley family, who are cousins to the Rooneys.
- Pilot Corporation and Pilot Flying J president Jim Haslam III, son of founder Jim Haslam Jr. and brother of Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.
- Legendary Pictures president and CEO Thomas Tull.
- The Paul family of Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, who are primarily involved with Pittsburgh-based Ampco Pittsburgh Corporation as well as Morton's Restaurant Group, Urban Active Fitness, Meyer Products and Harley Marine Services. Additionally, family members serve on numerous boards, including Cornell University, UPMC, University of Pittsburgh, the American Red Cross, Harvard Medical School and the Loomis Chaffee School.
- Former Steelers wide receiver John Stallworth, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
- GTCR chairman Bruce V. Rauner.
- The Varischetti family of Brockway, Pennsylvania, which owns several nursing homes and a commercial real estate business.
- Paul Evanson, chairman, president, and CEO of Allegheny Energy.
With the transaction, Jim Haslam and the Paul family each own over 10% of the team making them the largest new investors.
Current staff/Coaches[edit | edit source]
Pittsburgh Steelers current staff
Current roster[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Team – Pro Football Hall of Fame
- PDF File: NFL Past Standings
- Official site of the Pittsburgh Steelers – Team History
- :The U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals:
- World War II Steagles to be honored at tonight's game – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
- Pittsburgh Steelers Team Encyclopedia – Pro-Football-Reference.com
- The Playoff Bowl (Bert Bell Benefit Bowl)
- Sherrington, Kevin (February 1, 2011). Dallas meeting in '66 saved Steelers from stinking. Dallas Morning News. Retrieved on February 6, 2011.
- Pittsburgh Steelers Draft History, Stats and more on databaseFootball.com
- History: 1974 Draft – Pro Football Hall of Fame
- Official site of the Pittsburgh Steelers – Article
- "Steelers Ownership Transition", PittsburghSteelers.com, July 7, 2008. Retrieved on July 13, 2008.
- "Rooneys look to restructure Steelers ownership", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 7, 2008. Retrieved on July 13, 2008.
- Dulac, Gerry. "Steelers ownership in turmoil", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 8, 2008. Retrieved on July 13, 2008.
- ESPN – NFL approves Rooney's ownership plan
[edit | edit source]
- Official Website
- Pittsburgh Steelers player historicl statistics at Pro-football-reference
- Wikia has a wiki on this subject at the Pittsburgh Steelers Wiki.
- Black And Yellow by Wiz Khalifa on LyricWiki - a popular anthem for Pittsburgh fans during the 2011-2012 season. The song has been as high as #1 on the iTunes Top 100.