Pittsburgh Steelers

Joy Fera / Shutterstock.com

The Pittsburgh Steelers play in the National Football League (NFL) American Football Conference (AFC) North division. Founded in 1933, they are the oldest team in the AFC. Before the American Football League’s merger with the National Football League, the team made the playoffs just once in their first 37 years. However, post-merger, they became one of the most successful NFL teams of all-time, winning six Super Bowl titles, more than any other team.

The Steelers play at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh and thanks to their continued success are one of the most popular franchises in the NFL.

Fast Facts

  • Full Name: Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Conference: American Football Conference
  • Division: North
  • Location: Pittsburgh
  • Stadium Name: Heinz Field
  • Year Established: 1933
  • Owner: Rooney Family
  • Head Coach: Mike Tomlin
  • Manager: Kevin Colbert
  • Nickname: None
  • Mascot: None
  • Team Colours: Black, gold

History

Inside Heinz Stadium

Inside Heinz Stadium (Daniel M. Silva / Shutterstock.com)

The Pittsburgh Steelers were originally known as the Pittsburgh Pirates and were founded in 1933 by Art Rooney, who legend has it, used the winnings from a bet to establish the team. In 1940, it was decided to change the name from the Pirates in a tribute to the local Pittsburgh steel industry but the early years for Pittsburgh were not successful and they qualified for the playoffs just once in their first 37 years.

It wasn’t until 1969 and the arrival of head coach, Chuck Noll, that saw the Steelers fortunes turn round. Between 1969 and 1972, he drafted in a staggering five future Hall of Famers, Joe Greene, Terry Bradshaw, Jack Ham, Franco Harris, and Mel Blount. They helped form one of the best teams in the NFL along with four more future Hall of Famers brought in during 1974, John Stallworth, Jack Lambert, Mike Webster and Lynn Swann. The Steelers went on to win four Super Bowls in 1975, 1976, 1979, and 1980 and they were well known for both their stern defence and their fervent fans who would wave bright yellow ‘Terrible Towels’ at games. Sadly, the fantastic form of the Steelers didn’t quite last into the eighties and they made the playoffs just four times during the decade, Noll retiring in 1991.

Bill Cowher was brought in as head coach and, like Noll, brought success to the Steelers, making the playoffs in 10 out of his 15 seasons with the franchise. With Dick LeBeau as his defensive coach, the Steelers had a dominant defence that helped them advance to the Super Bowl in 1996, however, they were sadly beaten by the Dallas Cowboys.

2006 saw the Steelers win another Super Bowl title against the Seattle Seahawks. In 2009, now under head coach, Mike Tomlin, the Steelers won a sixth Super Bowl title by beating the Arizona Cardinals in a dramatic game. 2011 saw them visit the Super Bowl again but, unfortunately, they were unable to beat the Green Bay Packers. The Steelers remain a strong force in the NFL and made the playoffs in both 2014 and 2015.

Super Bowl Appearances

2010 Super Bowl XLV Pittsburgh Steelers 25 - Green Bay Packers 31

Played between two Super Bowl teams that have an abundance of titles between them, Super Bowl XLV saw the Steelers take on the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay dominated the first half of the fame but the Steelers fought back well in the third quarter but the final quarter saw them narrowly outpointed resulting in a win for the Packers.

2008 Super Bowl XLIII Pittsburgh Steelers 27 - Arizona Cardinals 23

Super Bowl XLIII was played at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Watched by 70,000 spectators and a global audience of over 150 million, fans were treated to an exciting but close game that eventually saw the Steelers run out as 27-23 winners against the Arizona Cardinals. The Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes was named as the Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player.

2005 Super Bowl XL Seattle Seahawks 10 - Pittsburgh Steelers 21

Played at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, Super Bowl XL saw the Steelers take on the Seattle Seahawks in a game that saw several controversial calls by officials. The Seahawks went 3-0 up in the first quarter but then the Steelers scored 7 points in each of the three remaining quarters resulting in a 21-10 victory.

1995 Super Bowl XXX Dallas Cowboys 27 - Pittsburgh Steelers 17

Played at the Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, Super Bowl XXX saw both the Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys enter the game seeking to tie with the San Francisco 49ers for the record for the most Super Bowl wins by a franchise. The Steelers never really found themselves in the game and they were easily beaten by the Cowboys 27-17.

1979 Super Bowl XIV Los Angeles Rams 19 - Pittsburgh Steelers 31

Super Bowl XIV was played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California and pitched the Steelers up against the Los Angeles Rams. 10-point favourites before the game, the Steelers beat the Rams by 31-19 in front of 103,085 fans. The Steelers' Terry Bradshaw was named as the Most Valuable Player.

1978 Super Bowl XIII Pittsburgh Steelers 35 - Dallas Cowboys 31

The Miami Orange Bowl was the venue for Super Bowl XIII in which the Pittsburgh Steelers took on the Dallas Cowboys – both of whom were vying for the honour of being the first team ever to win three Super Bowls. Led by the inspirational Terry Bradshaw, the Steelers defeated the Cowboys in a close game by 35-31.

1975 Super Bowl X Dallas Cowboys 17 - Pittsburgh Steelers 21

Miami Orange Bowl was the host of Super Bowl X which saw the Steelers take on the Dallas Cowboys in front of 80,000 fans. The two most popular teams in the NFL, nearly 60 million TV viewers watched the game and saw a game that contrasted the attacking nature of the cowboys with the defensive expertise of the Steelers. Close until the final quarter, the Steelers scored 14 points to win 21-7.

1974 Super Bowl IX Pittsburgh Steelers 16 - Minnesota Vikings 6

Matching the two best defenses in the league, the first half the game reflected this and saw just two points scored by the Steelers. They went on to score seven points in both the third and fourth quarters with the Minnesota Vikings only managing to reply with six points, resulting in a 16-6 victory for the Steelers.

Stadium

Heinz Stadium

Heinz Stadium (Robert Pernell / Shutterstock.com)

The Pittsburgh Steelers play their home games at Heinz Field in North Shore, Pittsburgh. It was built as a replacement for the team’s previous stadium and was opened in 2001. The naming rights to the stadium were purchased by the Heinz company for an undisclosed fee.

The stadium was designed to reflect the Pittsburgh area’s association with steel and there are 12,000 tons of steel incorporated into the design. A natural grass surface was decided on and, despite complaints over the years by several teams and players, the Steelers ownership has kept with it rather than go for an artificial alternative.

The capacity of the stadium is 68,400 and it has never failed to sell-out for a Steelers game, mainly thanks to the on-field success of the Steelers but also due to the excellent transport links. As well as being the home of the Steelers, the stadium is also the home ground for the NCAA’s Pittsburgh Pirates and has also seen soccer played there, in 2014 hosting a game between Manchester City and A.C. Milan.

Famous Players

Terry Bradshaw (1970-1983)

Terry Bradshaw led the Steelers to four Super Bowls and, for this alone, must go down as the greatest ever Steelers player. In his early career he was often criticized for his poor throwing and bad decision-making, but he matured into an outstanding quarterback and one that will be remembered as one of the best the NFL has seen.

Rod Woodson (1987-1996)

The greatest-ever defensive back to play for the Steelers. In his ten years with the Steelers, he made the Pro Bowl seven times. Although he never won a Super Bowl with the Steelers, he did manage one with the Baltimore Ravens who he joined in the twilight of his career.

Franco Harris (1972-1983)

One of the most popular players ever to play for the Steelers, Franco even had his own cheering section called Franco’s Italian Army. Quick, clever, and devastatingly effective, he quite rightly is remembered as one of the best players ever to play for the Steelers.

Did You Know?

  • The Steelers are the most successful franchise in NFL history with six Super Bowl victories.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of only six teams in the NFL that do not field a cheerleading squad.
  • The Steelers are the only team in the NFL that features the team’s logo only on one side of the helmet.
  • Modern Family and Married With Children’s Ed O’Neill was signed by the Steelers in 1969 but never made the final roster.