Pittsburgh Steelers

Wed, 17 Sep 2008 21:19

The history of the Pittsburgh Steelers

About the NFL team Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburg Steelers football team is probably the oldest franchise in the American Football Conference (AFC). They belong to the north division of the AFC of the National Football League (NFL). On July 8, 1993 Art Rooney founded the Pittsburg Pirates; later, the team was named Pittsburg Steelers. Since its founding, the Rooney family owned the franchise. Today, it is owned by Dan Rooney, son of Art. But Dan already gave much control of the franchise to his son Art Rooney II. The Heinz Field at the Northside, Pittsburg is the home of Steelers since it was built in 2001. Before, the team was hosted by the Three Rivers Stadium, staying there for the past 31 seasons before the Heinz Field was completed.

Black and gold are the official colors of the Steelers since the team was founded. It was only during the brief merger with the Eagles that the team’s color became green and white. All other sports teams representing Pittsburg used the same black and gold colors as the city’s official flag, such as in baseball (Pittsburg Pirates) and hockey (Pittsburg Penguins).  The steel mark originally designed by Pittsburg U.S. Steel was used as the Steelers logo in 1962. The logo is composed of 3 astroids surrounding the word “Steelers.”  The asteroids were symbolic of the motto “Steel lightens your work, brightens your leisure, and widens your world.” The colors are also representative of the ingredients of steel-making: yellow (coal), orange (iron ore), and blue (scrap steel).

This team has the most number of championships in the history of American football. Pittsburg Steelers took action in six Super Bowls; the Steelers are also one among the three teams that won fives times in this professional American football event. The grand old Steelers made it to 13 conference championships. They have hosted many conference championships, more than any other NFL teams. The Steelers were the first NFL franchise to get 4 Super Bowl titles in 6 seasons from 1974 to 1979, a record that is yet to be broken. In 2005, the Steelers advanced to the conference championship, the only 6th seeded team in the NFL to do so. They won that conference championship. Their latest exploit is the Super Bowl victory in February 5, 2006. So far, 17 players and coaches of the Steelers have been inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

On September 20, 1933, the Pittsburg Steelers first saw action in the NFL field as the Pittsburg Pirates, losing to the New York Giants. It was only in 1938 that the team made history, when Byron White signed in. White, who later became a justice of the United Stated Supreme Court, has been recorded as the player who made the biggest contract in the history of the NFL. However, White only played for a year for the Pittsburg Pirates, and then he signed in to the Detroit Lions.

During the Second World War, the franchise experience severe shortage of players, that is why they merged with other NFL teams to be able to field a team. In 1943, it merged with the Philadelphia Eagles to form what was known as the “Steagles,” and this team gained a card of 5-4-1. The following year, they merged with the Chicago Cardinals and were known then as the “Card-Pitt,” the only team that won nothing in the history of its existence.

In 1947, the Steelers made it to the playoffs, but they lost after a tie-breaking match with the Philadelphia Eagles, 21-0, in that unforgettable moment at the Forbes Field. That is the only playoff game for the Pittsburg Steelers in 25 years thereafter, except that 1963 game that they landed second in their conference, but that event was not considered a playoff.

The Steelers were also remembered for their “Batman” inspired uniforms, an experiment that made the team infamous today. These outfits were inspired by the popular TV series starred by Adam West. Their black or white jersey had a no stripes and holds one a gold diamond triangle covering the shoulders.

In 1970, the American Football League and the National Football League merged, and together with Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Colts, the Pittsburg Steelers were called one of the three “old guards” of the NFL. The presence of the three teams balanced the number of teams in the two conferences after the AFL-NFL union.

The spell that binded 25 years of unlucky existence was broken by the coming in of Chuck Noll as the coach for the 1969 season. Noll’s genius in selection of drafts, like “Mean” Joe Green (1969), Teddy Bradshaw and Mel Blount (1970), Jack Ham (1971), Franco Harris (1972) – all of whom made it to the Hall of Fame of American Football. The feat in 1974, where four Hall of Famers were selected in just a single year of drafting - Mike Webster, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, and Jack Lambert – the best draft ever in Pittsburg Steeler’s life is a signature of Chuck Noll’s outstanding accomplishment. This achievement went down in the history of the NFL. This generation of players formidably catapulted the team into a dynasty in the championship history of the NFL. Pittsburg Steelers made it to the playoffs in 8 seasons, and the recorded a mark as the only team to win 4 Super Bowls in 6 years.

The 1980s signaled the return of bad luck to the Steelers, with them missing the playoffs with a 9-7 record because of injuries suffered by its best players. In 1981, the situation has not improved with an 8-8 card. The legendary player of 1974 “Mean” Joe Green went on retirement during this period, and, in 1982, Lyn Swann and Jack Ham did the same. Ted Bradshaw and Mel Blount also retired after the divisional championship of 1983, and Jack Lambert also decided to follow suit following his appearance at the AFC Championship of 1984.

The massive retirements pulled down the Steelers to losing seasons beginning 1971. The succeeding years were reminiscent of the 25 years of bad luck of 1947 onwards. In 1987, they made an 8-7 record but did not make it to the playoffs. In 1989, Merill Hoge and Tod Woodson rallied the team to the second round of playoffs, but they missed the playoffs in the next seasons.

Chuck Noll ended his career with the Steelers in 1992. Bill Cowher, a defensive coordinator who worked with Kansas City Chiefs replaced Noll. Cowher hails from Crafton, a suburb of Pittsburg. Cowher made a promising start, leading the team to the playoffs in the next 6 seasons since he took over, a mark he shares with Paul Brown, legendary coach of the Cleveland Browns. He introduced the “Blitzburgh” defense which saw action in Super Bowl XXX by the end of the 1995 season. His overall performance is capped leading the team in the playoffs in 10 out of 15 seasons. After 10 years, Cowher mobilized the Steelers in winning Super Bowl XL of Seattle Seahawks, champion of the National Football Conference. Cowher ended his career with the Steelers last January 5, 2007, owing to his need to have more time with his family.

Today, the Pittsburg Steelers adopted a mascot known as Steely McBeam. This mascot saw action signing autographs at their training camp on August 2, 1007. It was part of the celebration of their 75th year as a franchise. “Mc” is significant because of the Rooney’s Irish beginnings. Steely McBeam since then became a very visible figure at home and every social event that the Pittsburg Steelers participate.