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Steelers 2014-2015 Outlook
On offense, there are doubts that the Pittsburgh Steelers can build any serious momentum. Although depending on young players like Le’Veon Bell and Markus Wheaton is a risk, the franchise has faith in the current roster to get the job done.
Add in the selection of linebacker Ryan Shazier in the first round of the draft, and Pittsburgh has the defensive weapons needed to emerge as a threat in the wide-open AFC North.
All Pittsburgh Steelers football games can be seen on one of the following television broadcasts depending on the team they are playing: Fox Sports or CBS for Sunday afternoon games; NBC for Sunday Night games; ESPN for Monday Night Football games and the NFL Network for Thursday night games. Tune into the Pittsburgh Steelers’ flagship station WDVE 102.5 on your FM dial and its sister station WBGG 970 on your AM dial to catch each Pittsburgh Steelers football game on the radio.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have played in 4 different stadiums during their existence. The Pittsburgh Steelers played in Forbes Field from 1933-1963 and in Pitt Stadium from 1964-1969. For 30 years from 1970 through 2000, the Pittsburgh Steelers played all of their home games in the legendary Three Rivers Stadium. Three Rivers Stadium was built as a multi-purpose stadium for the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers and for MLB baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates. Three Rivers Stadium also served as the home for the USFL’s Pittsburgh Maulers and hosted numerous concert events. Because Three Rivers Stadium lacked any luxury suites and club seating, the city deemed Three Rivers Stadium outdated at the end of the 1990’s. At that time, plans to build Heinz Field for the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers and PNC Park for MLB baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates gained momentum and Three Rivers Stadium was demolished in February 2001.
Currently, the Pittsburgh Steelers play in Heinz Field, which was constructed for play at the start of the 2001 NFL regular season. Heinz Field has a seating capacity of 65,050 and sits on 12.4 acres of valuable property in the North Shore neighborhood – with just the Alleghney River separating the stadium from downtown Pittsburgh. Heinz Field is a state of the art facility with 7,000 club seats and 130 luxury suites. H. J. Heinz Company paid $57 million for the naming rights to the stadium. While Heinz Field is primarily a football stadium, it has been used for international soccer matches and has hosted numerous concerts since its construction.
100 Art Rooney Avenue
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15212
The Pittsburgh Steelers are a professional football team in the National Football League (the NFL). The Pittsburgh Steelers play in the American Football Conference (AFC) North Division with three other teams: the Cincinnati Bengals, the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns. The Pittsburgh Steelers have won an NFL record 5 Super Bowl Championships. Heinz Field, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, hosts all Pittsburgh Steelers home games.
The professional football team in Pittsburgh, initially the “Pirates”, began play in the NFL in 1933. Through the first 8 years of its existence, the Pittsburgh Steelers did not finish any season with a winning record. The team was called the Pittsburgh Pirates from inception up until the end of the 1940 season. Because of the City of Pittsburgh’s dominance in the steel making industry, the team decided to change the name from the “Pirates” to the “Steelers” in 1941. Because of player shortages during World War II, the Pittsburgh Steelers merged with the Philadelphia Eagles during the 1943 NFL regular season (being known as the “Phil-Pitt Eagles” or “Steagles”) and with the Chicago Cardinals during the 1944 NFL regular season (being known as “Card-Pitt” or the “Carpets”). From 1933 until 1971, the Pittsburgh Steelers only made the playoffs once when they lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1947. The Pittsburgh Steelers only had 8 winning seasons during that brutal 38 year stretch.
The tides began to turn following the hiring of new Head Coach Chuck Knoll in 1969. Although the first 3 seasons under Chuck Knoll were not successful record-wise (the team finished with a combined record of 12-30 during that span), during that time the Pittsburgh Steelers started to lay the foundation that would blossom into several NFL Championships during the 1970’s. Each year, the Pittsburgh Steelers seemed to draft a future legend that filled a specific void on the team: Defensive Tackle “Mean” Joe Greene in 1969, Quarterback Terry Bradshaw and Defensive Back Mel Blount in 1970, Linebacker Jack Ham in 1971, and Running Back Franco Harris in 1972. In 1974, the Pittsburgh Steelers pulled of the unimaginable feat by drafting 4 future Hall of Famers in the same draft: Center Mike Webster, Wide Receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, and Linebacker Jack Lambert. Those key additions combined with the excellent coaching of Chuck Knoll developed into one of the most feared dynasties in NFL history during the 1970’s. From 1972 through 1979, the Pittsburgh Steelers won the AFC Central 7 times, finishing 2nd the only year that it did not win the division. The Pittsburgh Steelers advanced to the Super Bowl 4 times during that same 8 year span, winning every single one. Twice the Pittsburgh Steelers lost in the AFC Championship game, denying them the opportunity to compete for 6 Super Bowl Championships in an unprecedented 8 year period. The Pittsburgh Steelers controlled the football with a balanced offensive attack. With the steady rushing of Franco Harris and the vertical aerial attack of Bradshaw, Swan and Stallworth, it was tough for NFL teams to defend the Pittsburgh Steelers for a full game. On the defensive side of the football, the Pittsburgh Steelers had one of the most dominating defenses all decade long. The defense was known as the “Steel Curtain”, demonstrating the impenetrability of the entire defensive unit.
The Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl Championships were always memorable wins. In Super Bowl IX, the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Minnesota Vikings 16-6 in a defensive struggle. Much pre-game hype surrounded the teams dominating defenses – the “Steel Curtain” and the “Purple People Eaters” and the two legendary quarterbacks on either side of the football – Terry Bradshaw and Fran Tarkenton. In Super Bowl X, the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 21-17 in a game between 2 of the most popular teams in the NFL. Once again, two legendary quarterbacks battled it out, with Pittsburgh’s Terry Bradshaw gaining the upper hand over Dallas’ Roger Staubach. Three years later, in Super Bowl XIII, the Pittsburgh Steelers once again defeated the Dallas Cowboys in a 35-31 shootout. Although Pittsburgh’s Terry Bradshaw committed 3 turnovers, he still won the Super Bowl MVP award by passing for over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns. And the following year, in Super Bowl XIV, the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Los Angeles Rams 31-19 in a game in which the Pittsburgh Steelers had to come form behind with 2 late touchdowns in the 4th quarter. Once again, Pittsburgh’s Terry Bradshaw committed 3 turnovers, but he still won his second consecutive Super Bowl MVP award by passing for over 300 yards and 2 more Super Bowl touchdowns. That win gave the Pittsburgh Steelers their 4th Super Bowl Championship in the decade and cemented the 1970’s Pittsburgh Steelers and its Steel Curtain as one of the best NFL teams of all time.
While the 1970’s Pittsburgh Steelers are most remembered for their 4 Super Bowl Championships, one of the most memorable Pittsburgh Steelers playoff games came in 1972 when they did not even make it to the Super Bowl. On December 23, 1972, in their first playoff game in 25 years, the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers battled in a defensive struggle for 4 long quarters. They Pittsburgh Steelers led 6-0 on 2 field goals before Oakland Raiders quarterback Kenny Stabler ran for an amazing 30-yard touchdown to give the Raiders a slim 1 point lead with less than 2 minutes left in the game. The Pittsburgh Steelers faced an “impossible” 4th down in their own territory when Terry Bradshaw threw a pass in the direction of fullback Frenchy Fuqua. The controversial pass bounced off of Fuqua and/or Raiders safety Jack Tatum and went sailing into the air. Miraculously, running back Franco Harris grabbed the football out of the air just as it was about to hit the field, and ran all the way down the field into the end zone for the game-winning score. That pass, catch and run is now famously known as the “Immaculate Reception.”
Chuck Knoll retired in 1992 and Pittsburgh native Bill Cowher took over the Pittsburgh Steelers head coaching position. During Bill Cowher’s 14-year tenure, the Pittsburgh Steelers won 8 AFC Central titles and advanced to the playoffs 10 times. Although the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXX following the 1995 regular season, the Pittsburgh Steelers finally rewarded Bill Cowher and their loyal fan base with a Super Bowl victory in 2006 following the 2005 regular season. Although the Pittsburgh Steelers were a Wild Card team in 2005, they advanced to the playoffs and won 3 games on the road in the playoffs to advance to Super Bowl XL. The Pittsburgh Steelers continued their underdog dominance by defeating the Seattle Seahawks 21-10 in a game that was never really close. The 2005-2006 Pittsburgh Steelers team is the only team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl Championship by winning 3 games on the road in the playoffs and then finishing it off with a victory in the Super Bowl. That victory also gave the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise its 5th Super Bowl Championship. Only 2 other teams have as many Super Bowl Championships – the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers. Finally, that Super Bowl Championship was extra special for long-time Steelers Running Back Jerome Bettis, who played the game in front of his hometown of Detroit, Michigan. Jerome Bettis, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish, played 10 years of his 13-year NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers and announced his retirement from the NFL following the Super Bowl XL victory. Jerome “The Bus” Bettis finished his NFL career as the 5th best rusher in NFL history.
After the magical 2005-6 Super Bowl Championship run, the Pittsburgh Steelers had high hopes for another world championship the following season. Unfortunately, the loss of Jerome Bettis and injuries to Quarterback Ben Rothliesberger and Wide Receiver Hines Ward proved too much to overcome, as the Pittsburgh Steelers won only 8 games and failed to qualify for the playoffs for the 1st time since 2003. Long-time Head Coach Bill Cowher resigned following the 2006-7 NFL season. From 1969 through 2006, the Pittsburgh Steelers only had 2 head coaches - Chuck Knoll and Bill Cowher - an unprecedented feat given today's win-first and win-now mentality. It will be a long-time before another NFL franchise has only 2 head coaches during a 37-year stretch.
Under new Head Coach Mike Tomlin, the Pittsburgh Steelers rebounded during the 2007-8 campaign as the Pittsburgh Steelers finished with a 10-6 record which was good for 1st place in the difficult AFC North. Despite the successful regular season, the Pittsburgh Steelers were upset by the warm-weather Jacksonville Jaguars 31-29 in an exciting wild card playoff game at Heinz Field. While the Pittsburgh Steelers offense was up to the challenge, the Steelers had trouble dealing with the dynamic rushing duo of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew and could not seem to find the right answer for stopping the Jaguars' reliable quarterback David Garrard. While the Mike Tomlin era began with a successful campaign, winning playoff games is what endears coaches and players to the loyal Steelers' fan base and Tomlin will have to win playoff games soon in order to secure his position as the Steelers head coach.
Hall of Famers
Nineteen men associated with the Pittsburgh Steelers have been inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. Founder and Owner Art Rooney was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1964. Art Rooney’s son Dan Rooney, a current owner and executive of the Pittsburgh Steelers, was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2000. Co-owner and coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bert Bell, was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1963. Legendary Head Coach Chuck Knoll was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1993. Another legendary player and coach, Walt Keisling, was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1966. Offensive players on the Pittsburgh Steelers who have been inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame include: Quarterback Terry Bradshaw (1989), Running Back Franco Harris (1990), Fullback John Henry Johnson (1987), Quarterback Bobby Lane (1967), Halfback Johnny “Johnny Blood” McNally (1963), Wide Receiver John Stallworth (2002), Wide Receiver Lynn Swann (2001) and Center Mike Webster (1997). Defensive players on the Pittsburgh Steelers who have been inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame include: Defensive Back Mel Blount (1989), Defensive Tackle “Mean” Joe Green (1987), Linebacker Jack Ham (1988), Linebacker Jack Lambert (1990) and Defensive Tackle Ernie Stautner (1969). One of the more prominent Pittsburgh Steelers who played on both sides of the football (as many players did during the early years), Halfback and Defensive Back Bill Dudley, was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1966.