STEELERS FOOTBALL HISTORY
The Pittsburgh Steelers were founded by Arthur J.
Rooney on July 8, 1933. Now the sixth-oldest franchise
in the NFL, the Pittsburgh team was known as the Pirates
until 1940. The Steelers struggled for their first
40 years without winning a championship of any kind
until they won the AFC Central division title in 1972.
Two years later, the entire sports world cheered when
Art Rooney, one of world's most popular sports figures,
received the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the Steelers'
victory in Super Bowl IX. Pittsburgh Steelers, professional
football team and one of four teams in the North Division
of the American Football Conference (AFC) of the National
Football League (NFL). Originally called the Pirates,
the Steelers wear uniforms of black and gold. The
team, which used to play at Three Rivers Stadium in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was scheduled to move into
a new stadium for the 2001 season. The team takes
its name from the steel-producing factories in Pittsburgh.
During the 1970s Pittsburgh became the first NFL
team to win four Super Bowls. Head coach Chuck Noll
commanded a talent-laden club starring several future
Hall of Fame members, including quarterback Terry
Bradshaw, defensive end “Mean” Joe Greene,
running back Franco Harris, and linebackers Jack Ham
and Jack Lambert.
The Pittsburgh Pirates football team was founded
in 1933 by Art Rooney. He named the team after Pittsburgh’s
National League baseball team, and the two franchises
shared Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field. In 1938 Rooney
signed star running back Byron White. Nicknamed Whizzer
because of his speed, White led the league in rushing
that year, but the Pirates won just two of nine games.
After seven losing seasons, Rooney renamed his team
the Steelers in 1940. The club registered only three
winning records from 1942 to 1949. Its best player
during this time was two-time rushing champion Bill
Dudley. In 1946 the versatile running back, who would
eventually be elected to the Pro Football Hall of
Fame, led the NFL in rushing, interceptions, and punt
From 1950 to 1957 Pittsburgh failed to produce a
winning record. The team briefly recovered between
1958 and 1963, culminating with a 9-5 win-loss record
in 1962. Pittsburgh followed a 7-4 record in 1963
with eight consecutive losing campaigns from 1964
The Steelers moved to their new home in Three Rivers
Stadium in 1970, the same year Pittsburgh chose quarterback
Terry Bradshaw of Louisiana Tech as the number one
pick in the NFL draft. In 1972, just three years after
a one-win season, head coach Chuck Noll led the Steelers
to the team’s first division title ever. The
crown marked the beginning of a dynasty that won seven
Central Division championships (including six consecutively)
and four Super Bowls from 1972 to 1980.
Noll put together a well-balanced offense starring
Bradshaw, Franco Harris, center Mike Webster, and
wide receivers John Stallworth and Lynn Swann. The
defense, known as the Steel Curtain because it closed
tight on opposing offenses, featured Jack Ham and
Jack Lambert; defensive backs Mel Blount and Donnie
Shell; and linemen Joe Greene, L. C. Greenwood, and
Dwight White. Pittsburgh fielded the AFC’s top-rated
defense for three consecutive seasons, from 1974 to
Pittsburgh rolled through the playoffs in both 1974
and 1975 and won the Super Bowls that followed both
seasons, holding the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas
Cowboys to a combined 23 points in the two games.
Three years later the Steelers again reached the Super
Bowl. They defeated the Cowboys 35-31 in what is considered
one of the most thrilling championships in NFL history.
Bradshaw threw four touchdown passes, and the Steelers
led the game 35-17 with just under seven minutes left
to play. Dallas quarterback Roger Staubach led his
team to two more touchdowns before Pittsburgh recovered
a Dallas onside kick and won the game. Pittsburgh
earned its fourth title in 1980, defeating the Los
Angeles Rams 31-19.
Noll collected two more division titles in the following
12 seasons, but under him the Steelers did not return
to the Super Bowl. When he retired after the 1991
season, he ranked fourth in NFL history with 209 career
victories. Club founder Art Rooney died in 1988, having
owned the Steelers for 55 years. His son Daniel M.
Rooney became the franchise president.
Former NFL linebacker Bill Cowher was hired as head
coach in 1992 and built solid teams in the early 1990s
with running back Barry Foster, linebacker Greg Lloyd,
and quarterback Neil O’Donnell. Cowher led Pittsburgh
to three straight division crowns from 1994 to 1996.
Following the 1995 season the Steelers again played
in the Super Bowl, but they lost to the Cowboys 27-17.
Running back Jerome Bettis led the team in the 1996
season as Pittsburgh clinched the AFC Central Division
and beat the Indianapolis Colts 42-14 in the playoffs
before losing to the New England Patriots, 28-3.
1975 IX Defeated Minnesota Vikings, 16-6
1976 X Defeated Dallas Cowboys, 21-17
1979 XIII Defeated Dallas Cowboys, 35-31
1980 XIV Defeated Los Angeles Rams, 31-19
1996 XXX Lost to Dallas Cowboys, 27-17.
Club Records >>
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