The city of Pittsburgh has one of the richest franchises in NFL history, however, it took them a long time to get it started. First achieving greatness in the ’70s, they had one of the greatest D-Lines of all-time. With multiple Hall of Famers on the defense, it was nicknamed “The Steel Curtain”, captained by “Mean” Joe Greene.
During the Steelers’ dominant stretch in the 1970s’ they brought Pittsburgh 4 Super Bowls; 2 of which were repeats. With the first one coming in 1974 at Super Bowl IX, the Steelers went 10-3-1 during the season with 6 Pro Bowl selections. If the season showed anything, it’s that the defense truly could carry a struggling offense and still win games. Pittsburgh outscored their opponents 305-189 largely due to the defense, and ended up dominating throughout the playoffs. After defeating the Bills 32-14, the Raiders 24-13, and then the Vikings 16-6 in a dominant defensive (and Special Teams) performance, The Steelers had won the Super Bowl for the first of six championships.
The very next year, 1975, the Steelers featured 11 pro bowlers and a regular season record of 12-2. The offense had about caught up to the defense to make this team even more dominant. Outscoring opponents 373-162 in the regular season, the Steel Curtain thoroughly beat the Indianapolis Ravens 28-10 behind 3 rushing touchdowns, one each by Franco Harris, Terry Bradshaw, and Rocky Bleier; as well as a 93 yard fumble return touchdown by Andy Russell. Next they edged out the Raiders 16-10 behind a field goal by Roy Gerela, a rushing touchdown by Franco Harris, and a pass from Terry Bradshaw to John Stallworth and lastly edged out the Dallas Cowboys to win their second consecutive championship.
After two years off from the Super Bowl, the Steelers were back in 1978. The regular season record was 14-2, with an outstanding 10 Pro Bowlers. The Steelers rolled through the playoffs up until the Super Bowl. They first dominated the Denver Broncos 33-10 behind Franco Harris’ two touchdown runs, Roy Gerelea field goals and two touchdown passes from Terry Bradshaw; one to John Stallworth and one to Lynn Swann. They were even more dominant against the Oilers, outscoring Houston 34-5. Facing the Cowboys once again in the Super Bowl, they won the Big Game 35-31 behind 4 touchdown passes from Hall of Fame Quarterback Terry Bradshaw.
The Steelers won their 4th Super Bowl in 1979, the last until 2005. Their regular season record was 12-4, seemingly a magic number for this team. Rolling through the playoffs to easily win the Super Bowl, they first defeated the Miami Dolphins 34-14, before once again defeating the Houston Oilers; this time by a score of 27-13. In the Super Bowl, they annihilated The L.A. Rams 31-19. Terry Bradshaw earned a record-setting 4th ring, until Tom Brady won his fifth earlier this year.
Highly regarded as one of the best defenses ever (and a Hall of Fame QB), the Steel Curtain were an important part of the NFL. The 1970’s are highly regarded as the decade owned by the Steelers. While very few teams can say they’ve repeated as champions in the NFL, the Steelers had two repeats in one decade. The Steel Curtain has earned the right to be called a dynasty and be the first dynasty honored in my Brand New Dynasty Series. Which Dynasty would you like to see covered next?
Elsio Rosario, Writer at the Athletes Hub
“Mean Joe” Greene and Franco Harris photos credited to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.