The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the most prestigious franchises in the history of the NFL and have had some of the leagues best players during that time. Currently they are kind of at a crossroads as their quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is aging and didn’t look anything like a quarterback that can lead them to another title. Already committing to this year Pittsburgh is stuck with Ben whether they want him or not. It seems a rebuild is inevitable but given the success this franchise has had over the years their is no reason to believe they won’t turn it around as long as they find a new quarterback. That’s to worry about next year lets get to the good stuff. These are my top 5 greatest Pittsburgh Steelers of all time.
Jerome Bettis, Running Back (1996-2005)
“The Bus” was a guy you didn’t want to try to tackle by yourself if you were a defender. Bettis was a 1,000 yard rusher in each of his first six seasons in Pittsburgh and was a force even at the end of his career earning a Pro Bowl appearance at the age of 32 while helping the team win a franchise record 15 games. Bettis also owns the best single single rushing season in franchise history accounting for 1,665 yards in 1997 despite sitting out the last game of the regular season. He ended his career as the seventh leading rusher in NFL history and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Troy Polamalu, Safety (2003-2014)
Eight Pro Bowls and four-All-Pro selections is why Troy Polamalu isn’t regarded as just one of the best safeties of his era, but one of the greatest safeties of all-time. He won NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 and helped the Steelers win two Super Bowls and three AFC Championships during a six-year span. He was rightfully inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2020, his first year on the ballot.
Mel Blout, Cornerback (1970-1983)
Mel Blout was so physical in coverage that the NFL had to change the rules in 1978, limiting the amount of contact a defensive back could have with a receiver beyond five yards. The rule is known as the Mel Blout rule and was supposed to slow down Blout and the Steelers. Instead, Blount earned another Pro Bowl selection that year while Pittsburgh won 14 games and won their third Super Bowl in five years.
5.) Franco Harris, Fullback (1972-1983)
What a career Franco Harris had. In his rookie season in 1972 that ended with his “Immaculate Reception” in Pittsburgh’s playoff victory over the Oakland Raiders. Harris earned nine consecutive Pro Bowl appearances and left the 1970s as the third leading rusher in NFL history. His 158 yards in Super Bowl IX earned him MVP honors while leading the Steelers to a 16-6 victory and his 22-yard touchdown run late in Super Bowl XIII helped the Steelers defeat the Dallas Cowboys and his 2 touchdowns and 112 all-purpose yards helped the team beat the Rams in Super Bowl XIV. The fact Franco is only fifth on this list shows how many legends have played for the black and gold.
4.) Jack Lambert, Linebacker (1974-1984)
Jack Lambert was the physical embodiment of what Pittsburgh Steelers football was in the 1970s. The guy who once said “Give me a six-pack and let’s go play them again” brought a physical and intimidating edge to the Pittsburgh defense that was already pretty scary. With Lambert in the lineup, the Steelers defense became arguably the greatest unit in NFL history. Lambert was a NFL Defensive Player of the Year, a first ballot Hall of Famer and his interception late in Super Bowl XIV set up Franco Harris’s game-clinching touchdown.
3.) Ben Roethlisberger, Quarterback (2004-Present)
Ben Roethlisberger otherwise known as “Big Ben” took over the keys to the franchise in 2004 and since then the team has never had a losing record. Ben leads the franchise in passing attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns and wins. He became the youngest starting quarterback in NFL history to win a Super Bowl after helping Pittsburgh win Super Bowl XL. He’s also the first starting quarterback to win three road playoff games in the same postseason. On top of that, Ben has been to two more Super Bowls, four Pro Bowls and has won a league passing title. Currently he is top 10 all-time in career passing yards, passing touchdowns and wins by a starting quarterback. If he had more success in the big game Ben would be higher on the list but regardless he is one of the best players in Steelers history and the second best quarterback in team history only trailing…
2.) Terry Bradshaw, Quarterback (1970-1983)
Nicknamed “The Blonde Bomber” Terry Bradshaw overcame a slow start to his career to become the first quarterback in NFL history to win four Super Bowls. He was also the second player in league history to win two Super Bowl MVP awards. Bradshaw won the league MVP award in 1978 and threw a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of each of the Steelers Super Bowl victories in the 1970s. Terry Bradshaw delivered in ever Super Bowl he ever played in and was a winner and leader on the field and that’s why I consider him the best quarterback in the history of the franchise.
1.) “Mean” Joe Greene, Defensive Tackle (1969-1981)
“Mean” Joe Greene was the first man legendary coach Chuck Noll selected after becoming head coach of the Steelers and Greene was worth it to say the least. His drive and play on the field helped drive Pittsburgh to the success they had in their dynasty run. Greene won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 1972 and 1974. He was a leader of the legendary “Steel Curtain” defense that held the Oakland Raiders to just 29 yards rushing in the 1974 AFC title game as well as holding the Minnesota Vikings to 17 yards on the ground in Super Bowl IX. In that game Greene had an interception and a fumble recovery while helping end the Steelers 42-year championship drought. Greene won two more Super Bowls with the franchise as a member of the team’s scouting department and was a first ballot Hall of Famer. His number 75 jersey was retired by the club in 2014.
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