The Pittsburgh Steelers have a storied history and are recognized as one of the most respected organizations in all of sports. Six Super Bowls, eighteen (soon to be twenty) Hall of Famers and a legacy left behind by Dan Rooney are all components of the franchise. Certainly, over the years, fans have developed personal favorites. This got me thinking to ask several members of the Steeler Nation team who their favorite Steeler of all-time is. Some answers were predictable. Some, not so much.
McGeown’s reasoning: “His instincts and leadership were one of a kind and his playmaking speaks for itself. Jumping the line of scrimmage and making the wildest interceptions. There was nothing like it. The pick-6 in the 2008 AFC Championship Game will always be one of the best moments in Steelers history. Aside from that, his humility on and off the field are also what sets him apart from many. He is truly one of a kind and a Pittsburgh and NFL legend forever.”
Lester’s analysis: “Watching him make plays instinctively made me love the game. He was the reason an offensive lineman like me always wanted to line up at safety during backyard football games. He made me view football as an art, not just a game.”
Wallace’s reasoning: “I just remember being so enamored by his style of play. As a young defensive back myself, I wanted to impact the game the same way he did. I had the pleasure of meeting him in 2015 and it was one of the coolest experiences of my life. He’s the best to ever do it!”
G Stryker was on the same wavelength as McGeown and Lester, but went with a different defensive workhorse.
Stryker’s analysis: “Woodson was electric as a pass defender, tackler and ball hawk. He played all three phases at the highest level; offense, defense and return game. He might be the most athletic player to ever put on a Steelers jersey.
Hopping on the defensive back train was Matt Papiernik, but with one of the hardest hitting defensive players Pittsburgh has ever seen.
Papiernik’s analysis: “Clark was the unsung hero of those dominate defenses as well as the perfect compliment to Polamalu. He was one of the hardest hitters I have ever seen and played the game the way it was meant to be played.”
Washinski’s analysis: “He was the real reason behind the offenses of ’97, ’01 and ’04. He was the heart and soul behind the ’04-’05 squads and they rallied around him. He told Willie Parker what to look for right before his 75-yard TD run in Super Bowl XL. By slimmest of margins behind Ben Roethilisberger, the Bus is my favorite.”
Morrison’s analysis: “Bettis was a Steeler through and through. He was an icon and is a legend. Most importantly, he was the ultimate leader.”
Zach Herbaugh and myself were all in on an offensive weapon who always had a smile on his face.
My reasoning: Ward was unlike any receiver I have ever seen play for the Steelers. He was tough, tenacious and left everything on the field every single time he played. He was the guy who everyone outside of Pittsburgh hated and that was what made me love him even more. His constant enthusiasm and energy was contagious and I will always be grateful to have had the opportunity to watch him play as a Steeler and win two Super Bowls. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame!
Herbaugh fell in love with how hard Ward played the game.
Herbaugh’s reasoning: “He never took a play off and blocked as hard on a run play as he ran a route on a pass play. He emulated what it meant to be a Steeler and was rewarded with two Super Bowls.”
Justin McGonigle stayed within the wide receiver position, but his favorite player to ever wear the black and gold may surprise you.
McGonigle’s analysis: “He was one of the first players I remembered. I couldn’t say his name so I called him Pigpen. I wore #82 in high school because of him.”
Ben Michaelian went with the most surprising favorite Steeler of all-time choosing a guy who won the Steelers many games in the final seconds.
Michaelian’s analysis: “Reed was a consistent and reliable kicker for eight years. Not a lot of fans know this, but he is the second highest Steeler scorer in history. He was so fun to watch and still has the biggest thighs in Pittsburgh.”
Who is your favorite Steeler of all-time? Not an easy question to answer, but let us know in the comments below!