Connect with us


Why the Pittsburgh Steelers Are Considered the Best Franchise in NFL History


Why the Pittsburgh Steelers Are Considered the Best Franchise in NFL History

The story of the most powerful franchise in NFL history starts in 1933, thanks to Arthur J. Rooney. This young man’s family brought a small franchise through 40 years of oblivion at the bottom of the table to the rays of glory. The current situation in the club can be checked on To understand how the Pittsburgh Steelers became the legendary dynasty team, we need to start from the very beginning.


Early years (1933 – 1970)


The NFL had plans to bring a team in Pittsburgh since the first season in 1920 because of the University of Pittsburgh. But the main reason it did not happen till 1933 was the prohibition of alcohol sales on Sunday in the state of Pennsylvania. 

Arthur made his first big shifts with the team three years later. He chose players and signed contracts with them, but most importantly he employed a coach: Joe Bach. These changes helped the team to improve results a bit and fund itself until 1941. The initial money that Arthur invested came to him thanks to a chance: he won it on a horse race.

When WWII came, many teams lacked players. Due to that, two of them decided to merge in 1943. The Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers became the “Steagles”, officially known as “Phil-Pitt Combine”. Next year they united with the Chicago Cardinals to become “Card-Pitt” (but rival fans preferred to call them “Carpets”). 




The biggest accomplishment for this squad was getting to the playoffs in 1947. Sadly, the fairy-tale was over after their first clash with Philadephia Eagles, where the Pittsburgh team was smashed 21-0. It was hard to predict such an outcome, but if if you could bet that time, checking odds at was the best idea. Until the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, this game stayed as the only playoff game. “Playoff Bowl”, the Steelers participated in 1962, does not count as an approved playoff.

The same year the merger happened, the club transferred to the new Three Rivers Stadium, while moving to a freshly created AMC (American Football Conference). Thankfully, unexpected luck struck and $3 million transferred to the club’s bank account as a relocation fee. Most of the time, the team struggled to develop a competitive line-up, but this fortune and competent management helped to start the legendary era.


Chuck Noll (1969-1991)


Everything changed for Pittsburgh in 1969 when they hired a new coach. Chuck Noll came and brought his unique skill with him. The coach drafted one Hall of Fame player a year in ’69, ’70, ’71, ’72 and managed to pick four such players in a year at ’74 including Mike Webster, Jack Lambert, Lynn Swann and John Stallworth. Still, where is no other team that could draft that many in one year.

The same record-breaking squad made history another way. In the ’70s, they made it to the playoffs eight times and enjoyed an unrepeatable victory in four Super Bowls in six years. Also, the Steelers became the first team to win more than 2 Super Bowls. The publications and blogs on can help to find more information like this.

Against this successful backdrop, the ’80s were sad years for Pittsburgh fans. The spine of the squad had to retire: Steelers had lost Lynn Swann, Jack Ham, Joe Greene, Mel Blount, Terry Bradshaw and Jack Lambert in four years. The team continued to fight for playoffs with limited success. In 1987, the NFLPA went on strike and added to injury.

Chuck Noll’s last season in Pittsburgh was 1991, he finished with a career record of 209–156–1 (.572). Two years later, he was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


Bill Cowher (1992-2007)


To take a place of a legend is a hard job to fulfil. Bill Cowher ended up coaching the Steelers to the AFC Championship Game four times, coached his squad in Super Bowl XXX, and finally brought another Super Bowl in 2005 in a dramatic clash with Seattle Seahawks.

Cowher’s squads during his career had been in the playoffs 10 of 15 times, with an overall record of 161–99–1 (.619). Cowher resigned in January of 2007.




Mike Tomlin (2007-present)


Mike Tomlin teams historically divide fans. On one hand, he brought another Super Bowl to Steelers the second year he came in 2009 against the Arizona Cardinals, becoming the youngest head coach to win it (36). He’s never had a losing season, which is the record for the Steelers too, having one of the best winning percentages of all time. On the other hand, Tomlin’s squads often underperformed in important matches.

Make your conclusions based on the current Tomlin record: 153–86–1 (.640).




In the last 40 years, the Steelers have only been managed by three people, which is the fewest in modern history. One of them is already a Hall of Fame member (Noll), the two others are on the brink of it. The Rooney Family owns the club for its entire history and sticks to the development plan for almost a century. This helps to build dynasty squads, memorialized at the Hall of Fame. The franchise still holds many records, such as most playoff games won in history and most post-merger games won overall.


The long road to glory and all these facts indicate that Pittsburgh is worthy of a place in the discussion of “The Best Franchises”, and have a big advantage in this conversation.


Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in Commentary