Pittsburgh Steelers

AFC North

2017 Schedule

  • Week 1

    PIT @ CLE


    1:00 pm

PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart

The PYRO Fantasy Football Depth Chart is a rundown of where Team PYRO projects the fantasy production for each team at each position. It is NOT an attempt to inform you of the current starters for each team. For example, we are well aware that Brandon Manumaleuna is currently the starting TE for the Chicago Bears, but if you look at the Bears Team Page, we have Greg Olsen listed at TE. Why? We’re projecting that Greg Olsen will be the most Fantasy Football relevant TE for the Bears this season. Since Olsen will be the Bears leading FF point scorer at TE, it’s his name at the top of the TE column on our PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart.

Pittsburgh Steelers - 2014 Preseason #FF Preview

pittsburgh steelers #FF preview 2014



Pittsburgh Steelers - 2014 Preseason #FF Preview


“Halfway between Erie and Pittsburgh/ You’re putting me through hell/ On the highway to the Bittersweet Motel”.



This poignant line from a Phish song relates to fantasy and the Steelers. In particular, the oxymoron bittersweet can apply to owning a Pittsburgh player on your fantasy team. It can have its ups and downs. For starters, let’s take their QB, whom d-Rx® lovingly named Ben Accosthisfurberger.


Surprisingly enough, when the fantasy dust settled after last season, ole Ben came in as the 10th best fantasy quarterback. He threw a touchdown pass in every single game last year, and actually threw for at least 300 yards on five separate occasions. That is more 300 yard games than Russell Wilson (2) and Colin Kaepernick (2) combined. By the way, both of those guys finished just ahead of Ben in total scoring for a fantasy QB.  Those are the games when it is sweet to start Accosthisfurberger. Then again, there are the bitter moments when a cold wind doth blow across your computer screen after discovering he only managed to put up a single digit; this is something he did 3 times last year while scoring in the low teens on several other outings.  Perhaps his total numbers look good on the whole, but on a per-game basis, he is middle of the pack. Ben ranked 16th among fantasy quarter backs for points per game. Romo, ranked 9th, averaged only 1 more point per game. This is why you can wait on QBs.  There is little difference between their performances once you get past the first two tiers, as this per-game stat attests. Personally, I want a top tier QB, their average is far and above the rest at the position. After that, the pool is fairly similar. So, if you cannot lock up a Peyton or a Rodgers caliber player, I am playing the waiting game. There is little difference between guys like Ben and Tannehill, except, the latter is going 3 rounds after Ben and has far greater upside.


Looking at Le’Veon Bell, all we have to go on is his rookie season. On the whole, he averaged 13.4 fantasy points per game. He missed the first three due to injury that was rumored to be the dreaded Lisfranc.


lisfranc injury


Although the injury was not as severe as first feared, it undoubtedly hampered his performance. In fact, looking at his last 3 games, he averaged close to 17.1 fantasy points per game. In 13 total games played last year, Bell ran for 860 yards, gained 408 additional yards from the pass, and totaled 8 TDs. This trend should continue. Pittsburgh will be going back to more of a run heavy offense. Some fear that newly acquired LeGarrette Blount will eat into Bell’s production. The fact that head coach Mike Tomlin wants to run the ball more should counter the Blount acquisition. Bell should still see 20 touches per game with the increased focus on the run. Tomlin used Bell in the red zone religiously. The Steelers, when inside the opponent’s 20 yard line, gave Bell the rock 37 times. In fact, all 8 of his touchdowns came from within the red zone. Bell has fantastic vision and patience; he uses his blockers to let the play develop. He is a powerful back. In 2013, there were only 18 running backs that had at least 20 broken tackles or more. Bell makes this list with 21. Keep in mind he only played 13 games last year. I expect Bell will score 3 or 4 receiving TDs this year as well.



While I love Bell in touchdown only leagues, there are some tendencies that may not translate to fantasy success in standard scoring. To begin, he only averaged 3.5 yards per carry. Worse yet, he was only able to gain 2.1 yards after contact. These are not the only indicators of mediocrity. He does not have breakaway speed. His longest rush all year was 43 yards. In 10 of his 13 games played, Bell’s longest rush was 15 yards or less. He grounds it out. In leagues that award for long TDs, Bell’s ranking takes a major hit. So again, this is why the Pyro boys stress knowing your league. Check out the podcast on just this topic.





If you have not checked out ”Power in Numbers”, this piece by Suits will change the way you think about fantasy. Reading it will give you an epiphany similar to the one from the film The Usual Suspects: when Verbal Kint, Kevin Spacey’s character, limps out of the police station and gets into the getaway car, it dawns on you at that exact moment… Holy Moses, it was Keyser Soza the whole time!... Alright, maybe it is not as mind blowing as that, but it’s right up there.


PLEASE READ: http://www.pyromaniac.com/op_eds/power-in-numbers-2013-season-in-review


Essentially the piece looked at the top 60 performers from fantasy, and discovered some interesting correlations. Mainly, there were a select number of teams that had multiple guys make the list. The Steelers, for example, had 3 players on the list of the top 60 fantasy performers from last year: Ben Accosthisfurberger (#13), Antonio Brown (#34), and Le’Veon Bell (#45).




Antonio Brown had the 4th most targets of all wide receivers with 165. He managed to snag 66.7% of those for 110 receptions. If you ranked the top 100 guys with the most targets in the league from 2013, only 16 other guys were as efficient at catching passes as Brown. Here is the kicker, of the 17 players whose catch rate was above 66%, only 4 guys (Jordy Nelson, Keenan Allen, Doug Baldwin, and Julio Jones) were targeted further down the field than Brown. His average pass per target was 9.8 yards. In other words, Antonio Brown has an amazing chance of catching passes thrown to him, and he is targeted a lot farther down the field than most receivers who boast such a high catch rate. That translates to points in yardage leagues and PPR. Without Emmanuel Sanders, Brown should see a larger percentage of passes come his way. Not only that, only 24.2% of Brown’s fantasy value came from touchdowns. The fact is, touchdowns are too hard to predict from year to year. One season, a guy may get into the end zone with ease, the very next year, it can be a struggle. When looking at value, yardage is a far more reliable indicator. Guys that scare me are the ones that have a high percentage of their value attached to scoring. For example, Jerricho Cotchery scored 120.2 fantasy points last year.  49.9% of his points came from touchdowns. His success was primarily dependant on crossing the goal line. You can find these numbers for 250 players on Pyro’s “Touchdown Dependency” Chart, available on the newest version of our draft kit.



PICK UP A COPY OF OUR DRAFT KIT: http://www.pyromaniac.com/op_eds/2014-pyro-ff-draft-kit-v2


You want to draft guys that get their points from yardage, not touchdowns. In a recent Pyro article, EC examined total value. He compared receptions, yardage, touchdowns, and targets. He wanted to discover which was a better indicator of fantasy success. “The biggest thing that jumps out is that the correlation to yards is by far the strongest”. For a better understanding of this, take a free look at what EC came up with.


PLEASE READ: http://www.pyromaniac.com/op_eds/extending-the-play-correlations-in-standard-scoring


While I do love Antonio Brown, he has only proven it once, and it will be tough to repeat last year’s breakout numbers. In fact, he makes Pyro’s bust list this year. As always, it depends on value. I see no problem with taking him in the 3rd round. His catch rate, plus the fact he runs longer routes is just too hard to ignore.


Other receivers to note: Lance Moore and Markus Wheaton. The Steelers have a tough schedule this year. They have the 27th easiest schedule for wide receivers. Last year Moore only caught 37 passes for 457 yards and 2 TDs. If you think that’s bad, Markus Wheaton only grabbed 6 for 64 yards.  I can’t see wasting a roster spot on either.



As far as the tight end position, this year provides a wealth of talent. Unfortunately, none of it is contained in the body of Heath Miller. He will be playing in his 10th season. He only managed one TD in 2013. While he looks healthy, there are far too many other options out there at the position.


There has been a great deal of press lately about the once vaunted Steelers defense. A big push has been made to construct a younger team, there was an impression, two years ago, they had become too old to really live up to their name. In 2012, they had the oldest starting defense in the NFL. Well, they may have addressed that particular problem. While the Steelers are indeed younger, they are not any better. Even if you employ a defense by committee, there will be better options on the waiver wire. Gone are the days of the Steel Curtain.




By Mo



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Jack Lambert – The Boogeyman of the NFL

jack lambert fuckin' maniac

"He had no teeth and he was slobbering all over himself. I'm thinking, you can have your money back, just get me out of here. Let me go be an accountant. I can’t tell you how badly I wanted out of here." – John Elway’s quote after looking at Jack Lambert during his first play from scrimmage in the NFL

Simply put, Jack Lambert was one of the meanest mothers ever to play the game. From his shadowy, piercing, steely-blue eyes, to his broad-ranging shoulders and elongated arms, to his mutantesque mouth half-filled with teeth; Lambert was monstrosity personified—the epitome of football’s ever-feared middle linebacker. The boogeyman of the NFL.

Pittsburgh selected Lambert in the second round of the 1974 NFL Draft out of Kent State and he immediately won the starting middle linebacker job (slightly aided by an injury to current starter, Henry Davis) on one of the top defenses in the league. He wasn’t big—as for as linebackers go, and especially for a defensive end, which is what he played in college—at just 6’4”, 220 pounds (though he was only 204 pounds as a rookie), but he had pretty much every other intangible you could ever want in a player in spades.

His speed and quickness helped make his overall range one of the best in the league. His intelligence and instincts were off-the-charts, which in turn led him to be named the defensive captain for eight years of his eleven-year career. His intensity was unmatched and likely unseen since Butkus and Nitschke roamed the field, while his durability despite his hard-hitting style was beyond human. Pound-for-pound, Jack Lambert was probably the most intimidating player the NFL has ever witnessed.

"If I was ever in a bar-room brawl and I needed one man to go back-to-back with me, I'd want Jack Lambert to be the man.” – Steelers Hall of Fame Defensive Tackle, “Mean” Joe Greene

"Jack was the most complete middle linebacker ever to play the game - no question. Watching game films of him every week was a privilege." – Steelers fellow Hall of Fame Linebacker, Jack Ham

Jack Lambert was the missing piece Pittsburgh’s defense was looking for when they drafted him. The franchise had not won a championship in its 40+ year history without Lambert, but ended up winning four Super Bowls in six years the second he put on his #58 Steelers jersey. The list of accolades he accrued over his 11-year career reads like a guidebook for conquering heroes:  1974 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year; 1976 NFL Defensive Player of the Year; 8-time All-Pro selection; 9 straight Pro Bowl selections; 4-time Super Bowl Champion; 1970’s All-Decade Team selection; 1980’s All-Decade Team selection; 1990 Hall of Fame Inductee.

Some still say that Lambert was the best middle linebacker of all-time, even over guys like Dick Butkus and Ray Nitschke. True or not, Jack Lambert is certainly in the conversation and there’s no doubt he was one of the best and meanest roughnecks to ever prowl the gridiron. 

"Yes, I get satisfaction out of hitting a guy and seeing him lay there a while." – Jack Lambert

by Dawgmaticå

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Santonio Holmes and Big Ben Super Bowl drive

santonio holmes super bowl catch

Not every NFL Championship game is as close as you might expect from the top two teams in the league. Even fewer pique interest for a full 60 minutes by leaving the outcome to be decided during the final drive of the game. In fact, only 16 of the 46 Super Bowls to date have been won by seven points or less. The 43rd annual Super Bowl between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals turned out to be one of those games and believe me, it’s a no-brainer Top-Fiver that would undoubtedly receive plenty of #1 votes if put to the test. 

With about three and a half minutes to go in the game, the Steelers had just regained possession of the ball on their own one-yard line while holding a 20-14 lead. One incomplete pass and a stuff at the goal line later, Steelers center Justin Hartwig was called for holding in the end zone giving the Cardinals a safety and two more points on the scoreboard. After the ensuing Pittsburgh punt, the Cardinals take over on offense from their own 36-yard line with just 2:53 left and the score up to 20-16. Their first play gains nothing as quarterback Kurt Warner’s pass bounces off of WR Anquan Boldin’s chest. The second play, however, turned out to be a game-changer as WR Larry Fitzgerald catches a short pass over the middle and takes it the distance for a 64-yard touchdown.

Though only two and a half minutes remained in the game with his team behind for the first time at 23-20, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger remained calm knowing that a field goal would tie the score and possibly put the game into overtime. Starting at his own 22-yard line with exactly 2:30 left, Big Ben went to work.

His first pass was would be completed for a three-yard gain, but ended up being cancelled out by yet another holding penalty on his offensive line. Now, facing a first down on their own 12 with 20 yards to go, Ben would again drop back to pass and after avoiding a heavy rush, he managed to complete a 14-yard pass to WR Santonio Holmes giving the Steelers a 2nd-and-6 opportunity. The Steelers would get their next play off just before the two-minute warning, but maybe should have waited to call a better play as Roethlisberger tossed up a jump-ball for an incompletion down the right sideline.

Coming out of the time out, Pittsburgh would again turn to the pass as Holmes caught another ball from Roethlisberger, this time for 11 yards to their own 39-yard line. With the clock still running, the Steelers would complete yet another 11-yard toss, this time to #85, WR Nate Washington. Now at mid-field, Pittsburgh was undoubtedly getting in a groove moving the ball methodically down close to field goal range. The clock, however, continued to move as Roethlisberger would have to escape another hard Arizona pass-rush gaining just four yards on a scramble down to the Cardinals 46. At that point, precious seconds would be wasting away so they called their second time out of the half.

With just 1:02 left in the game, after discussing their options on the sideline during the time out, the Steelers offense came back out onto the field facing a second down and six. Big Ben again faded back to pass as third-year wide receiver, Santonio Holmes, ran out into the secondary. Though the play was called for just a simple ten-yard curl pattern, Holmes’ defender would slip on the play leaving Santonio plenty of room to run with the ball after the catch. 40 yards later, the Steelers were sitting at the Cardinals six-yard line with a first down and goal to go, though the length of the play and the amount of time it would take for the offense to line up forced them to call their final time out with an ample 48 seconds to play.

With the 70,774 in paid attendance completely freaking out in the stands, the Steelers came to the line of scrimmage with Super Bowl XLIII likely on the line. With their first goal-to-go attempt, Pittsburgh’s shot at all the marbles would come up short as Roethlisberger lofted the ball a touch too deep into the left corner of the end zone, barely missing the outstretched hands of Santonio Holmes. Their next play, however, with 35 seconds remaining, would turn out to be one of the memorable in franchise history as Big Ben floated the ball over three Cardinals defenders hitting Santonio Holmes in the right corner of the end zone for a six-yard, toe-tapping, game-winning TD pass to put the Steelers up for good, 27-23.

Holmes was rightfully named the Super Bowl MVP as he caught nine balls for 131 yards in the game, with four of them for 73 yards on that final drive alone. His game-winning TD catch with 35 seconds to play was one for the ages and will undoubtedly secure Super Bowl XLIII as one of the greatest Super Bowls ever to be played. 

by Dawgmaticå

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Chuck Noll Has 4 Championships

chuck noll has 4 championships

In January of 1969, the Pittsburgh Steelers made the bold and ultimately prosperous maneuver of signing former San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Colts defensive coordinator, Chuck Noll, as their 14th head coach in franchise history. Noll would go on to coach the team from 1969 through 1991, though a simple mention of his 23 years of service doesn’t even come close to describing his overall influence upon the Steelers, the NFL, and the game itself. 

Though he would end his career as one of the winningest coaches of all-time (193-148-1 regular season record—seventh-most wins in NFL history), Noll’s fame, for the most part, can be attributed to the things he accomplished during his first decade as a head coach. Probably the most universally-known of these efforts was his construction of the notorious Pittsburgh defense commonly referred to as the “Steel Curtain”. This defense, however, wasn’t created overnight. It took another one of Noll’s strong suits to put together what is widely considered the best defense in NFL history; Noll’s drafting ability.

Upon his arrival in Pittsburgh, Noll quickly put his stamp on the team by selecting a little-known player out of North Texas State, DT “Mean” Joe Greene, with his first ever draft pick (DE L.C. Greenwood was also added in the tenth round). Though the Steelers would turn out a record of just 1-13 during his first season as head coach, their first-round selection still ended up winning the 1969 NFL Rookie of the Year. In his next draft, Noll selected another couple of Hall of Famers in QB Terry Bradshaw (first round) and DB Mel Blount (third round). Blount would become yet another key cog in the legendary Pittsburgh Steel Curtain. In 1971, LB Jack Ham, DE Dwight White, DT Ernie Holmes and S Mike Wagner—all members of the Steel Curtain—would also join the team. In 1972, Chuck grabbed another Hall of Famer in the first round in RB Franco Harris and in 1973, yet another Steel Curtain component was added to the team in DB J.T. Thomas.

However, probably the most distinguished and celebrated of drafts in the history of the NFL came in 1974 when Chuck Noll selected four future Hall of Famers within the Steelers first five picks; WR Lynn Swann, MLB Jack Lambert, WR John Stallworth, and C Mike Webster. Never before and never since has a team selected more than TWO Hall of Famers in any one draft (as Noll also did in 1970 with Bradshaw and Blount).

Noll’s draft expertise, along with the defensive system he first implemented in 1969, catapulted the Steelers into a realm of dynastic proportions few other teams in the sporting world have ever seen. Noll would guide his team to four Super Bowl championships out of six seasons—Super Bowl IX (1975), Super Bowl X (1976), Super Bowl XIII (1979), and Super Bowl XIV (1980)—becoming the only coach in NFL history to win four Super Bowls.

Noll was also one of the more stoic coaches to ever grace the NFL ranks. “Stoicism personified” is how he is commonly described. His firm hand with regards to attention to detail, the fundamentals of football, and his no-tolerance policy towards racial discrimination were much like that of the late Vince Lombardi. Yet conversely, he was also known for his predominantly relaxed attitude towards his players off the field. In fact, whereas most coaches would enforce strict curfew rules and such upon their players before big games, Noll was said to have authorized his players to go out and get the partying out of their system.

Pittsburgh’s Hall of Fame coach may have been as cool as a cucumber in most respects, but every man has a little dichotomy in them as even the most poker-faced card shark can get his feathers ruffled from time to time. The evidence of Chuck Noll’s would come in the form of a 1987 post-game confrontation with then-Houston Oilers coach, Jerry Glanville:


(17 seconds in)

This lone incident with Mr. Glanville aside, the legacy of Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame Head Coach, Chuck Noll, is fully intact. When recalling his numerous exploits over a long and illustrious 23-year career, an isolated and generally mild event such as that doesn’t even register as a blip on the radar screen.

Chuck Noll was one of the best. His name litters the NFL record books as silently as his demeanor strode the sidelines. If asked to describe Chuck Noll’s career in one word, you’d have to use two: Noble and Unprecedented.

by Dawgmaticå

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Art Rooney - there since the start, big part of NFL

art rooney steelers #1

Arthur J. Rooney, born in January of 1901, was the sole founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise back in 1933 when he paid a then-substantial sum of $2,500 to be accepted into the National Football League. Rumor has it that the money Rooney used to buy into the NFL was taken from the funds he received from a winning bet on the horses—a win that was supposedly somewhere in the range of $150,000 to $250,000. Whatever the case, Rooney’s kind heart and reputation of being a man who would do anything for his community led him to be affectionately referred to as “The Chief”.

Mr. Rooney was a well-grounded man who possessed a deep and profound love for his family, friends and pretty much anyone who had the pleasure of coming into contact with his life. His roots, faith and friendships were very important to him throughout his life—much more so than that of the almighty dollar. He would always remind his children that neither he nor they were the “big money” type and should never act above anyone else simply because they were wealthy. Rooney not only believed in this principle, but was renowned for acting the part as well. The stories of his common goodness and unvarying treatment towards everyone from his own family straight down to the members of the stadium’s ground crew are endless. The best depiction of Art Rooney as a person can be found in a quote once said by the late Cardinal John L. Wright—a quote Rooney considered to be one of his greatest compliments: “He’s the voice of the man in the street.”

The Steelers were known as the “lovable losers” of the league for its first 40 years of existence, in part because Rooney was known to favor loyalty to his friends when it came to hiring coaches over finding the best men for the job. Finally, in 1969, Rooney was consulted by two of his sons, Dan and Art Jr., to put friendship on the bottom of the list when picking a new head coach for the team, which he did. The result was Chuck Noll, who went on to win four Super Bowls with the team in a six-year span over the next decade, the Steelers first championships since the team’s inception in 1933.

Art Rooney was enshrined into the Hall of Fame with the second class of members on September 6, 1964. To his family, his peers, and all those who have ever been associated with the NFL, Arthur Joseph Rooney, Sr. will forever be remembered as being the kindest, most lovable owner in the history of the game.

"My fondest memory of playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers was the twinkle in Arthur J. Rooney's eyes. When we pass the statue, we will be forever reminded of that twinkle." – Notorious Tough Guy, LB Jack Lambert.

by Dawgmaticå

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The Immaculate Reception

the immaculate reception - franco harris


The “Immaculate Reception” is generally thought of as the most amazing, unbelievably outrageous play in the history of the NFL. There simply aren’t enough words to describe how mind-boggling it truly was.

On December 23, 1972, the Oakland Raiders traveled to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers in the AFC divisional playoff game. Just the names involved in this game could lift its significance into a higher realm—players such as Terry Bradshaw, Ken Stabler, Daryle Lamonica, Fred Biletnikoff, Art Shell, Gene Upshaw, Jim Otto, Jack Tatum, L.C. Greenwood, “Mean Joe” Greene, Jack Ham, Mel Blount, and the most crucial player of them all, rookie running back, Franco Harris. Of course, let us not forget the coaches on either side of the field; Hall of Famers John Madden and Chuck Noll.

Pittsburgh had been a part of the league since 1933 and had yet to win a playoff game in their 40-year existence. In fact, they had made the playoffs just once during those four long decades—a loss in 1947 to their cross-town rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles. Twenty-five years later, the Steelers were finally back in the big dance and had the talent to make a run at the franchise’s first playoff win…but it wouldn’t be easy. Oakland was a perennial NFL powerhouse at the time and had some serious revenge on their minds after losing their opening game of the season to these same Pittsburgh Steelers. 

The game materialized into a true, grind-it-out defensive battle as yards were tough to come by while neither team had scored by the end of the first half. As the game pushed on, towards the end of the fourth quarter, the score was a mere 6-0 as the only team to score was Pittsburgh on two Roy Gerela field goals. Then, with under a minute and a half to play, Raiders quarterback, Ken Stabler, scampered into the end zone from 30 yards away to make the score 7-6, Raiders. Considering the Steelers had trouble moving the ball all game and had yet to cross the goal line in the previous 59 minutes, it seemed they would need a miracle to pull off the victory…

…and a miracle they would receive.

With 22 seconds remaining in the game, the Steelers were on their own 40-yard line and facing a fourth-and-10 situation. Quarterback Terry Bradshaw took a seven-step drop and looked left down the field, but the pressure from the Raiders defensive line was so quick and severe that he almost immediately need to duck back and scramble to his right. Unfortunately, the Steelers blocking had broken down on that side of the ball as well, so Bradshaw stopped in his tracks, took a quick look left to see if someone was open, then heaved a decently-thrown ball towards RB John Fuqua at Oakland’s 35-yard line. It wasn’t the strongest of throws, so Raiders safety, Jack Tatum, was able to close in on the play without a problem and hit Fuqua just as the pass arrived. The ball was knocked from the receiver’s hands through the air back towards the original line of scrimmage and most of the Raiders thought they had won the game.

Enter rookie Pro Bowl running back, Franco Harris.

The Raiders Jack Tatum had indeed knocked the ball away from the Steelers John Fuqua, but the play had yet to reach its conclusion. Eight yards away running towards the collision was RB Franco Harris, who being at the right place at the right time, snagged the ball out of mid-air just before it hit the ground. Harris kept in stride and began galloping towards the end zone with only the Raiders defensive back, Jimmy Warren, to beat. At the 10-yard line, Harris stuck out his right hand, stiff-armed Warren to the ground, and the game was over.

The play would not go without controversy, however, with the question arising as to who touched the ball during the collision between Fuqua and Tatum? The rules of the NFL at the time stated that once an offensive player touched a forward pass, another offensive player could be the one to catch the ball without a defensive player touching it first. So, if the ball had bounced backward off of Fuqua and Fuqua alone, Harris would not be allowed to catch the ball and return it for a touchdown. If that turned out to be the case, then Oakland would win the game since the Steelers would not have converted their fourth down play.

The referees all got together to discuss the call—two thought the play was a touchdown because both players had touched the ball at the same time, while three other refs stated they were not in a position to see exactly what had happened. After much discussion and a call to the press box where the supervisor of officials was watching the game, referee Fred Swearingen signaled that it was indeed a touchdown and the game was over.

Though many other controversial points would be debated for years to come—such as whether or not instant replay was used by Swearingen and/or people in the press box…or whether or not Franco Harris actually caught the ball before it hit the turf—the “Immaculate Reception” was undoubtedly one of the most incredible plays in the history of sports and will be remembered and viewed by millions for an eternity.


Some excellent photos and description on USA TODAY: http://www.usatoday.com/media/cinematic/gallery/1778103/


by Dawgmaticå

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Louis Lipps

louis "not lisa" lipps

Louis Lipps may not have been the best wide receiver in Pittsburgh Steelers history, but it would be hard to mention the likes of John Stallworth, Hines Ward and Lynn Swann without throwing the name Louis Lipps into the mix.

Lipps spent his college career as a return specialist/wide receiver for the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles, though he never really made a name for himself during his four years on the team. The Steelers, however, saw something in the kid that most of the other 27 NFL teams wished they had seen…potential.

First of all, his athleticism was astounding as Lipps could blast through the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds while also being able to jump out of the gym with a vertical of 38 inches. Secondly, he had some pretty good size for that era possessing a 5’10”, 190-pound frame, so the Steelers figured he wouldn’t have too much of a problem dealing with professional defensive backs getting in his face.

So, with knowledge in hand, Pittsburgh confidently strode into the 1984 NFL Draft and selected Louis Lipps with the 23rd overall pick of the first round.

Now, looking back on the Steelers decision to grab this relatively unknown athlete in the first round of the draft, one can only be astonished at the foresight of their choice. Lipps would end up as one of only 22 players out of the 336 players selected to ever make a Pro Bowl team from the 1984 Draft Class—not counting guys like QB Steve Young and DE Reggie White, of course, who were selected in the coinciding 1984 NFL Supplemental Draft of USFL and CFL Players that year.

Louis would immediately make his presence known on the field by catching 45 passes for 860 yards while scoring 11 total touchdowns for the Steel Crew. Of those 11 TDs, nine would come as a receiver while the other two scores would come on a punt return and a rush—making Lipps the only player in the league that season to score touchdowns in three different ways. His strong numbers not only earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, but were also enough to get him the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award as well.

A year later, Louis Lipps would carve his mark on the NFL landscape even deeper.

The Steelers #83 improved upon each of his numbers from the previous season grabbing 59 balls for 1,134 yards while catching 12 TDs, rushing for one and returning two more punts for touchdowns. Again, Lipps efforts would earn him a second straight Pro Bowl selection as Pittsburgh named him the Team MVP for the 1985 season.

His following two seasons (1986-87) were marred by injury, but Lipps would return to play at a relatively high level during 61 of the team’s next 64 games from 1988-91. He put up 50 or more catches in each of those four seasons, but Lipps never again went over the 1,000-yard mark or totaled more than six touchdowns in any single year.

On the Pittsburgh Steelers all-time list, Louis Lipps ranks third in receptions (358), third in receiving yards (6,018), fifth in receiving TDs (39), fourth in punt returns (107), fourth in punt return yardage (1,212), second in punt return TDs (3), and second in All-Purpose Yards (7,193).


Louis Lipps career stats


by Dawgmaticå

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The Pittsburgh Steelerettes

pittsburgh steelerettes

The Pittsburgh Steelerettes was a short-lived cheerleading squad that lasted from 1961 to 1969, at which time the crew dissolved and have not been reassembled to this day. It was comprised of a group of young women from a small university just outside of Pittsburgh named Robert Morris Junior College (now Robert Morris University) and was organized by an administrator at the college named William Day. You can read and learn about their year-to-year triumphs and travails here:


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Behind the Numbers

The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of many teams who do not retire Jersey numbers, although Ernie Stautner #70(for more information on Stautner, http://www.cmgww.com/football/stautner/) is the only player in team history to have his number retired by the team.  Then there are some numbers that Hall of Famers wore that are still being worn by players today like Mel Blount, Joe Greene, Lynn Swann and John Stallworth.  Then there are other Hall of Famers whose numbers have not been worn since those players retired. 

The #12 worn by Terry Bradshaw, who was the first quarterback in the NFL to win 4 Super Bowls, has not been worn since his retirement.  The other Jersey numbers that you will never see worn again are #58 Jack Lambert, #32 Franco Harris and #52 Mike Webster.  This still bears the question, why are these numbers never worn and other are? 

In order to answer this we have to look at number designations.  Prior to 2004 the NFL required that wide receivers and tight ends to wear numbers in the range of 80-89.  Thus, it was an issue of eligibility since there is no way that they could have enough numbers for all the players at the positions of wide receivers and tight ends if the Steelers had retired the numbers of #82 Stallworth and #88 Swann, as the officials needed this to determine who was an eligible receiver.  In 2004 the NFL allowed 10-19 to be worn by receivers, but by then so many people had worn #82 and #88 there was no reason to retire them. 

This is much the same reason why you have not seen “Mean” Joe Greene’s #75 retired or the other members of the legendary “Steel Curtain”.  The offensive linemen must wear numbers in the range of 50-79 and that is also the same for defensive lineman, but the defensive lineman can also wear numbers in the range of 90-99.  So once again if you retire all these numbers there would not be enough numbers to field a team. 

The Steelers are also in a lucky situation due to their history of great players.   If they were to start retiring numbers who gets theirs retired and who gets left out.  The Steelers have 20 players that are in the Hall of Fame, so that would take 20 numbers out right there and that does not count current players that have a chance to be Hall of Famers as well and those players who are yet to come.  Franchises with great histories like the Steelers are lucky to have this dilemma.  

By Houdini

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The Steelers!!! Could they have been called anything else?

The Pittsburgh Steelers were not always the Steelers.  The Steelers have actually gone through three name changes during their history.  The team originally began their existence as the Pittsburgh Pirates until owner Art Rooney changed the name to the Steelers in 1940. 

Then in 1943, during WWII, the Steelers were merged with the Philadelphia Eagles as the war depleted rosters and the team was then known as the “Steagles”.  The very next year the Steelers were then merged with the Chicago Cardinals and became know by the most exciting team name ever created the “Card-Pitt” team. 

Here is the little know fact about the name change made by Art Rooney in 1940.  At the time fans were encouraged to send their suggestions for the new name to the team in order to generate involvement and fan support.  There were many people who suggested the winning name of “Steelers” to reflect the city’s main source of employment, and those who suggested the name of “Steelers” were rewarded with season tickets. 

By Houdini

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The Terrible Towel story

The Terrible Towel is synonymous with the Pittsburgh Steelers and was the invention of Myron Cope, who was a broadcaster for the Steelers and was using this as a gimmick to get the fans energized during the 1975 playoff game with Baltimore Colts.  He called for people to bring in towel so long as it was yellow or black.  The trend really caught on.

 At the time department store owners were getting really upset when they started selling large numbers of yellow and black hand towels, but no one was buying the matching bath towels.  You would not think this is such a big deal but when these towels were manufactured they were produced according to a fixed ratio of hand towels to bath towels and the manufacturers had no idea what to do. 

 As with every problem there is a solution, and a solution for this was the creation of a special souvenir version of the Terrible Towel in 1975 which had the slogan “Official Myron Cope Terrible Towel”.  These specific Terrible Towels are highly sought after.  Now the towel is bright yellow and has the words “Terrible Towel” in black, and though they are not anything super cool, every self-respecting Steelers fan owns one. 

 A portion of the proceeds from the sale of The Terrible Towel benefits the Allegheny Valley School in Pittsburgh, one of the largest providers of care for people with mental retardation in the state of Pennsylvania.

By Houdini

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The Reason the Iowa Hawkeyes look like the Steelers

If you watch a lot of college football you have probably at some point and time come across a game played by the Iowa Hawkeyes or may have at least seen some highlights.  When you see them you might at first be confused and think you are watching the Pittsburgh Steelers, because the Iowa Hawkeyes modeled their uniforms after the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Hayden Fry had taken over as the Head Coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes after building SMU into a powerhouse.  The Hawkeyes were a floundering team at the time and Hayden Fry, who had a degree in Psychology, wanted to change the perception of his team and it did pass his eye that the colors of the Hawkeyes were black and gold. 

Fry originally asked “Mean” Joe Greene for a replica helmet and home jersey, which Greene in turn put Fry in touch with Chuck Knoll, and three days later, the Rooney’s sent Fry reproduction copies of the home and away uniform of Terry Bradshaw, making Iowa one of only a few schools to use the uniform scheme of an NFL team.  Although the uniforms appear to be the same, there are subtle differences which can be more easily seen in the white away jersey where the players names are in black for Hawkeyes but yellow for the Steelers. 

When the change was made there was questions to Hayden Fry as to why he would want to do this.  The answer for Fry was quite simple, “We changed our image and at least when we run out on the field or break the huddle, we will look like winners”.  Fry also painted the visitors’ locker room pink at Kinnick Stadium in order to subdue the opposition at half time.  Once the colors were changed the Hawkeyes went the Rose Bowl Bowl 3 times and took the Hawkeyes to 14 Bowl Games including 8 a Bowl game 8 years in a row between 81’-88’.  

By Houdini

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Mean Joe Greene and the Coke commercial

“Mean” Joe Greene was a former NFL first-round pick (4th overall); the 1969 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year; a two-time Defensive Player of the Year; a 10-time Pro Bowler; a part of the 1970s All-Decade Team; a four-time Super Bowl Champion; a first-ballot Hall of Famer and generally considered to be one of the top 15-20 players of all-time. Yet still to this day, Greene is probably most remembered for his role in the “Hey kid, catch!” Coca-Cola commercial which first aired in late 1979.

In the commercial, which was aired in front of millions of people during Super Bowl XIV in 1980, a young kid walks into the tunnel leading back to the Steelers locker room where he spots an injured “Mean” Joe Greene and offers him a Coke. Greene refuses at first, but eventually gives in and downs the whole bottle. In return, as the boy is walking away, Greene stops him short when he spurts out one of the most memorable lines in TV commercial history; “Hey kid, catch!”

The short yet endearing commercial has been listed by numerous sources as one of the top ten commercials of all-time and has been reenacted by various other sports starts in many other countries. It has also been parodied on numerous occasions throughout the years in episodes of comedic shows such as The Simpsons and Family Guy as well as in an ad for the dramatic TV show, House.

by Dawgmaticå

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Steeler Prides Rides High on the Duquensne Incline

deee fense duquense incline

The Duquensne Incline has scaled the side of Mount Washington since May 20th 1877.  It is an over century old cable car and offers one of the best views of downtown Pittsburgh and is one of the few remaining cable car inclines in the country.  When it opened the Duquesne Incline was one of four inclined planes serving the summit of Coal Hill, which later became Mount Washington.  The Incline was restored in by a group of local residents in 1963 and is still a trip back in time today with its original, elegant wooden cable cars.

What also makes this special to Steelers fans is that on game day a sign is added to each of the two cars.  The sign on the left one reads “DEEE” and the sign on the right car reads “FENSE”.  When the cars pass each other at the halfway point of the Incline they read “DEEE FENSE” and the lighted signs can be seen from Heinz Field. 

by Houdini

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The Steelmark

steelers logo

The Steelers also have one of the most recognizable helmets in the NFL.  They are the only team in the NFL that has a logo on just one side of the helmet.  Helmet logos became popular in the 1950’s and the Steelers used to have gold helmets with the players numbers on them and then had plain gold helmets until 1962.  It was that year that Cleveland’s (yes that is right Cleveland not Pittsburgh) Republic Steel suggested that the Steelers use the Steelmark as a helmet logo.    

The Steelmark logo is based on the logo of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI).  The logo contains three diamonds which U.S. Steel attached the following meaning:  Steel lightens your work, brightens your leisure and widens your world.  Further the logos meaning also had to do with the three materials that were used to produce steel: yellow for coal, orange for ore and blue for steel scrap.  The logo was used in a major marketing campaign to educate consumers about how important steel is in our daily lives and was used in print, radio and television ads as well as on labels for all steel products. 

Before the helmet became official the Steelers had one more step to go through.  They had to petition the AISI in order to change the word “Steel” inside the Steelmark to “Steelers”.  Then there is the reason why they only have the logo on one side of the helmet.  At first it was temporary because the Steelers were not sure they would like the look of the logo on an all-gold helmet.  Jack Hart, the team’s equipment manager, was instructed to put the logo on the right sides of the helmets only.  The Steelers finished the 1962 season 9-5 and finished second in the Eastern Conference and qualified for the Playoff Bowl.  Since this was their first postseason game in team history they wanted to do something special, so they changed the color of their helmets from gold to black and the logo stood out even more.  Due to the interest generated by having the logo on only one side of their helmets and the new found success, the Steelers decided to leave it that way.  The helmet today reflects the way the logo was originally applied and it has never been changed.

by Houdini

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Steel curtain

The “Steel Curtain”, the menacing defensive line of the Steelers of the 70’s was made up of “Mean” Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood, Dwight White and Ernie Holmes.  The helped lead the Steelers to 4 Super Bowl victories (IX,X,XIII and XIV) The name stemmed from a radio competition on WTAE where they wanted a name for this defense.  17 people submitted the name and it was the winner and it took with the rest of the city.  The members of the “Steel Curtain” were arguably the most feared and respected front four to ever play the game.  

The “Steel Curtain” made their presence felt in the 1976 season, and you can make the argument that this was the greatest defense of all time.  The Steelers began the season 1-4 and then lost Terry Bradshaw which would spell doom for most any other team.  The defense led by the “Steel Curtain” rose to the challenge and over the remaining 9 games recorded 5 shutouts, including 3 in a row.  During those 9 games the Steelers allowed a total of 2 TD’s (which happened in the same game) and 5 FG’s.  It was a sick average of 3.1 pts per game against during that stretch and allowed them to attain a 22 point margin of victory over their foes. 

“Mean” Joe Greene was the standout of the bunch and made the All Pro team 10 times and twice won player of the year in 1972 and 1974.  He was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987. 

L.C. Greenwood or “Hollywood Bags” as he was called by his teammates finished his career with 73.5 sacks and shared the record for fumble recoveries within his first 2 years and finished with 14 in his career. 

Dwight White was a 2 time All Pro and finished his career with 46 sacks.

Ernie Holmes was nicknamed “Fats” and though never selected to a Pro Bowl Chuck Knoll noted his was one of the team’s best lineman in 1974 and 1975.   

By Houdini

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Bill Cowher's Mustache

Outside the football universe, Bill Cowher’s mustache is little more than a nod to 70s porn and buddy-cop movies. Within our twisted world, however, the ‘Stache makes Coach Cowher the modern day equivalent of Samson.

Both men possess(ed) divine power—Samson through his ability to singlehandedly kill lions and entire villages of Philistines—Cowher via his eight division championships in 15 years, six AFC Championships and two Super Bowl appearances (1-1). Both men found love, faced heartache and subsequently lost great women. Lastly, both men understand loyalty—Samson's devotion being to God and for Cowher, the Pittsburgh Steelers, naturally (as if there’s a difference).

Now we don’t know what would become of Coach C without the ‘Stache—maybe he really is Eliot Spitzer—but if the comparison holds true, he’d likely accept a coaching job with the Jaguars and go 4-20 over parts of two seasons.



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