As a part of the NFL’s 100th season the league recently highlighted the NFL 100 Greatest Plays, with Franco Harris’ Immaculate Reception taking top honors, and the NFL 100 Greatest Games, where the Steelers were once again featured, and the NFL 100 Greatest Characters, highlighting Steelers players and coaches, and NFL 100 Game Changers, with late Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney one of them.
For the next two weeks the league will highlight the NFL 100 Greatest Teams, the final installment of the features.
And yes, the Steelers are featured multiple times, including four in the ranking from 31-100.
No. 90 - 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
Super Bowl XL
After falling just short of their goal a year before, losing in the AFC Championship game after a 15-1 regular season, the Steelers hit pay dirt when they defeated the Seattle Seahawks, 21-10, in Super Bowl XL.
Running back Jerome Bettis contemplated retirement after the 2004 season, but teammates convinced him to come back for one more year and dedicated themselves to getting to Super Bowl XL, which was in Bettis’ hometown of Detroit.
Behind quarterback Ben Roethlisberger the Steelers got off to a 7-2 start, but had a setback when Roethlisberger missed the next game in Baltimore, and Tommy Maddox couldn’t pull out the win. Even with Roethlisberger back, the Steelers lost the next to, falling to 7-5 on the season. But they rebounded strong, winning the final four games to finish the season with an 11-5 record.
Heading into the playoffs as the No. 6 seed, the Steelers had a tough road ahead. But they were up for the challenge. They defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, 31-17, in the Wild Card round, and went on to beat the Indianapolis Colts in 21-18 in a literal nail biter. In the AFC Championship game the Steelers defeated the Denver Broncos, 34-17, becoming the first No. 6 seed to make it to the Super Bowl. They went on to defeat the Seahawks, and Bettis retired postgame right in his hometown.
No. 62 - 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers
Super Bowl XLIII Champions
The Steelers etched their name in the record books becoming the first team to win six Super Bowl championships when they defeated the Arizona Cardinals, 27-23, in Super Bowl XLIII.
The team came into the season as defending AFC North champs and faced one of their toughest schedules in 30 years. In just his second season, Mike Tomlin led his team to a 12-4 record and a second straight AFC North title, while James Harrison was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.
The defense was one of the best in the history of the organization, with defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau’s zone blitz bringing ‘Blitzburgh’ back, and the defense ranked No. 1 overall in the NFL.
In the postseason the Steelers defeated the San Diego Chargers and then beat the Baltimore Ravens for the third time that season to win the AFC Championship. They went on to win Super Bowl XLIII over the Cardinals, thanks to some last minute heroics on a catch by Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes.
No. 43 - 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers
Super Bowl IX Champions
The Steelers won the franchise’s first Super Bowl, defeating the Minnesota Vikings, 16-6, in Super Bowl IX.
After appearing in the playoffs the previous two seasons, the Steelers were looking to finally take that next step. Terry Bradshaw, who had been the starter the previous two seasons, lost his job to open the season in favor of Joe Gilliam. Despite a 4-1-1 record, Gilliam struggled and Bradshaw took over as the starter. Bradshaw led the team to wins in the next two games, but after a loss was benched again in favor of Terry Hanratty. It wouldn’t be long, though, that Bradshaw would be back at the helm, and the Steel Curtain defense would hold down the fort as well.
The Steelers defeated the Buffalo Bills in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, holding O.J. Simpson to just 49 yards rushing. In the AFC Championship game they defeated the Oakland Raiders while producing over 200 yards rushing. They went on to defeat the Vikings in Super Bowl IX.
No. 39 - 1979 Pittsburgh Steelers
Super Bowl XIV Champions
The Steelers made history when they won the franchise’s fourth Super Bowl, defeating the Los Angeles Rams, 31-19, in Super Bowl XIV.
The team opened the season with a 4-0 record, extending their record from the previous season to 12 wins in a row. The Steelers finished with a 12-4 record, and in six games held their opponents to a touchdown or less.
In the postseason the Steelers defeated the Miami Dolphins, 34-14, and beat the Houston Oilers, 27-13, before winning Super Bowl XIV.