Biography of The Pitsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a professional American football team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They are currently a member of the North Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League. Founded in 1933, the Steelers are the oldest franchise in the AFC. Pittsburgh has won more Super Bowl titles (six), won more AFC Championship Games (seven) and hosted more conference championship games (ten) than any other AFC or NFC team. They have played in more AFC conference championship games than any other team and are tied with the Dallas Cowboys with 14 championship game appearances in either the NFC or AFC contests. With the exception of the 1960s which featured only three Super Bowls, the Steelers have appeared in at least one Super Bowl in every decade of the contest. The Steelers won their most recent championship, Super Bowl XLIII, on February 1, 2009.

The fifth-oldest franchise in the NFL, the Steelers were founded as the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 8, 1933, by Art Rooney, taking its original name from the National League baseball team of the same name, as was common practice for NFL teams to do at the time. The ownership of the Steelers has remained within the Rooney family since its founding. The current owner is Art’s son, Dan Rooney, who has given much control of the franchise to his son Art Rooney II.
The team enjoys a large, widespread fanbase nicknamed Steeler Nation and currently play their home games in Heinz Field on Pittsburgh’s North Side, which also hosts the University of Pittsburgh Panthers. Built in 2001, the stadium replaced Three Rivers Stadium which hosted the Steelers for 31 seasons. Prior to Three Rivers, the Steelers had played their games in Pitt Stadium and Forbes Field.

Franchise history
The Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL first took to the field as the Pittsburgh Pirates on September 20, 1933, losing 23–2 to the New York Giants. Through the 1930s, the Pirates never finished higher than second place in their division, or with a record better than .500 (1936).[ Pittsburgh did make history in 1938 by signing Byron White, a future Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, to what was at the time the biggest contract in NFL history, but he played only one year with the Pirates before signing with the Detroit Lions. Prior to the 1940 season, the Pirates renamed themselves the Steelers.

During World War II, the Steelers experienced player shortages. They twice merged with other NFL franchises to field a team. During the 1943 season, they merged with the Philadelphia Eagles forming the “Phil-Pitt Eagles” and were known as the “Steagles.” This team went 5–4–1. In 1944, they merged with the Chicago Cardinals and were known as Card-Pitt (or, mockingly, as the “Carpets”). This team finished 0–10, marking the only winless team in franchise history.

The Steelers made the playoffs for the first time in 1947, sharing first place in the division at 8–4 with the Philadelphia Eagles. This forced a tie-breaking playoff game at Forbes Field, which the Steelers lost 21–0. That would be Pittsburgh’s only playoff game for 25 years, though the Steelers did qualify for a “Playoff Bowl” in 1963 as the second-best team in their conference, though not considered an official playoff.

In 1970, the year they moved into Three Rivers Stadium and the year of the AFL-NFL merger, the Pittsburgh Steelers were one of three old-guard NFL teams to switch to the newly-formed American Football Conference (the others being the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Colts), in order to equalize the number of teams in the two conferences of the newly-merged league.

Logo and uniforms
The Steelers have used black and gold as their colors since the club’s inception, the lone exception being the 1943 season when they merged with the Philadelphia Eagles and formed the “Steagles”; the team’s colors at that time were green and white as a result of wearing Eagles uniforms. Originally, the team wore solid gold-colored helmets and black jerseys. Unique to Pittsburgh, the Steelers’ black and gold colors are now shared by all major professional teams in the city, including the Pittsburgh Pirates in baseball and the Pittsburgh Penguins in hockey. However, the Penguins use “Vegas Gold”, a color similar to metallic gold, and the Pirates’ gold is a darker mustard yellow-gold, while the Steelers “gold” is more of a bright canary yellow. Black and gold are also the colors of the city’s official flag.

The Steelers logo was introduced in 1962 and is based on the “Steelmark,” originally designed by Pittsburgh’s U.S. Steel and now owned by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI). In fact, it was Cleveland-based Republic Steel that suggested the Steelers adopt the industry logo. It consists of the word “Steelers” surrounded by three astroids (hypocycloids of four cusps). The original meanings behind the astroids were, “Steel lightens your work, brightens your leisure, and widens your world.” Later, the colors came to represent the ingredients used in the steel-making process: yellow for coal, red for iron ore, and blue for scrap steel. While the formal Steelmark logo contains only the word “Steel,” the team was given permission to add “ers” in 1963 after a petition to AISI.

The Steelers are the only NFL team that puts its logo on only one side of the helmet (the right side). Longtime field and equipment manager Jack Hart was instructed to do this by Art Rooney as a test to see how the logo appeared on the gold helmets; however, its popularity led the team to leave it that way permanently. A year after introducing the logo, they switched to black helmets to make it stand out more.
The current uniform designs were introduced in 1968. The design consists of gold pants and either black jerseys or white jerseys, except for the 1970 and 1971seasons when the Steelers wore white pants with their white jerseys. In 1997, the team switched to rounded numbers on the jersey to match the number font (Futura Condensed) on the helmets, and a Steelers logo was added to the left side of the jersey.

The current third uniform, consisting of a black jersey with gold lettering, white pants with black and gold stripes, and a gold helmet were first used during the Steelers’ 75th anniversary season in 2007. They were meant to evoke the memory of the 1963–1964 era uniforms. The uniforms were so popular among fans that the Steeler organization decided to keep them and use them as a third option during home games only.
In 2008–2009, the Steelers became the first team in NFL history to defeat an opponent three times in a single season using three different uniforms. They defeated the Baltimore Ravens in Pittsburgh in Week 4 in their third jerseys, again Week 15 in Baltimore in their road whites, and a final time in the AFC Championship in Pittsburgh in their home black jerseys.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have three primary rivals, all within their division: (Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, and Cincinnati Bengals). They also have rivalries with other teams that arose from post-season battles in the past, most notably the New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys. They also have an intrastate rivalry with the Philadelphia Eagles, but under the current scheduling rules the teams only play each other once every four years.

Divisional rivals
1.The Cleveland Browns and the Steelers have been divisional rivals since the two cities’ teams began playing against each other in 1950. After posting a 9–31 record in first 40 games of the series between the two cities, the Steelers recently took over the all-time series lead for the first time ever (60–56); partly due to their dominance over the post-1999, Cleveland Browns (or “New Browns”) franchise and won the last twelve straight before the Browns snapped their losing skid against them by beating them 13–6 on December 10, 2009. Additionally, the Browns lost 16 straight years in Pittsburgh from 1970–1985 and posted an abysmal 5–24 record at Three Rivers Stadium overall. Former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher coached the Browns special teams and secondary before following Marty Schottenheimer for a brief tenure as Kansas City Defensive Coordinator, and then hired by Pittsburgh. This has only intensified the rivalry.

2.The Baltimore Ravens and the Steelers have had several memorable match-ups and have a bitter divisional rivalry. Both teams handed the other their first losses at their current home fields. The Steelers won the inaugural game played at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium in 1998, 20–13, and three years later the Ravens handed the Steelers their first-ever loss at Heinz Field, 13–10. Later that season (2001) Pittsburgh won a divisional playoff game 27–10 against Baltimore, who was the defending Super Bowl champion. During their NFL championship season in 2000, the Ravens defeated the Steelers in Pittsburgh, 16–0, in the season opener with the Steelers later exacting revenge, 9–6, in Baltimore (the Ravens’ final loss of the season). During the Steelers 2008 Championship run, they beat the Ravens three times, including a win in the AFC Championship game. The Steelers lead the series (begun in 1996), 16–10. The two teams complement each other by consistently fielding strong defenses in their division. The Steelers-Ravens Rivalry really began when Art Modell moved the his Franchise from Cleveland to Baltimore. “The Steelers saw the Ravens as Modell’s team, which was reason enough to want to beat them. The Steelers also looked at Modell’s move of his franchise from Cleveland to Baltimore as taking away the Steelers longest and deepest rivalry away.”

3.The Cincinnati Bengals rivalry with Pittsburgh dates from the 1970 season, when the NFL-AFL merger was completed. In 1976, the Steelers kept their playoff hopes alive (they later won the division) with a late-season 7–3 win in snowy Cincinnati. One of the most memorable games was the 2005 AFC Wildcard playoff game, in which the Steelers, en route to a Super Bowl title, won a 31–17 come-from-behind victory after Bengals QB Carson Palmer was forced to leave the game with a knee injury. The knee injury happened when nose tackle Kimo von Oelhoffen fell forward into Palmer’s knee. The Bengals players called this a dirty play, the NFL ruled that it was accidental and did not fine von Oelhoffen for the hit. This incident has led to an intensifying of the rivalry since this game. The Bengals beat the Steelers in week 13 of the 2005 season 38–31, and wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh used a Terrible Towel to polish his cleats while walking up the tunnel after the game, fueling the rivalry. The Steelers and Bengals finished 2005 and 2006 with identical records (11–5 and 8–8 respectively), splitting both regular-season series, the Bengals winning the tiebreaker both years due to having a superior division record. The Steelers also are responsible for ending the Bengals’ season in Cincinnati two years in a row, eliminating them from the playoffs in 2005 and taking them out of contention in 2006. The Steelers lead the all-time series, 47–30.

In 2001 the Steelers moved into Heinz Field as their football-only state-of-the-art stadium. But the franchise dating back to 1933 has had several homes. For thirty-one seasons the Steelers shared Forbes Field with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1933 to 1963. In 1958 though they started splitting their home games with the football only Pitt Stadium three blocks away at the University of Pittsburgh. From 1964 to 1969 the Steelers played exclusively at the on campus facility before moving with the Pirates to Three Rivers Stadium on the city’s Northside. Three Rivers is remembered fondly by the Steeler Nation as where Chuck Noll and Dan Rooney turned the franchise into a powerhouse, winning four Super Bowls in just six seasons and making the playoffs 11 times in 13 seasons from 1972 to 1984, the AFC title game seven times. Since 2001 however a new generation of Steeler greats has made Heinz Field legendary with multiple AFC Championship Games being hosted and two Super Bowl championships.
Current roster
Pittsburgh Steelers roster
view • talk • edit

• 16 Charlie Batch
• 2 Dennis Dixon
• 7 Ben Roethlisberger
Running Backs
• 49 Sean McHugh FB/TE
• 34 Rashard Mendenhall
• 21 Mewelde Moore
• 33 Isaac Redman
• 44 Frank Summers FB
• 28 Justin Vincent
Wide Receivers
• 81 Arnaz Battle
• 13 Jason Chery
• 19 Tyler Grisham
• 11 Stefan Logan
• 15 Brandon London
• 82 Antwaan Randle El
• 14 Limas Sweed
• 17 Mike Wallace
• 86 Hines Ward
Tight Ends
• 87 Eugene Bright
• 85 David Johnson
• 83 Heath Miller
Offensive Linemen
• 79 Trai Essex G
• 73 Ramon Foster G/T
• 62 Justin Hartwig C
• 66 Tony Hills T
• 68 Chris Kemoeatu G
• 64 Doug Legursky C
• 67 Jonathan Scott T
• 78 Max Starks T
• 65 Kraig Urbik G
Defensive Linemen
• 93 Nick Eason DE
• 98 Casey Hampton NT
• 77 Ra’Shon Harris DE
• 76 Chris Hoke NT
• 96 Ziggy Hood DE
• 99 Brett Keisel DE
• 69 Steve McLendon DE
• 71 Scott Paxson NT
• 91 Aaron Smith DE Linebackers
• 55 Patrick Bailey OLB
• 45 Derrick Doggett ILB
• 51 James Farrior ILB
• 50 Larry Foote ILB
• 57 Keyaron Fox ILB
• 54 Andre Frazier OLB
• 92 James Harrison OLB
• 94 Lawrence Timmons ILB
• 53 Johnny Williams ILB
• 48 Renauld Williams ILB
• 56 LaMarr Woodley OLB
Defensive Backs
• 40 Will Allen FS
• 27 Joe Burnett CB
• 25 Ryan Clark FS
• 31 Tuff Harris SS
• 20 Keenan Lewis CB
• 37 Anthony Madison CB
• 29 Ryan Mundy FS
• 30 David Pittman CB
• 43 Troy Polamalu SS
• 24 Ike Taylor CB
• 35 Trae Williams CB
Special Teams
• 5 Piotr Czech K
• 8 Adam Graessle P
• 3 Jeff Reed K
• 61 Jared Retkofsky LS
• 60 Greg Warren LS
Reserve Lists
• Currently vacant

Restricted FAs
• 74 Willie Colon OT
• 22 William Gay CB
• 9 Daniel Sepulveda P
• 89 Matt Spaeth TE

Rookies in italics
Roster updated April 13, 2010
Depth Chart • Transactions
66 Active, 0 Inactive, 4 FAs
? More rosters

Steeler Nation
Steeler Nation is the unofficial name of the fan base of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, coined by NFL Films narrator John Facenda in “Blueprint for Victory,” the team’s 1975 highlights film. Steeler Country is often used for the Pittsburgh area where the fan base originates or for areas with a large Steelers fan base.
Early years

The Steelers have had a following in Western Pennsylvania since Art Rooney bought the team with $2,500 of his own money, and not, as myth would have it, from his winnings as a horse race handicapper. That year, Pennsylvania relaxed its blue laws allowing sporting events in the commonwealth on Sundays, paving the way for the Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles to begin play for the 1933 NFL season. Previously, the state had teams in Pottsville and Frankford, but both had already folded, due to both the Great Depression and their inability to play on Sunday, when most NFL games took place.
Much like the league itself in the early years, the Steelers had to compete with baseball and college football teams in the city, making the team third in the hierarchy to the Pirates and the Pitt Panthers. Despite the team’s early struggles, it had a small but loyal fan base in the city due to the popularity of American football at all levels, dating back to the 1800s, when Pittsburgh hosted the first wholly professional football game in 1895.

Rise of the Steelers
By the 1950s, the Steelers had gained some popularity in the city and were on par with Pitt, but they were still a distant second behind the Pirates in the city.
In the early 1970s, the Steelers began to rise in popularity, due to changes made by the team in 1969 that saw the hiring of head coach Chuck Noll and the drafting of future Hall of Fame defensive tackle “Mean Joe” Greene. By 1972, the Steelers were a playoff contender and began a sellout streak in Three Rivers Stadium that carried over to Heinz Field and still stands to this day. The team is second to the Washington Redskins for the longest active consecutive sellout streak in league history.
The team’s four Super Bowl victories in the 1970s coincided with the a recession that struck the United States, and the city in particular, that would lead to the closure of several steel mills in the early 1980s. The team’s success was credited with giving people in the city hope and leading to the increased fan base. Due to economic uncertainty in the area, many Steelers fans relocated to other areas but retained their identification with the Steelers as a reflection of their former hometown’s steel industrial base.

During the lead up to Super Bowl XIII between the Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys, Phil Musick contrasted the Dallas and Pittsburgh fans by saying that “Dallas is superfan Whistling Ray and a hat that sprays the unsuspecting with water; Pittsburgh is a guy in a gorilla suit who’ll stove five of your ribs if you laugh at him.”

Player fan clubs
In the 1970’s many fans organized fan clubs for their favorite players. Some of these fan clubs included Franco’s Italian Army, Frenchy’s Foreign Legion, Gerela’s Gorillas, Bradshaw’s Brigade, Lambert’s Lunatics, Dobre Shunka (Good Ham, for Jack Ham),Rocky and the Flying Squirrels, Shell’s Bombers, and Russell’s Raiders among others.

Since the 1970s, the Steelers have enjoyed a large fan base and have eclipsed the Pittsburgh Pirates as the most popular sports team in Pittsburgh. While the team’s success gained it a large fan base nationally, many consider the collapse of the city’s steel industry to have been a cause for the strong fan base in other cities, demonstrated when teams whose home turnout would otherwise require a local blackout on television end up selling out when hosting the Steelers. The Cincinnati Bengals are perhaps the best example of this, as throughout the 1990s, the team usually only sold out home games when playing against the Steelers. Another instance of the team’s large fan base was at Super Bowl XL, where an columnist suggested that Steelers fans outnumbered Seattle Seahawks fans more than 25 to 1.
In November 2007, a study by Turnkey Sports found that the Steelers brand was the strongest in its local market of any team in the NHL, NBA, MLB or NFL.

Another study found that the percentage of female fans in the Pittsburgh market was more than double the average.

Comparison to other NFL fans
Attempts at quantifying the loyalty of Steeler Nation relative to other NFL fan bases have shown mixed results. A 2006 study by the American City Business Journals placed the team’s fans 21st out of 32 teams in the league, behind all three of its division rivals in the AFC North. The study found that although the team had been selling out games for years, some fans were not actually attending the games, and Pittsburgh’s weekly turnout percentage for home games was 16th in the league. That ranking was down seven slots from the publication’s survey conducted in 1997, which ranked Steeler Nation 14th out of 30 teams, partly due to fans leaving nearly 10 percent of the seats in the stadium empty. Conversely,
A 2008 study from ranked Pittsburgh fans 8th overall, citing amongst other things a long season-ticket waiting list.

A 2008 article for ranked Steelers fans as the best in the NFL, citing their “unbelievable” sellout streak of 299 consecutive games.

Like other large and vocal fan bases, such as the Cleveland Browns’ Dawg Pound or fans of the New York Yankees, Steeler Nation has at times been presented in an unflattering light, especially by fans of other teams. They have occasionally been described in unflattering terms by sports journalists in other cities. For example, prior to Super Bowl XLIII, the Phoenix New Times warned fans of the Arizona Cardinals that Steelers fans were the “grubbiest, loudest, and nastiest fan base in all of sports — as well as one of the largest” and being the only NFL team based in Appalachia, that they were “white trash” and “hillbillies.” Steelers fans have also been singled out by newspapers in rival cities for inappropriate behavior during games — a common problem in the NFL

Anti–Steeler Nation sentiment has grown strong enough that in some cases, front offices for other teams have taken steps to keep Pittsburgh fans out of games in their cities. Instead of being permitted to buy tickets to a Chargers-Steelers game in San Diego, for instance, they were required to pay for tickets to two other games, as well. In other cases, teams refused to sell tickets to fans calling from Pittsburgh’s 412 area code, and they encouraged fans who were selling their own tickets to do the same. Steelers President Art Rooney II complained to the NFL about the situation, but his grievance was not well received.

Famous fans
One notable members of Steeler Nation include President Barack Obama, rapper Snoop Dogg, actors Burt Reynolds and Michael Keaton, former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling, former CIA Director Michael Hayden, talk show host Rush Limbaugh, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, country music legend Hank Williams, Jr., author John Grisham, actor Verne Troyer, musician Bret Michaels, and PGA Tour golfer Jim Furyk.