Are the Pittsburgh Steelers On The Verge Of a New Dynasty?
Well Steeler fans, here we are again. For the seventh time in our history we are going to the Super Bowl!
We all know the story of the 1970's. Our team was the greatest franchise in the NFL, led by a stifling defense, a few marquee receivers, a great running game, and a cannon armed young quarterback. With this formula we became the first team to win four Lombardi Trophies.
Our team was consistently a playoff team throughout the 80's and 90's, but only made it to he big game once. I'm not going to talk about what happened in that game.
The 2000's started well for our franchise, reaching the AFC Championship game in 2001. We had home-field advantage and were on the verge of going to the Super Bowl. We lost. To the Patriots.
We made the playoffs but struggled to find our franchise guy at the quarterback position. Luckily we still had the defense and running game.
At the beginning of the 2004 season Tommy Gun went down and we saw this young guy come in with an impossible to spell last name. He lost in that first game and we all were thinking only bad things could come.
Well it looks like this sense of unease was wasted as the big guy didn't lose another regular season game. He lead the team into the playoffs with the best record in franchise history, 15-1.
We narrowly beat the Jets at home in the divisional round and blamed it on rookie jitters. Hopefully it would subside as our next opponent was, that's right, the Patriots.
We lost another home AFC Championship game to New England. Their route to dynasty came through Pittsburgh. If it serves as some consolation, that easily cemented us as one of the better teams of the decade, always finishing right behind New England.
The next year we did pretty well, finishing 11-5, but that wasn't good enough to win the division. Our first playoff round was against the Bengals, the AFC North Champion Bengals.
No one gave us a chance, as they had already beaten us and looked to preform well in the playoffs. We beat them, soundly.
If analysts were to be believed we might as well have not shown up to the next game against Indy. Though the score was close, the game really wasn't. If it weren't for the refs it wouldn't have mattered if Big Ben made his "Tackle" or not.
Here we won our fifth Super Bowl championship and became the only sixth seeded team to do so.
We started a trend as teams with fewer and fewer wins were going further in the playoffs. This year two sixth seeded teams were in Championship games. Two teams also had fewer than 10 wins.
Long story short were in the Super Bowl again looking to be the first team in NFL history to win six times.
Assuming we win, (and I'm not saying this as if the story is already written, I'm imagining a world in which we do win) we will have once again proved ourselves to be the greatest franchise in NFL history.
History is great, but does this game potentially mark the beginning of a new Steelers Dynasty. I personally believe that it does.
Earlier I laid out the model of our 1970's dynasty. Why did I do this you ask? Because it is the same team we have now.
We have a great defense, we always do, but think about these comparisons.
Big Ben is the new Terry Bradshaw. Remember Bradshaw didn't even step into his hall-of-fame self until his fifth year. This is that year for Ben and he already has a ring.
Ward and Holmes can be the new Swan and Stallworth, Hines may not have much time left in his career but some of our younger receivers may develop into great players. They show signs of it now.
Our running game has a new style, but can still be as effective with a combination of backs serving to fill the holes left by Harris and Bleier.
So with all of this information consider the following.
We have been in four AFC Championships and two Super Bowls in the past decade, only the Patriots can claim to have bested us.
With Tom Brady's return date in question, and his effectiveness upon that return in even more doubt, anything goes in the AFC. We have met the Patriots twice in nine years in the AFC Championship and have been in two others.
If they don't have Tom Brady, do we succeed them as the favored team in the AFC?
With the Steelers annually preforming very well, and with the most recent success I have to ask, Steeler fans do we have another dynasty on our hands?
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