Ranking the 10 Best Pittsburgh Steelers Teams in Franchise History

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Ranking the 10 Best Pittsburgh Steelers Teams in Franchise History
Image courtesy of bhamsteelers.com

For the last 40 seasons, the Pittsburgh Steelers have demonstrated a consistent excellence, resulting in more playoff appearances, AFC Championships and Lombardi Trophies than any other team in the modern NFL.

Before that, the franchise, celebrating its 80th birthday in 2012, was a laughingstock. Barring a few isolated and rare winning seasons, the Black and Gold had difficulty figuring out that bloodied lips and bruised ribs didn't produce points on the scoreboard, as their opponents would often leave the field battered, beaten and victorious.

How anemic were the Steelers in the win column? Consider the plight of two bad decades of Pittsburgh Pirates baseball.

Then, multiply by two!

In the late 60s, head coach Chuck Noll was brought on to create the first consistent winner in franchise history.  Remaining was the physical play and lost was the losing.  Finally, the team was able to shake its infancy after 40 years!

Since the Steelers dynasty of the 70s, high expectations have remained a trademark of Black and Gold football.

Names like Ben and Bradshaw, Antonio and Santonio and Greenwood and Greene come to mind when recounting the last four decades of proud Pittsburgh play, an era comprised of great teams whose fates may have varied but whose bond with Steeler Nation never wavered.

Beauty, a noun defined by the eye of the beholder, is the Lombardi Trophy for any proud Pittsburgh fan.  Whether hoisted by Art Rooney himself, his son Dan or beloved grandson Art Jr., these seasons, which the real fans can name out loud without missing a beat—1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 2005, 2008—had the most fitting endings. The Steelers achieved their goal of winning the Super Bowl.

To ask many fans about the best Steelers season in history is to effectively ask for a ranking of the six campaigns listed above.

However, many of the best teams in franchise history did not finish with the Lombardi Trophy in hand, a disappointing reality. 

When considering the 10 best teams in Steelers history, winning the NFL championship is a factor, but it is not an exclusive determinant.  As such, many fans will be surprised to discover a few hardware-lacking squads breaking into the top handful of all-time Steelers installments.

Conversely, it is likely no surprise to most that the list is comprised exclusively of teams that played no longer ago than 1972. 

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