Many will argue that this generation of teams is ranked too high, having fallen just short of the ultimate goal.
Skeptics, bear in mind that they played in an era dominated by NFC teams that ranked among the best football squads of all-time. As such, they simply had the misfortune of encountering a dynasty in Super Bowl XXX. Frankly, they should have won anyway.
Quite frankly, the 1994-95 Steelers couldn't pick and choose their opponent. Are you really going to try telling me they couldn't have beaten the '05 Seahawks or '08 Cardinals? And, no, I'm not trying to take anything away from the '05 or '08 championship Steelers.
The Black and Gold of the early Cowher era may not have won Super Bowls; the coach had much left to learn about winning in the playoffs, the franchise had yet to find their quarterback of the future.
Frankly, the team would have won Super Bowls (plural) with a Roethlisberger or a Bradshaw.
Still, the team was loaded in many other areas and Neil O'Donnell was certainly a competent quarterback (minus one particularly important game).
They had a mack offensive line. Their defensive front was, for a lack of desire to use a more sophisticated word, studly. The secondary featured potential Hall of Fame talent.
The run game got the job done, particularly during Barry Foster's 1994 rampage. And, while the passing game took time to develop, it eventually became a full-fledged offensive threat.
Few will debate that they had the roster to win the big game. Falling three yards and an inexplicable interception short of potential championship greatness in back to back seasons, it was clear that the star-studded roster of the mid-90s was a mere piece short of Super Bowl glory.
The first painful playoff exit came against the Chargers in January '95.
The emptiness felt by Steelers fans was illustrated as they exited Three Rivers Stadium at the conclusion of 1994-95 AFC Championship Game.
Walking the endless circular ramp out of the old bowl was to be among virtual zombies who happened to be garbed with Terrible Towels, drones of the men, women and older children that moments earlier were rife with optimism.
Now, the sickening silence spoke volumes about the state of mind in Steelers Nation.
With time, the wound resulting from a 17-13 meltdown loss to the San Diego Chargers in the AFC title tilt began to heal. For Steelers Country, Super Bowls were not regular occurrences of these times. This opportunity was the first true Super Sunday shot in many seasons, and fans prayed it would not be the last.
After that last pass to Barry Foster skipped off the turf, the theme for 1995 was already engraved in gold letters of the black and blue hearts of Steelers fans:
Three. More. Yards. It was the exact distance the team was from the end zone and the Lamar Hunt Trophy.
For their sheer resilience in the face of heartache and early season adversity, the '95 Steelers rank among the franchise's best teams ever.
An era known as "Cowher Power" took its biggest step in this campaign, and great generation of teams that featured the likes of Greg Lloyd, Chad Brown, Levon Kirkland, Kevin Greene, Carnell Lake, Ernie Mills, Yancy Thigpen, Rod Woodson, Bam Morris, Neil O'Donnell, John L. Williams and other memorable names would be best represented in 1995.
This selection in the countdown is for those guys, representing the "Steel Trap" era in Pittsburgh Steelers history, a time when the zone blitz was being master in the Steel City, causing a new nickname to catch like a wildfire: Blitzburgh.
In truth, the Steelers defense's vaunted pressure packages took a step back from '94 to '95, dropping from 55 QB drops to 42. While turnovers remained consistent, the unit surrendered nearly 100 more points in 1995, dropping from second to ninth in points allowed.
However, the factor that would ultimately give the '95 squad the nod on this list was the sudden surge of the offense, able to run the ball with great effectiveness and—in a new wrinkle—throw with explosiveness.
The start of the campaign looked promising. The defense allowed Barry Sanders to rush for 100 yards on opening day, but the Steelers managed a 23-20 victory over Detroit. The special teams put away the Houston Oilers to bolster the squad to a 2-0 record.
Then, the invisible roof above Three Rivers Stadium collapsed.
An opening day injury to Rod Woodson began to take its toll on a secondary adjusting to life without the all-pro defensive back. The offense was sputtering and the entire team seemed out of sorts.
A 2-0 record fell to 3-4, including home losses to Cincinnati (27-9) and Minnesota (44-24). The low point came in Jacksonville, a 20-16 loss to the expansion Jaguars.
At this point, sensing a teetering point for a team rapidly losing its confidence, coach Bill Cowher brought the players together in an impromptu meeting. He announced the beginning of a brand new nine game season.
In that season, the Steelers would go 8-1, finishing just a wee bit of Lambeau Luck (a Yancy Thigpen drop of a game winning touchdown pass on the final play on the last regular season game at Lambeau Field) from a perfect record.
The victories did not all come easily, as a mix of nail-biters, comebacks and highlights made the '95 season one of the most dramatic years in team history.
In Soldier Field, the Steelers trailed a wild contest to the Bears, 34-27. After a late interception gave Chicago the lead, Neil O'Donnell rallied the offense to the tying touchdown, a fourth down strike to Ernie Mills that sent the game into overtime. From there, Norm Johnson kicked the game winner through the uprights and the Pittsburgh Steelers reclaimed a winning record of 5-4.
One week later, the team would host the "actual" Cleveland Browns, one of their former and bitter rivals, for a Monday Night Football contest at old Three Rivers. Fans wore orange arm bands in respect for the rivalry, their disgust with Art Modell for moving the team from Cleveland evident.
The contest may be as much remembered for a wonderful play by rookie Kordell Stewart, a back and forth scurry behind the line of scrimmage lasting seemingly forever. By the time "Slash" made his way back toward the left side of the field, he threw a wide open touchdown to blow the game open. The Steelers won 20-3.
The high emotion of 1995 would continue six days afterwards. Trailing the same Bengals who had destroyed them in Steel town, Pittsburgh rallied from a 31-13 deficit with 36 unanswered points. A touchdown bomb to Stewart gave the team a 35-31 lead it would not relinquish.
Three more secured a bye week for the squad, and their first playoff opponent was all too familiar.
The Buffalo Bills, former AFC Champions for four consecutive seasons, entered Pittsburgh for a 40-21 beating, setting up another opportunity to represent the conference in the big game.
Late in the contest against Jim Harbaugh and the Indianapolis Colts, the appropriately dubbed "Captain Comeback" threw a deep touchdown pass to give his squad a 16-13 lead. Indianapolis would have an opportunity later in the quarter to run out the clock, but the defense held stout.
With the ball back in the hands of O'Donnell, a deep pass down the right sideline to Ernie Mills resulted in a fan-ruption of epic proportions. As the stadium shook, Bam Morris burrowed into the end zone to give Pittsburgh a 20-16 lead.
After an emotional rally, Harbaugh threw a Hail Mary pass that was nearly caught for a game-winning touchdown. Truly, with every fan on pins and needles, it is impossible to imagine the magnitude of the reaction had Aaron Bailey caught the football that rested on his chest that Sunday afternoon.
Instead, Pittsburgh would represent the AFC in Super Bowl XXX, an evening many in the Steel City wold rather forget.