The Pittsburgh Steelers tradition began on July 8, 1933. When Art Rooney, Sr. purchased his dream NFL franchise for the grand sum of $2,500, he surely could have never predicted the exponential heights that his team—and, for that matter, the NFL—would come to know!
The team and city have grown together over the course of 80 seasons...
...and nearly 12,000 episodes of Days of Our Lives!
Originally nicknamed the "Pirates," the Steelers of eight decades ago were a team with an unmistakable infancy about them, perennially struggling and earning Rooney the unfortunate nickname of lovable loser. Sadly, the doldrums of defeat hung over the franchise like a never-ending gray sky for four decades. Peaks were at a premium and valleys were the norm.
Finally, in 1969, the Steelers acquired Chuck Noll, and the Black and Gold finally won a playoff game in 1972. After 40 seasons of lows, a dynasty changed the image of playing pigskin in Pittsburgh, and the positive effect served as the catalyst for four decades of dominance.
In effect, the history of the Steelers is now perfectly symmetrical, a beautifully contrasting dichotomy of winning and losing.
However, no matter which side of the Chuck Noll transition fence you reflect on, loyal Pittsburgh fans have shown the most ardent support for their beloved football team, though it should be noted that Terrible Towels didn't start wildly waving in the stands until 1975.
Through a rich eight decades, wars were fought, man finally walked on the moon, a president was assassinated, televisions became a household commodity, and football for fans went from newspapers to radios to black-and-white television to vibrant state-of-the-art color to, most recently, crisp high definition.
During the passing times, the steel mills boomed and, sadly, busted, another peak and valley to add to the lot. Many fans left the "City of Champions" in pursuit of work, but their hearts were never nomadic, always staying home.
As such, the greatness of Steelers Country stretches further than the three rivers, reaching around the world and taking over NFL stadiums nationwide every autumn weekend!
When "The Chief" passed away on August 25, 1988, the bond between the Steel City and its football team was ionic in strength, and the loyalty on both sides has only grown since!
Starting now and throughout the 2012 season, this series will take a look back at every season of Steelers football—from 1933 to 2012 (in no particular order), each of 16 volumes showcasing five seasons from the rich tradition. Honoring the team's 80th anniversary, we will be looking back at the key memories that defined every year, whether a single play, a remarkable player, a legendary game or a timeless theme.
After honoring all 79 past seasons of Steelers football, the series will culminate with an inside look at the one chapter that has yet to reveal itself: the upcoming 2012 campaign!