The Pittsburgh Steelers have created a bond with their fans through eight decades of Steel City football. Through thick and thin, warm memories enrich the past for those who have journeyed with the Black and Gold, and the rich annual tradition reached a supreme milestone in 2012, the team's 80th anniversary.
Over time, the "Steelers way," as it is known, has become defined by a number of adjectives that are associated with the heartbeat of a loyal, blue-collar community:
Though the NFL is changing into a more pass-oriented game, the labels above will continue to serve as virtues in the mind of the franchise and its fans, helping to characterize the uniqueness that makes the Steelers brand so grand.
Even during the early losing seasons, the team and fans still took pride in helping the opposition remember who they played for days beyond the game. Yet, the last four decades has added another word to the above list, one that serves as an adjective and verb, catapulting the status of a team that was once dubbed "lovable losers" into the pantheon of greatness: winning.
Today's young fans, like those adolescents blessed to grow up in the '70s, are fortunate to enjoy one of the most exciting and successful eras in team history, and the Black and Gold hope that their 80th season continues their modern wave of rampant success, one week and one victory at a time.
As this campaign unfolds, take time to savor each moment, but also take a moment to look back on the wonderful history that 2012 serves to build upon. As a knowledge of the team's past only helps to enrich the experience for the team's best fans, this series takes a look back at 80 grand seasons of pigskin, a passage of time that includes:
...and 46 Super Bowls! It's hard for young fans today to imagine an NFL without "Super Sunday," but the Black and Gold played on the gridiron for 33 seasons before the National Football League held its first title tilt against the American Football League, then dubbed the NFL-AFL World Championship game. Since then, the two leagues merged in 1970, the Super Bowl earned its lofty status in American culture and the Pittsburgh Steelers played in (eight, tied with Dallas) and won (six) more of those contests then any other franchise.
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 the 16 volumes will showcase five seasons from the rich tradition until every campaign has been remembered. 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!
If you missed the first two volumes, you can access them below:
Volume 1: 1933, 1955, 1969, 1992 and 2004
Volume 2: 1943, 1964, 1970, 1994 and 2010
Volume 3: 1940, 1957, 1974, 1988, and 2001