Jonathan Dwyer needs a new uniform number to change his fortunes with the Steelers.
Not only is Dwyer part of a Steelers running game that is off to its worst start in 62 years, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, but his fumble on Sunday led to a Raiders touchdown that tied the score 14-14 late in the second quarter. The Raiders went on to upset the Steelers 34-31.
The inability of another No. 27 to hang onto the ball factored into another stunning loss to the Raiders in 2009.
The Steelers led 24-20 with 41 seconds left at Heinz Field when Joe Burnett got his hands on a Bruce Gradkowski pass. The rookie cornerback dropped the interception, and the Raiders went on to score the game-winnning touchdown.
It was the fourth of five straight losses for the Steelers, who finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs. Deflated after that loss, the Steelers lost in Cleveland four days later.
Had the Steelers beaten the Raiders and improved to 7-5, maybe they'd have had enough wind in their sails to win in Cleveland and head into their final three games with an 8-5 record. Instead, they were 6-7 and winning their last three games wasn't enough to get them into the playoffs.
Hopefully Burnett didn't let the door hit him on the way out when he was cut before the 2010 season.
Before Burnett, safety Anthony Smith wore No. 27. He made his mark as a Steeler by guaranteeing a win over the New England Patriots in 2007, the year they were perfect until the Super Bowl.
The Patriots defeated the Steelers 34-13 at Gillette Stadium and specifically targeted Smith on several plays, as reported in the Boston Globe.
New England, which improved to 13-0 with that win, reached the Super Bowl while the Steelers were knocked out of the playoffs in the wild-card round.
Of all the uniform numbers we're inducting into the Steelers' Ring of Dishonor, No. 27 was the toughest call. The number does have some proud lineage.
Defensive back Willie Williams wore that number for the Steelers from 1993 to 1996 and again in 2004 and 2005. He had seven interceptions for the Steelers' 1995 Super Bowl team and earned a Super Bowl ring in 2005.
Safety Glen Edwards had 25 of his 39 career interceptions for the Steelers from 1971 to 1977. This No. 27 was a member of two Steelers championship teams. He returned an interception 35 yards against the Cowboys in Super Bowl X.
The architect of those 1970s Steelers title teams also wore No. 27 when he played for the Steelers.
Dick Haley played for the Steelers from 1961 to 1964. He went on to become the Steelers' player personnel director from 1971 to 1990 and produced the drafts that laid the foundation for the Steel Curtain Era.
However, Haley's uniform number as a player has been dishonored by Steelers of recent vintage, including Dwyer. That's unfortunate considering Dwyer reports to Haley's son, Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
The No. 27 once had significant historical value for the Steelers, but Dwyer and Burnett literally have dropped the ball on it.