Top 100 Pittsburgh Steelers in NFL History

Nick DeWittAnalyst IOctober 11, 2011

Top 100 Pittsburgh Steelers in NFL History

0 of 21

    Several months ago, I ranked the top 50 Steelers in team history. Now, I'm going to expand to the top 100. As before, I'm going to include coaches and other contributors of various kinds, and I'm not going to shy away from players who only spent a few years in the Black and Gold.

    I've also re-ranked the top 50. Doing that allowed me to correct a major omission and also allowed me to take some new information and additions into account.

    As always, let me know if I missed someone or if someone should be ranked higher!

Numbers 100 Through 96

1 of 21

    100. Jeff Reed

    Controversial to the very end, I’m sure Reed’s presence here will anger some, but Reed was the first (and so far only) kicker to master the tricky conditions at Heinz Field and give the Steelers consistency from the kicking position. He ranks second to Norm Johnson for career field goal percentage.

     

    99. John Jackson

    Jackson manned the left tackle position from 1989 to 1997 for the Steelers and was one of the most consistent players on a unit that was able to keep quarterbacks Bubby Brister and Neil O’Donnell upright and clean (despite their relative lack of mobility). Offensive line heroes go unsung most of the time, so he deserves some recognition here.

     

    98. Craig Wolfley

    Wolfley, now a Steelers radio broadcaster, played for the Steelers from 1980 to 1989. During that time, while not flashy, he was a steady contributor and starter along the offensive line. Wolfley never made a Pro Bowl, but had notably solid playing skills.

     

    97. Frank Pollard

    Pollard played for the Steelers from 1980 to 1988 and was one of a handful of running backs who were tasked with replacing legend Franco Harris. Pollard was probably the best of that bunch, amassing over 3,000 yards in his career and 20 touchdowns.

     

    96. Charlie Batch

    Batch is possibly the only backup that could make this list with no arguments. His value goes beyond on-field work, but Batch has been excellent during his stints running the offense. He’s been an excellent mentor for Ben Roethlisberger, and his work for the community is unmatched.

Numbers 95 Through 91

2 of 21

    95. Dwayne Woodruff

    Woodruff earned a Super Bowl ring in his rookie season and went on to play 12 years in Pittsburgh, most as a starting corner on an always intimidating defense. He amassed 37 career interceptions and also scored five defensive touchdowns (three interceptions, two fumbles).

     

    94. Earl Holmes

    Holmes played in Pittsburgh from 1996 through 2001, starting on the inside at linebacker. During that time, he notched 9.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception and played in one of the league’s top run defenses.

     

    93. Steve Courson

    Courson played for the Steelers from 1978 to 1983, winning two Super Bowls with the team and starting at right guard. He was an early user of steroids (although certainly not the first or last NFL player to do so) and, as a result, was not able to play a full season most of the time. His is a cautionary tale for an athlete.

     

    92. Santonio Holmes

    Holmes only played in Pittsburgh from 2006 through 2009, but was one of the most important pieces of the offense and won Super Bowl MVP honors for his performance (including the game-winning touchdown catch) in Super Bowl XLIII.

     

    91. Bill Saul

    Saul was a vicious linebacker for the Steelers who notched four interceptions and two fumble recoveries during his career with the team. Known as a rough player and hard hitting linebacker, Saul’s big claim to fame was that he was the first player to wear an on-field microphone during game action. The results were something we’d expect from Ray Lewis or Joey Porter today.

Numbers 90 Through 86

3 of 21

    90. Merril Hoge

    Hoge played for the Steelers from 1987 to 1993 and amassed over 3,000 yards. He scored 10 touchdowns in 1990 while playing fullback for the Steelers and was a noted dual threat thanks to his ability to be a receiver out of the backfield. He’s now a contributor and analyst for ESPN.

     

    89. Mike Wallace

    While still only in his third year, Wallace has already emerged as a premier NFL playmaker and a guy who could shatter records. He’s making a strong run at Jerry Rice’s single season record for yardage and also has set a goal to eclipse 2,000 yards in a season. He could definitely go higher each year he plays.

     

    88. Byron "Whizzer" White

    While he only spent one year with the Steelers, White is one of the most interesting players in NFL history. He certainly would have had a career in football after being selected as an All-Pro in his rookie season of 1938, but he walked away from the game to pursue a law career that eventually saw him as a Supreme Court Justice.

     

    87. Willie Parker

    “Fast Willie” was an undrafted free agent who burst onto the scene in 2005 with a breakout season that helped the Steelers to their first Super Bowl victory since 1979. Parker recorded a Super Bowl record-75 yard touchdown run during Super Bowl XL and was also a key part of the team’s Super Bowl XLIII run.

     

    86. Mike Merriweather

    He played for the Steelers from 1982 to 1987 and was a three-time Pro Bowl linebacker (1984-1986). He notched 31 sacks and 11 interceptions during his career in Pittsburgh, which was cut short by a contract dispute that saw him sign in Minnesota for the 1989 season.

Numbers 85 Through 81

4 of 21

    85. Ryan Clark

    Clark was signed after the departure of Chris Hope  in 2006 and has quickly emerged as one of the fiercest hitters in the NFL. His style teams perfectly with that of Troy Polamalu and gives the Steelers an excellent 1-2 punch in the secondary.

     

    84. Bryan Hinkle

    Hinkle played outside linebacker for the Steelers from 1982 to 1993 and started on the right side from 1984 to 1991. Hinkle was an excellent outside linebacker who, while never making a Pro Bowl appearance, was still among the top players at his position, notching 22.5 sacks and 15 interceptions in his career.

     

    83. Yancey Thigpen

    Thigpen was with the Steelers from 1992 to 1997 and earned two Pro Bowl trips during that time. He was instrumental in helping the Steelers reach Super Bowl XXX in 1995 and recorded two 1,300 yard seasons during his Pittsburgh tenure.

     

    82. Robin Cole

    Cole played for Pittsburgh from 1977 to 1987 and won two Super Bowl rings during that time. He recovered 14 fumbles and garnered five interceptions during his career and was a Pro Bowl selection and member of the All-Pro team in 1984. He helped ease the pain of losing Jack Ham and Jack Lambert to retirement.

     

    81. Lamarr Woodley

    Woodley is another young player who’s quickly becoming a Pittsburgh legend. Drafted in the second round in 2007, Woodley has been a consistent performer, notching at least 10 sacks each of his three years as a starter. He made the Pro Bowl in 2009 and has also done some of his best work in the playoffs.

Numbers 80 Through 76

5 of 21

    80. Joel Steed

    Steed was the team’s big, burly nose tackle before Casey Hampton rumbled onto the scene. Steed played for the Steelers from 1992 to 1999 and made one Pro Bowl appearance. He was a key cog in the team’s 1995 Super Bowl run, although he, like Aaron Smith today, has gone largely unnoticed by fans and media.

     

    79. Frank Varrichione

    Varrichione played for the Steelers from 1955 to 1960 after a standout career at Notre Dame. During that time, he manned the right offensive tackle spot for the Steelers. He also did something no offensive lineman would do today: subbed in as a part-time kick returner who averaged 9.2 yards per return.

     

    78. Jerry Shipkey

    Shipkey played from 1948 to 1952 with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was a two-way player who slotted in at linebacker and fullback. He scored 16 rushing touchdowns and notched 13 interceptions during his career with the Steelers and was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All-Pro selection.

     

    77. Roy Jefferson

    Jefferson played wide receiver for the Steelers from 1965 to 1969. During that time, he made it to two Pro Bowls and scored 29 touchdowns while amassing over 3,600 yards. During that time, he was also a return man for both kicks and punts, scoring once in that capacity.

     

    76. Bobby Walden

    Punters rarely make this list, but Walden was one of the better ones in the league’s history. He toiled for the Steelers from 1968 to 1977, winning two Super Bowl rings and averaging over 41 yards per punt. As an aside, he also had 26 rushing yards and completed 4-of-7 passes during his Pittsburgh career.

Numbers 75 Through 71

6 of 21

    75. Gerry Mullins

    Mullins played right guard for the Steelers from 1971 to 1979 and was one of the few offensive linemen to win four Super Bowl rings with the team. He was instrumental in a Franco Harris rushing touchdown in Super Bowl IX and also recovered an onside kick during Super Bowl X.

     

    74. Sam Davis

    Davis, like Gerry Mullins, started on the Pittsburgh offensive line (left guard) from 1967 to 1979. He won four Super Bowls with the team and was an important piece of the line that blocked for stellar runners Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier.

     

    73. Johnny "Blood" McNally

    Perhaps the strangest man on this list, McNally was a player and coach for the Steelers during their early days as the Pittsburgh Pirates. McNally was rumored to have missed a game because he was in the wrong city and thought the Pirates were off. He also scored a touchdown on his first play in Pittsburgh.

     

    72. Walt Kiesling

    Kiesling was a coach and player for the Steelers during some of the lean years. He played from 1937 to 1938 and coached from 1939 to 1944 and 1954 to 1956. During that last period, he famously cut future star quarterback Johnny Unitas after not permitting him to get much work in the team’s training camp. Kiesling was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1966.

     

    71. Mark Bruener

    While Bruener has been largely forgotten, he is one of the best blocking tight ends in the league’s history and is certainly at the top of that list in Pittsburgh’s history. He played for the Steelers from 1995 until 2003 and notched 16 touchdowns during that time.

Numbers 70 Through 66

7 of 21

    70. Bert Bell

    Bell was a part owner of the Steelers from 1940 to 1946 and coached two games in 1941. He was instrumental in creating the NFL draft that is used today for bringing college football players into the professional ranks and was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1963 after serving as NFL commissioner from 1946 until his death in 1959.

     

    69. Jock Sutherland

    Sutherland is one of the tragic heroes of Steelers history. After taking a coaching position with the team in 1946, he coached the team for the 1946 and 1947 seasons. During a scouting trip in early 1948, however, he was found in his car and died several days later from a brain tumor that had been undetected.

     

    68. Tunch Ilkin

    Ilkin, who replaced Myron Cope in the team’s radio broadcast in 2006, was an offensive tackle with the team from 1980 to 1992. He was one of the team’s most consistent starters during that period. He made it to two Pro Bowls during his career.

     

    67. Barry Foster

    Foster was the first star running back of Bill Cowher’s tenure and marked the team’s return to a successful power rushing attack. He holds the team record for yardage in a single season (1,690) and scored 26 touchdowns during his five year career with the Steelers.

     

    66. Heath Miller

    Miller has become a favorite red zone target of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and is certainly climbing the list of athletic tight ends who are adept at both blocking and receiving. During his career with the Steelers, he has caught 30 touchdowns and amassed over 3,400 yards while making one Pro Bowl. Like Mike Wallace and Lamarr Woodley, he could move way up this list someday.

Numbers 65 Through 61

8 of 21

    65. Fran Rogel

    A tough runner, Rogel was a Steelers mainstay from 1950 to 1957, and during that time, scored 17 touchdowns on the ground and ran for over 3,200 yards. He also had two receiving touchdowns and made one Pro Bowl (1956) during his career.

     

    64. Bill McPeak

    McPeak was a Pro Bowler in 1952, 1953 and 1956 during a nine-year career with the Steelers (1949 to 1957). McPeak was a vicious hitter during his career and was probably a similar player to James Harrison. McPeak certainly was remembered for playing with a mean streak.

     

    63. Buddy Dial

    Dial played at what would be considered wide receiver for the Steelers from 1959 to 1963. During that five-year period, he earned two trips to the Pro Bowl and amassed over 4,700 yards and 42 touchdowns.

     

    62. Dale Dodrill

    Dodrill played for the Steelers from 1951 to 1959 and made four Pro Bowls during his tenure as one of the team’s fierce defensive tackles. Dodrill notched 10 career interceptions and recovered 11 fumbles during his career in Pittsburgh.

     

    61. Kevin Greene

    Greene played three years for the Steelers (1993-1995), and during that brief time, notched two Pro Bowl appearances (1994 and 1995) and a stunning 35.5 sacks (including 14 in 1994). Greene, known for his flowing blonde hair, was one of the fiercest linebackers in the NFL during the 1990s.

Numbers 60 Through 56

9 of 21

    60. Lynn Chandnois

    Chandnois played for the Steelers from 1950 to 1957 and earned two Pro Bowl berths during his time in black and gold. He amassed 16 touchdowns and over 1,900 yards during his tenure and played both running back and kick returner. He was also considered one of the best all-around athletes of his generation.

     

    59. Jon Kolb

    Kolb played for the Steelers from 1969 to 1981 as a left tackle. He was part of all four Super Bowl teams and was instrumental in protecting Terry Bradshaw’s blind side. Kolb is another player who’s gone largely unrecognized by history. He played before left tackle was understood to be among the most important spots on the offense.

     

    58. Louis Lipps

    Given the difficult task of replacing legendary receiver Lynn Swann, Lipps rose to the occasion by amassing over 6,000 yards and scoring 39 touchdowns during his career in Pittsburgh (1984-1991). Lipps also scored three times on punt returns during his career and ranks near the top in most team categories.

     

    57. Larry Brown

    Brown was a tight end and tackle from 1971 to 1984. He is one of the 22 players with four Super Bowl rings from his time in Pittsburgh with the Steelers and also notched a Pro Bowl appearance in 1982 (as a tackle). He did catch five touchdowns as a tight end before making the move to the line.

     

    56. Levon Kirkland

    Kirkland manned the middle of the fierce Pittsburgh defense from 1992 to 2000 and notched two Pro Bowl bids and an All-Pro selection during that time. He was part of a great defensive revival in the 1990s and also garnered 18.5 sacks and 11 interceptions.

Numbers 55 Through 51

10 of 21

    55. Buddy Parker

    Parker was the first coach to enjoy real success with Pittsburgh, coaching the team from 1957 to 1964. The team made its first extended run at being a championship contender thanks to Parker's attempts to build a more talented, more veteran team that included quarterback Bobby Layne.

     

    54. Norm Johnson

    Replaced the excellent Gary Anderson and proved to be just as steady. He seems to fall between the cracks, but he was one of the best kickers the Steelers ever had, with a strong leg and excellent accuracy helping the Steelers to many victories.

     

    53. Ray Mathews

    Mathews was a wide receiver for the Steelers from 1951 to 1959. During that time, he amassed over 3,900 yards receiving, over 1,000 yards rushing and scored 39 touchdowns rushing and receiving. He was selected to two Pro Bowls in his career as well.

     

    52. Jeff Hartings

    Played six seasons in Pittsburgh and proved to be one of the best and most steady centers in the NFL during that time. He was unheralded much of the time, but his retirement gave everyone a clue of just how valuable he was.

     

    51. Ike Taylor

    Has played his entire career thus far with Pittsburgh and has proven to be one of the better cover men in the NFL. His lack of highlight-reel plays aside, he's still on of the best corners to put on the Steelers' uniform. So far this season, Taylor has been almost as airtight as can be and has rarely let a team's top receiver make even one catch.

Numbers 50 Through 46

11 of 21

    50. Joey Porter

    Played for Pittsburgh from 1999 until 2006, and during that time, was the vocal leader of the team and the soul of the Steel Curtain defense. He was, during his time in Pittsburgh, one of the top outside linebackers in the game.

     

    49. Roy Gerala

    Gerela kicked for the first three Super Bowl teams, made two Pro Bowl rosters and led the AFC in scoring in both 1973 and 1974. He ranks third in scoring for the Pittsburgh Steelers all time and was the darling of the fan group "Gerela's Gorillas."

     

    48. Bennie Cunningham

    He played his entire career (1976-1985) in Pittsburgh and was part of the last two of the Super Bowl teams in the 1970s. He caught 20 touchdowns during his career and was one of the best tight ends in team history.

     

    47. Ray Mansfield

    Mansfield was the guy who played center before Mike Webster and was with the Steelers from 1964 through 1976. During that time, he started two years at defensive tackle and 10 at center. He was part of the team’s first two Super Bowl victories as well.

     

    46. Jason Gildon

    Played 10 of his 11 years in Pittsburgh, made three Pro Bowl rosters and was a feared member of the Steel Curtain. Broke the Steelers' career record for sacks by notching 77 during his 10 seasons in black and gold and was considered the best pass rusher the team had since Greg Lloyd and Kevin Greene.

Numbers 45 Through 41

12 of 21

    45. Bobby Layne

    Layne came over from Detroit in 1958 and legitimized the Steelers' offense during his five years with the franchise. He is credited with being one of the most clutch players in the league and also with creating the two-minute offense.

     

    44. Gary Anderson

    Played for Pittsburgh from 1982 to 1994 and was one of the most accurate kickers in league history. He's the all-time leader in scoring for the Steelers with 1,343 points and was the best kicker the Steelers have ever employed.

     

    43. Carnell Lake

    Played in Pittsburgh from 1989 to 1998 and recently returned to coach the secondary. He was also a four-time Pro Bowl player during his Steelers career and, as a rookie, recovered five fumbles to lead the team. He also played excellently at both corner and safety during his career. You can't argue with what he's done so far as a coach, either!

     

    42. John Henry Johnson

    Johnson currently is fourth on the team's all-time rushing list and was one of the best runners in the NFL during his long career. He played six seasons in Pittsburgh and was one of the first of the team's long list of great running backs. He's largely been forgotten by all but hardcore Steelers fans.

     

    41. Alan Faneca

    Recently retired, Faneca had the best years of his lengthy career in Pittsburgh, where he became one of the league's best interior linemen and made seven consecutive Pro Bowl appearances from 2001-2007. Faneca was best known for his ability to pull, something the Steelers sorely miss today.

Numbers 40 Through 36

13 of 21

    40. Casey Hampton

    Has been a mainstay on the Pittsburgh defensive line since he was drafted. Slowing down some this season, Hampton is still one of the best defensive linemen the team has had, and his value can best be measured by the number of excellent seasons turned in by the team's linebackers.

     

    39. Elbie Nickel

    He played 11 seasons for Pittsburgh and was the best tight end in team history. He notched over 5,000 receiving yards and 37 touchdowns, made three Pro Bowls and was also one of the few pre-1970s players selected to the Steelers' all-time roster for their 75th Anniversary.

     

    38. Jack Butler

    Butler was a four-time Pro Bowl player for Pittsburgh from 1951-1959. He was one of the best defenders to play in Pittsburgh, and in 1953, made nine interceptions and returned one for a touchdown. He also led the NFL in interceptions in 1957. He was one of the last two-way players for the Steelers and is still No. 2 on the team's all-time list for interceptions.

     

    37. Bill Dudley

    Although he played only parts of three seasons in Pittsburgh, Dudley made quite the impact as the team's leading scorer in 1945 and the NFL's rushing leader in 1942 and 1946. Also, during 1946, he became the only player in NFL history to lead the league in four different statistical categories (including rushing and interceptions).

     

    36. Dick Hoak

    Not only was Hoak an impressive player (3,965 yards, 25 touchdowns), he was one of the longest-tenured assistant coaches in league history. He was the team's running backs coach from 1972 until 2007, and during that time, oversaw the careers of rushing greats from Franco Harris to Jerome Bettis.

Numbers 35 Through 31

14 of 21

    35. Mike Tomlin

    Tomlin emerged from nowhere in 2007 to earn the head coaching job. Since then, he's put together playoff teams in all but one season, won a Super Bowl and two AFC titles and has also won the AFC North three times. He certainly could climb much higher on this list and is currently trying to get the team in position to return to the Super Bowl.

     

    34. Aaron Smith

    One of the NFL's great unsung heroes, Smith has manned one side of the defensive line for Pittsburgh since 1999. During that time, he's opened holes for some of the best linebackers in the NFL and made a name for himself as one of the steadiest defensive linemen in the league. While it seems like his career is winding down, his value can never be underestimated.

     

    33. James Farrior

    Farrior came over from the New York Jets in 2002 and has been a mainstay in the middle of the linebackers every since. He's made the Pro Bowl twice and was a major part of both Super Bowl teams during this decade. He's still going strong in 2011 and seems like he'll be a tough player until he hangs up his cleats.

     

    32. L.C. Greenwood

    Greenwood was a charter member of the Steel Curtain defense and played in Pittsburgh from 1969 through 1981. He started in all four Super Bowls and also made six Pro Bowls. Greenwood, known for bright yellow shoes, also notched 73.5 sacks for Pittsburgh.

     

    31. Donnie Shell

    When Shell retired, he was third in team history with 51 career interceptions and is still there. He was selected to the team's All-Time roster and started 11 years in a row for Pittsburgh. Shell is among the best safeties in NFL history and arguably one of the best to wear black and gold.

Numbers 30 Through 26

15 of 21

    30. Art Rooney II

    The Steelers' current President and grandson of the legendary Art Rooney, the younger Rooney has overseen the team since 2003. During that time, the team has won two Super Bowls and three AFC titles. Rooney has also managed to keep the Steelers in the family; not an easy task in today's times.

     

    29. Myron Cope

    Known as the voice of the Steelers from 1970 to 2005, the beloved Cope was both a voice for the city and the inventor of the team’s most hallowed symbol: the Terrible Towel. Cope’s 35-year broadcasting tenure is the longest with any team in league history, and his catchphrases and nicknames have echoed through many generations of Steelers fans.

     

    28. Dan Rooney

    Father of Art Rooney II and son of Art Rooney, the current Ambassador to Ireland oversaw operations of the franchise from 1975 to 2002 (the second longest tenure in team history) and was in charge during three Super Bowl titles. He's one of the most recognizable owners in the game today.

     

    27. Ernie Stautner

    A defensive tackle from 1950 to 1963, Stautner is the only Steeler to have his number officially retired by the team. He made the 1950s All-Decade team for the NFL, nine Pro Bowls and was a 10-time All-Pro selection. He was selected to the Hall of Fame in 1969, the first time he was eligible.

     

    26. Rocky Bleier

    Perhaps the most interesting part of his stellar career is that he put up great numbers after a gruesome foot injury in Vietnam took part of one foot from him. Bleier was a great blocker and runner and was a huge part of Franco Harris' success in Pittsburgh. He also was a good receiver, catching a key touchdown in Super Bowl XIII.

Numbers 25 Through 21

16 of 21

    25. Bill Cowher

    The "Chin" coached in Pittsburgh from 1992 through 2006, and during that time, was one of the winningest coaches in the league. Cowher won a Super Bowl, two AFC titles and 161 games overall. The Steelers also won more games than any other team during Cowher's tenure, and he is one of only six men to win seven or more division titles.

     

    24. Andy Russell

    Russell played in Pittsburgh from 1963 through 1976 and was one of the best linebackers in team history. Russell won two Super Bowls during his time in Pittsburgh and played in seven Pro Bowls. He was the first of the famed Steel Curtain players to arrive in Pittsburgh.

     

    23. James Harrison

    Harrison went from being an undrafted player bouncing around for several years on practice squads to becoming an NFL superstar. His interception in Super Bowl XLIII is the longest play in Super Bowl history and arguably was one of the game-winning plays. Harrison has potential to climb this list with more Pro Bowl performances (he already has made four squads).

     

    22. Ernie Holmes

    Holmes was another member of the Steel Curtain, winning two Super Bowls during a Pittsburgh career that spanned from 1971 to 1977. Holmes notched 40 sacks in his career and led the team with 11 in 1974. He was often considered the most feared man on the Steelers' defense.

     

    21. Dwight White

    White finished his Pittsburgh career with 46 quarterback sacks (before they were an official stat) and two Pro Bowl selections to go with four Super Bowl championships. At defensive end, he was one of the anchors of the original Steel Curtain defense in the 1970s.

Numbers 20 Through 16

17 of 21

    20. Greg Lloyd

    One of the greatest linebackers in team history, Lloyd was one of the most-feared players in the NFL during his time with Pittsburgh. He made five Pro Bowls during his Steelers career (1988-1997) and was known to have tutored young Jason Gildon after his playing days became numbered.

     

    19. Mike Wagner

    Part of all four Super Bowls in the 1970s, Wagner was an excellent safety for Pittsburgh and led the league in interceptions in 1973, made two Pro Bowls and intercepted key passes in Super Bowl IX and X. He also played his entire career in Pittsburgh (1971-1980).

     

    18. Dick LeBeau

    A fine player in his day, he's been ever better as a coach. LeBeau has had two separate stints as the defensive coordinator in Pittsburgh, has invented the zone blitz scheme that the team has used for years to perfection and is one of the best player development guys in the league. He's turned linebacker after linebacker into NFL gold.

     

    17. Dermontt Dawson

    Dawson was the second greatest offensive lineman in team history and seems like a lock to someday be enshrined in Canton. During his career (1988-2000), started 181 of 184 games and made seven Pro Bowl rosters.

     

    16. Jack Ham

    Ham was one of the feared linebackers of the 1970s, notching eight Pro Bowl selections, was labeled as one of the greatest linebackers of all time, recovered 21 fumbles and made 25 sacks in a career that spanned from 1971 until 1982.


Numbers 15 Through 11

18 of 21

    15. Troy Polamalu

    Polamalu is the most feared safety in the NFL today thanks to his game-changing speed and instincts. He has been a part of six Pro Bowls and two Super Bowl championships and has emerged as one of the best safeties in both team and NFL history. Having a quiet season so far, Polamalu can literally be almost everywhere at once.

     

    14. Ben Roethlisberger

    Big Ben has the potential to be the best quarterback in team history. He currently only is chasing Terry Bradshaw for the honor. One of the most clutch players in the NFL, his placement on this list is more reflective of who's above him than on any lack of skill. Roethlisberger is one of the elite NFL quarterbacks of his generation and could climb higher on this list in the near future.

     

    13. Jerome Bettis

    "The Bus" ran in Pittsburgh from 1996 through 2006, and during that time, he was one of the team's greatest leaders. He's the NFL's fifth leading rusher all-time and is second on the team's all-time list. He also made four Pro Bowls and helped the team win Super Bowl XL.

     

    12. John Stallworth

    Stallworth was most notable for his Super Bowl accomplishments, but also amassed 63 touchdowns and over 8,700 yards during a career that spanned from 1974 through 1987. Stallworth earned four Pro Bowl nods and caught an amazing 75-yard touchdown in Super Bowl XIII.

     

    11. Chuck Noll

    Noll coached the Steelers from 1969 until 1991, the longest tenure in team history and one of the longest in NFL history. During that time, the Steelers won four Super Bowls (Noll is the only coach with four titles with the same team) and 209 games. His unprecedented success went largely unnoticed due to his quiet demeanor, but he's unquestionably one of the greatest coaches in Steelers history.

Numbers 10 Through 6

19 of 21

    10. Mike Webster

    The greatest lineman in team history and one of the greatest in NFL history, Webster played for Pittsburgh from 1974-1988, earned nine Pro Bowl selections and won four Super Bowls. Webster also was selected to two all-decade teams and both the Steelers all-time team and the NFL's 75th Anniversary all-time team.

     

    9. Lynn Swann

    Swann was Super Bowl MVP for Super Bowl X and was one of the most graceful receivers in NFL history. He made three Pro Bowls during his career (1974-1982) and also caught 51 touchdowns during his career. One of the most recognizable faces in team history, Swann also made the all-decade team for the 1970s.

     

    8. Hines Ward

    Ward has become of the best blocking receivers in NFL history and also has worked his way to the top of Pittsburgh record books for receivers in virtually every category. During 2011, he will likely notch his 1,000th reception and perhaps will even reach 100 touchdowns before the end of his career.

     

    7. Rod Woodson

    Woodson is one of the greatest defensive backs of all time. He spent the first part of his career (1987-1996) with Pittsburgh and notched seven of his 11 Pro Bowl appearances during that time. A star at both corner and safety, Woodson was the Troy Polamalu or Ed Reed of his day, a true shutdown defensive back.

     

    6. Mel Blount

    Blount played for Pittsburgh from 1970 to 1983, and during that time, won a Defensive MVP (1975), four Super Bowls and was named to five Pro Bowls. He made a key interception in Super Bowl XIII and had a reputation for clutch defensive plays. He also holds the team record with 57 interceptions in his NFL career.

Numbers 5 Through 2

20 of 21

    5. Terry Bradshaw

    For now, Bradshaw ranks as the greatest quarterback in team history and one of three to win Super Bowl MVP more than once (with Bart Starr and Joe Montana). Bradshaw won four Super Bowls and put up impressive numbers in a run-oriented offense during his career (1970-1983).

     

    4. Jack Lambert

    Lambert, with his missing teeth and high motor, was one of the league's most fearsome players during his playing days and is one of the faces of the NFL for the 1970s. Lambert notched 28 interceptions during his career (1974-1984). He was selected to nine Pro Bowls and was also selected to the NFL's all-time roster as well as two all-decade teams.

     

    3. Joe Greene

    "Mean Joe" was the face of the Steel Curtain from 1969 through 1981. Famous for his violent style of play, Greene notched 78.5 career sacks and was, with Lambert, one of the most feared and vicious players of the 1970s. Greene later went on to spend 16 years as an assistant coach in the NFL and also has rings for all six championship teams in Pittsburgh. He also famously coined the saying "one for the thumb," a Pittsburgh battle cry until 2005.

     

    2. Franco Harris

    Harris is the greatest running back in team history and one of the best in the history of the NFL. One of the most identifiable players in team history, Harris made the team's all-time greatest play when he famously scooped a deflected pass into his hands just as it was about to hit the turf. Harris is the league's sixth leading rusher in history and also is the team's leading rusher. Of all the players in team history, perhaps no one is greater than Harris.

Number 1 in Our History and Our Hearts

21 of 21

    No list of the greatest Steelers of all time can be complete without the man who started it all, Art Rooney. Rooney, who put the Steelers into the NFL in 1933 (as the Pittsburgh Pirates), waited many years to taste success, but oversaw the Steelers until his death in 1988. By that time, the team had won four Super Bowls and had been continuously successful since 1972.

    Players make more notable contributions than owners, but there is no denying that the Pittsburgh Steelers wouldn't exist without Rooney and his gentle, calm stewardship. He almost bought the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team, but was forced to the NFL because of his love for horse races.

    Rooney's legacy and fingerprints are part of every Steelers fan, coach, player and front office employee. We all ultimately have him to thank each Sunday for the team we all love to root for.

    So, Art Rooney, here's to you, our No. 1.