For a decade, the Steel City, once renowned for being the first town to see four Lombardi Trophies, desperately chased the crown jewels of the NFC, who had surpassed them by winning five Super Bowls each.
In February 2006, Antwan Randle El took a reverse hand-off in the backfield, wound up his throwing motion, and put a beautiful, arching spiral into the air of Ford Field.
Whenever Hines Ward completed the most beautiful gadget play in Super Bowl history, Terrible Towels torqued with ferocity as Steelers Country welcomed itself into the elite fraternity of five-time champions.
Three years later, "Six-burgh" set a new standard of excellence, reclaiming the throne as the team with more Super Bowl wins than any other.
While there are other teams on the pantheon of 2011 contenders, the 49ers are considered by many to be vastly improved but not a true postseason threat.
If they wish to shed that status and be recognized as a squad that truly does have the capacity to even the score in the "Lombardi standings" with Pittsburgh, a win over those Steelers on Monday Night would go a long way toward that goal.
As this duo of formerly dynastic dynamos face off in prime time, the game will continue a long, storied tradition of modern-era greatness for both groups. With so much at stake, will the 49ers hang onto their second-seeded status, or will Pittsburgh keep the pressure on Baltimore in the AFC North?
Many have looked ahead to this particular game, including myself. Instead of projecting, let's reflect on the legacy of excellence left behind by both franchises.
These are the top 10 seasons for the Steelers and 49ers, a ranking that truly measures the best of the best. The list actually ranks the top 11 of those teams, as one tie-breaker was simply too hard to decide.