Steelers' Playmakers Reminiscent of '70s Title Teams

David KlinglerCorrespondent IJune 8, 2009

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 01:  Safety Troy Polamalu #43 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on against the Arizona Cardinals during Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The NFL off-season is way too long. Who's with me? 

I am not a patient man. I am a huge football fan, and an even bigger Steelers' fan. I can't wait for the season to start.

To pass the time, I like to view footage of old Steelers' games from my private collection that I have recorded over the last 30 odd years.

Just the other day, I watched one of my favorite games from the '70s: the '79 AFC Championship Game vs. the Houston Oilers. As I watched my childhood heroes, it made me think that today's Steelers are not that unlike their '70s predecessors.

The thing that stood out to me while watching this game was the uncanny ability of the Steelers' play-makers to rise up and make a difference at the crucial moments.

One such play was a 3rd-and-20 early in the fourth quarter. The Oilers had just pulled to within 17-13, and had all the momentum. In need of a big play, Terry Bradshaw calmly connected with Lynn Swann for the first down.

The Steelers got a field goal on the drive, and the momentum shifted back into their favor. The Three Rivers crowd was back in the game, and after an Oiler fumble, the Steelers put the game away with a clinching touchdown.

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Big plays by their top players at the perfect time, that's what made that team so great.  No team in NFL history had more talent and big play ability across the board than that '70s Steelers' team that won four Super Bowls in six years.

Someone always seemed to step up with a big play when they needed it. Whether it was Terry Bradshaw hitting Lynn Swann or John Stallworth for a long touchdown, Franco Harris rumbling for a 100 yards, or Jack Lambert coming up with a crucial interception (see Super Bowl XIV), the Steelers made a habit of winning big games when most of the world was watching.

The Steelers of today are equally adept at winning when the chips are down. Ben  Roethlisberger has blossomed into one of the league's premiere clutch quarterbacks.  They have not one, but two Super Bowl MVP winning receivers in Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes, who seem to shine when the pressure is the greatest.

The defense is consistently ranked No.1, and it is stocked with talent on all fronts. Every one of the starting 11 is capable of a game-changing play. James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley spark a ferocious pass rush, while Troy Polamalu is a big play machine all over the field.

This group of Steelers hasn't finished writing their history yet. They have won two Super Bowls in four years and are capable of much more.

They may never reach the lofty standards established by those old Steelers of the '70s, but if they achieve their full potential, anything is possible.

Let's get this season started already!

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