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With Victory Sunday, Steelers Would Surpass Cowboys as NFL's Most Successful Franchise Since 1970 Merger

We all know that if the Steelers win Sunday, they gain their sixth Lombardi Trophy, separating themselves from the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers, who each have five.  But while the Lombardi trophy is clearly the most important piece of hardware for a franchise to be proud of, there are other achievement levels that should be taken into account when evaluating the total overall success of that franchise.

I have looked at five different levels of success and assigned incremental point values to each level.  A winning season is worth one point; reaching the Conference Final Four is worth two more; being a Conference Runner-Up is worth three more; winning the Conference Championship is worth four more; and then taking home Lombardi is worth five more points.

I looked at each franchise on each level since the 1970 season.  This is the first year where 26 teams were created equal under a common draft. Winning a championship, or achieving any level of success, is much more difficult among 26-32 teams than it was in the old days with just 10-14 teams.  So rather than mixing apples with oranges, from 1970 on there are only oranges.

In addition to being one of only three franchises to boast five Lombardis, the Steelers also lead the NFL (tied with Miami) in racking up 29 winning seasons in those 39 years, a remarkable rate of just under three every four years.  Dallas is in third place with 28 winning seasons.  The Steelers also lead the NFL (tied with Dallas this time) with 20 appearances in the onference Final Four.  This represents playing in the second round of the playoffs more than half the time.  regarding Conference runner-Ups, the Steelers again lead the NFL (tied with San Francisco and Oakland) with seven.  Looking at Conference Championships, the Steelers (7) only trail Dallas (8).

All in all, the Steelers now sit with 143 points (under my incremental system), tied with Dallas, and with house money to play with this Sunday.  The 49ers have 126 points and only one other team is in triple digits (the raiders at 105).  The chart is listed below.  We certainly have a great deal to be proud of Steelers' fans, and it has been that way for quite some time.  Check out below:

NFL Success Rate Since 1970