The Pittsburgh Steelers will wear a new throwback jersey for the first time this Sunday when the take on the Cleveland Browns in Week 8. As part of their celebrations for the 40th Anniversary of Super Bowl XIII this year and the 40th Anniversary of Super Bowl XIV in 2019, the Steelers will wear the shirt those teams wore to honor them. Featuring block letters and numbers and without the team logo on the left-hand side, it is the look many will remember Pittsburgh wearing until it changed in 1997.
Already popular with fans, it seems the players are equally enamored with the retro look and the historical significance of the uniform is not lost on the current generation of Steelers either. As Cameron Heyward told Teresa Varley of Steelers.com.
“I like the little differences, the little nuances, but for the most part it’s our standard jersey because that is the tradition we hold,. You see all of the throwbacks that are out there, and they are cool colors and everything, but we have a rich tradition behind it knowing we won so many Super Bowls here. It’s special to wear a jersey that resembles theirs.
“This game wouldn’t be what it is today without them. They paved the way for us. We’re just running with it. We are trying to leave the legacy the way they did. At the end of the day we want to be like them and win a Super Bowl ourselves.”
T.J. Watt was similarly honored to be wearing a jersey made famous by the iconic names that came before him.
“I think it’s really cool. It just shows that even though you can barely tell the difference, it’s because we honor the tradition. It means a lot that we can wear the jerseys they wore in Super Bowl XIII and XIV. To be a part of that tradition is awesome.”
“We get to talk with those guys and hear what made them special, what made those teams special. You see the rings and you can’t help it but want a ring for yourself. Those guys still take a lot of pride in what they did, and we take a lot of pride in being able to carry on that legacy and play for the Steelers. That is what makes this organization so special, the true tradition.”
With Ramon Foster already planning to add his jersey to his collection once the game is over, it can only be hoped the team will be suitably inspired for their game against the Browns.
“It does amp it up. At the same time we have to make sure we are holding that rope they have given to us. Winning a Super Bowl is what Pittsburgh is all about. This breathes more into it as far as the history that is behind this organization as a whole. That is what Pittsburgh is all about, the history. Not just winning games, but winning championships. I am a guy that is all for the history of a team, especially when you are chasing the greats like that. That is why we are playing the game.”
Considering the throwback uniforms the team has tried in previous year, it would be fair to say this latest incarnation is a vast improvement over the “bumblebee” jerseys we saw from 2012 to 2016, or the one they wore for the NFL 75th anniversary in 1994.
Stephon Tuitt is just one of many on the current roster who like the retrospective styling and the connection to the great teams of the 1970’s.
“I like it. It’s a classic look. It’s cool to wear a jersey that is something the Steelers old school legends put on too. I like that you get a chance to be a part of that. I want to be a part of the history that comes with wearing that jersey. That is one of the coolest things to be a part of.”
If this new jersey can somehow help the defense play like the Steel Curtain of the 70’s, fans may well petition the team to have the players wear them all the time.