BTSC has completed their search for the best and most-memorable Steeler team to not win a title. Through the last six weeks, you the BTSC reader, have voted from 19 total teams and have deemed the 1976 team the best never to hoist a Lombardi. In fact, some believe it to be the best and possibly most-cursed Steeler team ever. Here are the final results.
No. 8 Seed: 1976 - The Steel Curtain Defense at their highest level - 83%
No. 5 Seed: 2010 - Slipping on the Stairway to Seven - 17%
Once again, here is one final look at Chuck Noll’s great team that suffered devastating injuries at the worst possible time.
No. 8 Seed: 1976 - The Steel Curtain Defense at their highest level
After winning their first two titles the previous two seasons, it seemed likely that the Steelers could three-peat as an even stronger unit. However, Chuck Noll’s team shockingly started off as a disappointing 1-4. To make matters worse, QB Terry Bradshaw was injured in a Week 5 loss in Cleveland. Bradshaw sustained the injury after the infamous Joe “Turkey” Jones slamdown. Fortunes would turn with Mike Kruczek behind center, as the rookie set a NFL record (later broken by Ben Roethlisberger in 2004) for wins to start a career. Bradshaw would return intermittently throughout the remainder of the season, but most of the Steelers success was due to a suffocating defense (five shutouts and a mere 28 points surrendered in those final nine games) and the rushing tandem of Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier. Harris (1,128 yards/14 TDs and Bleier (1,026 yards/5 TDs) were basically the entire offense, as the leading receiver (Lynn Swann) had a mere 516 yards and three scores. On a defense that included five All Pros, Mel Blount and Glen Edwards led with six interceptions a piece and Jack Lambert had two picks and six fumble recoveries. In the playoffs, the Steelers pounded Baltimore 40-14. Bradshaw threw three TD passes, two of them to Swann and Reggie Harrison had two rushing scores. Harrison was in due to injuries in the game to Harris and Bleier. Unfortunately, No. 46 and the Steelers weren’t as productive without the pair of 1K rushers the next week in the AFC Championship against Oakland. The Raiders went on to play Minnesota in SB XI, while Steeler Nation saw one of their best teams in franchise history wonder what might have been.
Pro Bowlers: Mel Blount, Terry Bradshaw, Glen Edwards, Joe Greene, L. C. Greenwood, Jack Ham, Franco Harris, Jack Lambert, Andy Russell, Lynn Swann and Mike Wagner
First-Team All Pros: Jack Ham, Jack Lambert and Glen Edwards
Second-Team All Pros: Joe Greene and Mike Wagner
Team MVP: Jack Lambert
No. 1 Draft Pick: Bennie Cunningham
Thanks for all of the comments and votes. In the comments section, feel free to suggest next year’s March Madness topic.