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Round 2 of Pittsburgh Steelers March Madness: The Best of the Rest featuring No. 1 seed 2004 vs. No. 10 seed 1995

Bracketing the best teams in the past 50 years of Pittsburgh Steelers history never to win a title. Who do you consider the “Best of the Rest” between the 2014 Steelers and the 1995 version?


BTSC continues to search for the best and most-memorable Steeler team to not win a title. Last time around, you voted the team that fell three yards short of a Super Bowl over a team that couldn’t beat New England in the AFCCG again. Here are the results...

No. 8 Seed: 1976 - The Steel Curtain Defense at their highest level - 97%

No. 9 Seed: 1973 - About three bricks shy of a load - 3%

Here is the schedule for Round Two:

No. 1 Seed: 2004 (15-1) vs No. 10 Seed: 1995 (11-5)

No. 2 Seed: 2001 (13-3) vs No. 8 Seed: 1976 (10-4)

No. 3 Seed: 2017 (13-3) vs No. 6 Seed: 1994 (12-4)

No. 4 Seed: 1972 (11-3) vs No. 5 Seed: 2010 (12-4)

Once again, you may not agree with the seedings...but they were done by record in the regular season and gives a chance for upset.

This time around we pit a 15-1 team against a team that nearly got that “thumb ring”. Both teams featured CB Willie Williams. Be sure to vote for the team that remains the most memorable to you or the one you feel is simply the “best of the rest”. Your choice. Be sure to wax poetically in the comment section below.

No. 1 Seed: 2004 (15-1)

Ben Roethlisberger’s rookie season saw Bill Cowher’s Steelers post their best regular season record in the team’s history. Ben shattered the NFL record of six wins by a QB to start his NFL career by going 13-0 in the regular season. Besides the mania surrounding the rookie phenom, this was the season that saw the debuts of Duce Staley and Willie Parker in Pittsburgh and the original last days of Plaxico Burress. We also saw James Harrison get to take advantage of a chance when Joey Porter punched William Green in Pregame of a November bout in Cleveland. The highlights of the season included beating undefeated New England (halting their 21-game win-spree) and Philadelphia in back-to-back games in Weeks 8 & 9 respectively. The story ended at home in the AFC Championship Game as New England trounced the Steelers 41-27 and went on to win the Super Bowl.

Pro Bowlers: Jerome Bettis, Alan Faneca, James Farrior, Jeff Hartings, Troy Polamalu, Joey Porter, Aaron Smith, Marvel Smith, Hines Ward

First-Team All Pros: Alan Faneca, James Farrior, Jeff Hartings, Troy Polamalu, Joey Porter, Aaron Smith, Marvel Smith, Hines Ward

Second-Team All Pros: Troy Polamalu, Joey Porter, Hines Ward

Team MVP: James Farrior

No. 1 Draft Pick: Ben Roethlisberger

Rookie of the Year: Ben Roethlisberger

After falling three-yards short in the AFC Championship at home against San Diego after the 2004 season, the Steelers were itching to get back and avenge that loss. The franchise lost some key personnel in the offseason as well, with RB Barry Foster’s departure, Gary Anderson to the Eagles and TE Eric Green joining the Dolphins for a huge deal. However, the addition of RB Erric Pegram from the Falcons and Andre Hastings from Tampa in free agency and a draft class that included TE Mark Breuer, Kordell Stewart and G Brendan Stai helped ease those losses and make the Steelers the NFL’s top scoring offense that year. On opening day a devestating blow was felt as CB Rod Woodson was lost for the remainder of the regular season with a knee injury. Starting QB Neil O’Donnell went down too and would miss four games. Mike Tomczak and Jim Miller would both fill in at QB and Willie Williams (a 6th rounder from ‘93) stepped-in and later Carnell Lake switched to corner to fill the huge void left by Woodson. Despite winning the first two games and going 3-2 in O’Donnell’s absence, the ‘95ers found themselves at a dismal 3-4 (that included a loss to expansion Jacksonville) and were eerily close to watching their division hopes crash and burn early on. The team met in the locker room and vowed to pull together in what would essentially be a nine-game season. They went on a tear, winning the next eight games, before losing in Green Bay in Week 17. That streak included two notable victories in which the Steelers had to come from behind in Chicago and Cincinnati. The Cincy win came after they were down 18. This season also saw the emergence of Stewart. Nicknamed “Slash” for his jack-of-all-trades contributions, No. 10 helped revitalize the team. Other leaders included 0’Donnell, Pegram (813 yards/5 TDs), Morris (9 TDs), Ernie Mills (8 TDs), Yancey Thigpen (1,307 yards/5 TDs), Williams (7 INTs), Greg Lloyd (6.5 sacks/6 forced fumbles), Kevin Greene (9 sacks), Ray Seals (8.5 sacks) and Norm Johnson (141 points as the NFL leader). After clinching, Bill Cowher rallied the team by telling them they had (as the two seed) at least one game at home. It would be more like two. After demolishing Buffalo 40-21, the Steelers welcomed Jim “Captain Comeback” Harbaugh and the underdog Indianapolis Colts to Three Rivers. A defensive stand, a conversion on 4th and three late from O’Donnell to Hastings, a Bam Morris TD after a 37-yard catch by Mills and a dropped Hail Mary by Aaron Bailey in the end zone highlighted a very exciting AFCCG. The Steelers would gain entry to their first SB in 16 years and Steeler Nation was at a fevered pitch. The Steelers fell behind in Arizona in SB XXX to Dallas 13-0, but a Thigpen TD catch cut the lead right before halftime. In the second half, momentum was clearly on Pittsburgh’s side. A surprise onsides recovered by Deon Figures, a Levon Kirkland sack and a Morris TD put the Steelers in position to take the lead. However, No. 14 threw to ugly interceptions to Larry Brown and the underdog Steelers couldn’t pull off the win. On the way to the locker room, Bill Cowher hugged and kissed his family and said to his daughter, “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose”. This would be the last game for O’Donnell and Morris in a Pittsburgh Uniform. Neil would join the Jets after signing a big deal and Morris would get busted with a huge bag of weed and get cut in the offseason. Despite the loss in the big one, 1995 goes down as an almost magical season in Steeler lore.

Pro Bowlers: Dermontti Dawson, Kevin Greene, Carnell Lake, Greg Lloyd, and Yancey Thigpen

First-Team All Pros: Dermontti Dawson and Greg Lloyd

Second-Team All Pros: Carnell Lake

Team MVP: Neil O’Donnell

No. 1 Draft Pick: Mark Breuner

Rookie of the Year: Kordell Stewart

While the 2004 team had a near perfect regular season, there were a lot of close calls and the team barely made it past the Jets in the Divisional Round. The 1995 struggled out of the gate due to major injuries and then finished strong. Both had amazing strengths and flaws as well.


Which Steelers team do you consider the "Best of the Rest" not to win a title?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    No. 10 Seed: 1995 (11-5)
    (101 votes)
  • 63%
    No. 1 Seed 2004 (15-1)
    (176 votes)
277 votes total Vote Now

Check back Friday for the results and the next matchup of Round Two.