clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Round 2 of Pittsburgh Steelers March Madness: The Best of the Rest featuring No. 2 seed 2001 vs. No. 8 seed 1976

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 2001 Steelers and the 1976 version?

Vikings v Steelers X

BTSC continues to search for the best and most-memorable Steeler team to not win a title. Last time around, you voted a 15-1 team featuring a star rookie QB that fell short of the Super Bowl over a team that came close to a huge update over Dallas in SB XXX. Here are the final tallies.

No. 1 - 2004: The 15-1 Ben-ginning of a new era - 63%

No. 10- 1995: More than one Big Nasty D - 37%

Here is the remaining schedule for Round Two:

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 then postseason success.

This time around we pit a 13-3 AFCCG team against a team that may have three-peated if not for injury. 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. 2 Seed: 2001 (13-3) Inaugural Heinz Field Heroes

After three-straight years out of the playoffs, the Steelers christened the newly-opened, Heinz Field with their best record in 13 seasons. The season started out rocky with a 21-3 loss in Jacksonville. After two weeks off due to 9/11 and a scheduled bye, Kordell Stewart and Jerome Bettis led the way to wins in 13 of the next 15 regular-season games. Hines Ward and Plaxico Burress each went over 1,000 receiving yards. The signature win came in Week 14 at Baltimore. After beating the Ravens in the Divisional Playoffs at home, the Steelers fell to the Patriots at home in the AFCCG 21-17

Pro Bowlers: Kendrell Bell, Jerome Bettis, Alan Faneca, Jason Gildon, Kordell Stewart, Hines Ward

First-Team All Pros: Alan Faneca, Jason Gildon

Second-Team All Pros: Kendrell Bell, Jeff Hartings

Team MVP: Kordell Stewart

First Round Selection: Casey Hampton

Rookie of the Year: Kendrell Bell

No. 8 Seed: 1976 (10-4)

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

While the 2001 team had a 13-3 season, Kordell and Co. may not evoke memories of one of the greatest defenses of all time. Vote and comment below.


Which Steelers team do you consider the "Best of the Rest" not to win a title in Round Two of BTSC’s March Madness poll?

This poll is closed

  • 86%
    No. 8 Seed: 1976 - The Steel Curtain Defense at their highest level
    (140 votes)
  • 13%
    No. 2 Seed: 2001 - Inaugural Heinz Field Heroes
    (22 votes)
162 votes total Vote Now

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