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Round 2 of Steelers March Madness: The Best of the Rest featuring No. 3 seed 2017 vs. No. 6 seed 1994

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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 1994 Steelers and the 2017 version?

Eric Green

BTSC continues to search for the best and most-memorable Steeler team to not win a title. Last time around, you voted the No. 8 seeded (due to record) 1976 team that dominated defensively after a 1-4 start over a team that ran out of film vs. the Spygate Patriots. Here’s the final tally.

No. 2 - 2001: Inaugural Heinz Field Heroes - 14%

No. 8 - 1976: The Steel Curtain Defense at their highest level - 86%

Once again, you may not agree with the seedings...but they were done by record in the regular season and then postseason success. In the most recent matchup, the lower seed triumphed.

This time around we pit a high-potential team that suffered big egos, a devestating injury, a rule-changing call and looking ahead against a high-potential team that looked ahead and fell three yards shy. 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. 3 Seed: 2017 (13-3) Team Turmoil

The 2017 version of the Steelers epitomized the nickname of “Team Turmoil”. It started as the first season that the club would have without Dan Rooney after his death in April of that year. The team added talent by selecting TJ Watt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Conner and adding Joe Haden and Vance McDonald. The regular season began with Le’Veon Bell showing up at the last minute and taking some time to scrape the rust off. In Week 3, everybody but Alejandro Villanueva stayed in the tunnel during the National Anthem and unrest in Steeler Nation and the NFL (as a whole) ensued. In Week 5, Ben threw five picks and Antonio Brown threw a Gatorade cooler in a 30-9 loss. But the Steelers reeled off eight-straight to extend their record to 11-2. In that stretch...the Steelers stunned unbeaten Kansas City at Arrowhead, Rosie Nix manhandled Cincy’s Vontaze Burfict in a win at home, Martavis Bryant blasted Smith-Schuster and was suspended for failing to show up to the facility after a win, JuJu reeled off a 97-yarder in a win against Detroit the game following that, Joe Haden went out with an injury and Ben feuded with Todd Haley in Indy, the team destroyed the Titans on TNF in their Color Rush jerseys, Ryan Shazier suffered his devestating injury in Cincy, JJSS was suspended for a blindsided hit on Burfict in that same game and the Steelers came back in an emotional 39-38 game against Baltimore. Then came the infamous Jesse James call that helped aid a loss against New England to snap the win streak and lose the top seed. A week later, James Harrison got himself released and fled to the Patriots. In the playoffs, the Steelers were caught looking ahead to a rematch against New England and faltered mightily against Jacksonville 45-42. It was a disappointing and underachieving end to a very promising season. Possibly the worst return from a talented group that included ten Pro Bowlers. It would be Le’Veon Bell’s last season on the field for Pittsburgh.

Pro Bowlers: Le’Veon Bell, Chris Boswell, Antonio Brown, David DeCastro, Cam Heyward, Maurice Pouncey, Roosevelt Nix, Ben Roethlisberger, Ryan Shazier and Alejandro Villanueva

First-Team All Pros: Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, David DeCastro and Cam Heyward

Team MVP: Antonio Brown

No. 1 Draft Pick: T.J. Watt

Rookie of the Year: JuJu Smith-Schuster


No. 6 Seed: 1994 (12-4) Not Quite 60-Minute Men

The third season of Bill Cowher’s tenure seemed to have the ingredients of a team to turn the corner. Barry Foster was back and seemed healthy, Neil O’Donnell was seemingly in command of the offense and the defense with Rod Woodson, Carnell Lake, Greg Lloyd and Kevin Greene looked to be the epitome of dominance. They also added a good bit of talent in the draft with names like Charles Johnson, Brentson Buckner, Jason Gildon, Bam Morris and Myron Bell. The season started on a sour note in a home loss to Dallas. In fact a 2-2 record wasn’t the beginning that Steeler Nation desired, but wins in 10 of the next 11 turned sour to sweet. Leading the way for the Steelers that year were O’Donnell, Foster (851 yards/5 TDs), Morris (836 yards/7 TDs), Charles Johnson (577 yards), Eric Green (618 yards/4 TDs), Chad Brown (8.5 sacks), Ray Seals (7 sacks), Kevin Greene (14 sacks), Lloyd (8.5 sacks), Darren Perry (7 INTs) and Woodson (4 INTs). The signature win came in the playoffs against Bill Belichick, Vinny Testeverde and the Cleveland Browns to the tune of 29-9. With spirits high and being favorites to go to their first Super Bowl in 15 years, the Steelers welcomed the San Diego Chargers and may have looked right past them. Seals organized the infamous “60 Minute Men” video and players seemed more concerned about SB tickets for friends and family. Up 13-3 in the third, the Chargers scored twice on passes of 43 yards from Stan Humphries to Alfred Pupunu and Tony Martin. Starring for the Chargers that day was Junior Seau with 15 tackles. But with a 4th and Goal on the three, No. 14’s pass to Foster was batted away in the end zone and Steeler Nation felt despair as a very strong team fell three-yards shy and couldn’t go 60 minutes to win the conference. 1994 would be the final seasons of Barry Foster and Eric Green in a Pittsburgh Steelers uniform.

Pro Bowlers: Dermontti Dawson, Eric Green, Kevin Greene, Duval Love, Carnell Lake, Greg Lloyd and Rod Woodson

First-Team All Pros: Dermontti Dawson, Kevin Greene, Greg Lloyd and Rod Woodson

Second-Team All Pros: Carnell Lake

Team MVP: Greg Lloyd

No. 1 Draft Pick: Charles Johnson

Rookie of the Year: Byron “Bam” Morris


Even though the 2017 team had a 13-3 season, they exited early with question marks of what might’ve been. Meanwhile the 1994 team had a talented defense, but faltered when it counted the most. Vote and comment below.

Poll

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

  • 31%
    No. 3 Seed: 2017 (13-3) Team Turmoil
    (52 votes)
  • 68%
    No. 6 Seed: 1994 (12-4) Not Quite 60-Minute Men
    (113 votes)
165 votes total Vote Now

Check back Wednesday for the results and the final. C matchup of Round Two.