While there are many birthdays to celebrate among the long list of iconic players who have made their name with the Pittsburgh Steelers, there is perhaps no date on the calendar more significant in team history than July 8.
Founded for the princely sum of $2,500 in 1933 by Art Rooney Sr, around $48,000 today, the Steelers were born on this date 86-years-ago. Legend has it that most of this money came from Mr Rooney’s winnings at the race track and today that investment is worth in excess of $2.45 billion, according to Forbes.
Originally known as the Pirates, the Steelers played most of their games at Forbes Field until moving to Three Rivers Stadium in 1970; the move into Heinz Field coming in 2000. With just one playoff appearance in 1947 to speak of until 1972, Pittsburgh waited 41 years for any notable success before eventually establishing themselves as one of the league more elite franchises.
It is perhaps fitting to note that July 8 is also the birthday of iconic linebacker Jack Lambert, a player who was a key member of the 70’s teams. Selected by the Steelers in 1974, Lambert’s arrival would help propel Pittsburgh to their first ever Super Bowl victory, a season that would also see him voted Defensive Rookie of the Year.
In 11 seasons with the Steelers, Lambert won four Super Bowls, was voted to nine Pro Bowls, was named First-team All-Pro six times and Second-team All-Pro twice. The NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1976 to go along with his DROY honors in 1974, the former Kent State product was voted to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, as well as the 70’s and 80’s All-Decade teams. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall in 1990.
While his number has not been officially retired, no one has worn it since, with Lambert supposedly having told the equipment manager he was never allowed to issue it again. However, Lambert’s number can still be spotted on game day being worn by countless fans.