BTSC continues to rank the best numbers in team history on a standpoint of thriving over time throughout multiple players. It seems there are a few numbers which are always represented with quality play in Steeler lore. One BTSC author has wondered aloud “what is the most accomplished number in Steelers history?” Through player and jersey value rankings found in Pro Football Reference, we have ranked the most successful numbers in Steelers history worn by various players. You won’t see numbers like 12, 58, 75, 32, 52, 59, 36, 63 and 47 as it would be basically ranking an individual player over the other and not the cumulative effort. In today’s submission, we take a look at those ranked 25th. Enjoy.
25) No. 24
Most Notable: Ike Taylor 2003-2014, Chris Oldham 1995-1999, Rich Erenberg 1984-1986, J.T Thomas 1973-1981, Jim Bradshaw 1963-1967
Current Wearer: Benny Snell Jr. (2019-Present)
Barry Bonds, Brian Giles and Mike Easler are probably the lords of the two-four in Pitsburgh sports history. But that’s one of the few advantages the Pirates have over their Steel City sports brothers. When you look at the Men of Steel to boast the No. 24 on their chests. defensive backs have had more success than running backs. The two Super Steelers who are recognized most for wearing it are corners J.T. Thomas and Ivan “Ike” Taylor. Between the two, they locked down receivers for 21 years.
Thomas was another awesome player lost in the shuffle of superstars on the vaunted Steel Curtain defense of the 1970s. Playing alongside Mel Blount, the duo was dubbed as the 6th best cornerback tandem in NFL history by NFL.com. J.T., not to be confused with the Survivor winner of the same name, had 20 interceptions in his nine seasons with the Steelers. The 4-time Super Bowl champ was named to the 1976 Pro Bowl.
If Taylor had possessed better hands, he would have been a perennial Pro Bowler (Ike came up huge in Super Bowl XL with a key pick late). Nonetheless, Ike was the best corner on his two Lombardi-winning clubs and a major team force. He was also a locker room leader on a dominating defense during his twelve seasons at Heinz Field.
Check back soon for the 24th best jersey in BTSC’s countdown of the most prolific jersey number stables in Steelers history. But first, a recap of the countdown so far.