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 Steelers 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 23rd. Enjoy.
23) No. 83
Most Notable: Heath Miller 2005-2016, Louis Lipps 1984-1991 (pictured below), Theo Bell 1976-1980, Buddy Dial 1959
Current Wearer: Anthony Johnson
The trio of Heath Miller, Buddy Dial and Louis Lipps are the best to sport the ocho-tres. Miller was the player that defined the tight end position in Pittsburgh. The first rounder in 2005 served as Ben Roethlisberger’s safety valve in the passing game for years. Twice a Pro-Bowler, his 592 career receptions rank him third in franchise history. Heath, who retired prior to the 2016 season, sits at fourth in team history with 6,569 receiving yards.
The alliterative Louis Lipps ranks right behind Miller at fifth in team history with 358 receptions and 6,018 receiving yards. The Steelers’ top draft pick was electric as a rookie alongside John Stallworth and as a return specialist on that memorable 1984 squad. His debut season earned him the Associated Press NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and the Joe Greene Great Performance Award. Lipps had three return touchdowns included in his 46 career scores, all with Pittsburgh. The 2X Pro Bowl selection and All Pro in ‘84 and ‘85 spent eight seasons with the Steelers, He retired after a final NFL season with the Saints in 1992. Arguably, Louis Lipps was the Steelers’ offensive MVP of the 1980s.
Gilbert Leroy Dial was a second round selection of the New York Giants in 1959, but was waived and picked up by the Steelers. Buddy spent five spectacular seasons in Pittsburgh by setting team records of 229 receptions for 4,723 receiving yards, 42 touchdown receptions, single-season touchdown receptions (12), single-game receiving yards (235), single-season receiving yards (1,295), career yard-per-reception average (21.6) and single-season yards-per-reception (24.3). Dial was traded to the Cowboys in 1965 for No, 1 pick Scott Appleton, but Pittsburgh lost Appleton to Houston of the AFL and basically gave the star away for no return. The two-time Pro Bowler wore No. 83 for one season as a Steeler. before switching to No. 84. But he wore it well.
In 2018, he was inducted into the Steelers Hall of Honor
Check back soon for the 22nd 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.