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A Letter From the Editor: The forgotten eras of Steelers football

What about those eras of Steelers football which were great, despite not adding to the trophy case?

Buffalo Bills v Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a rich history, and almost everyone who cites this tradition talks about the same bullet points.

  • 6 Super Bowls
  • 3 coaches since 1969
  • The ridiculous number of Hall of Famers (29 to be exact)
  • 1970s dynasty winning 4 rings in 6 seasons

While all of the above are incredible feats, the one thing I constantly think about are those teams/eras who didn’t claim the ultimate prize, but were certainly worthy of a tremendous amount of praise from the fan base.

The early years of the Steelers organization were rough. Not much to write home about, yet players like Ernie Stautner developed a Hall of Fame career and was the first number officially retired by the organization.

The 80s were mostly considered to be the forgotten years of Steelers lore; however, those teams had some tremendous players like Mike Merriweather, Robin Cole and Dwayne Woodruff.

The 90s saw the Steelers get to several AFC Championship games, and even Super Bowl XXX, but fail to bring home a ring. However, tremendous players like Barry Foster, Bam Morris, Yancy Thigpen, Carnell Lake, Levon Kirkland, Chad Brown and many others were the glue which held those Blitzburgh teams together.

The early 2000s saw the Steelers return to glory twice, but the team has fallen short ever since. During those times you have to wonder if a player like Cam Heyward will be able to hoist a Lombardi trophy, or be one of the “best to never win a ring”. Recently on an episode of Footbahlin’ with Ben Roethlisberger, T.J. Watt asked Roethlisberger what it was like to win a Super Bowl. You could hear in both Roethlisberger’s answer, as well as Watt’s question, how this has been eating at Watt not being able to claim the ultimate prize in his sport.

Considering that, you have to wonder how many of those aforementioned players in the 80s, 90s and even those recently who weren’t able to win it all have that empty feeling in their stomachs.

Recently on Twitter I’ve seen a lot of clips from those teams who never won a Super Bowl, and I’ve enjoyed watching those teams and seeing just how great they were at times. Young fans of the Steelers have no idea what Jerome Bettis was like in his prime. Instead, they just remember the part-time player who often needed injections just to be able to suit up and be a short yardage back.

If you are one of those fans, or even if you lived through those eras of Steelers football, take some time this summer and watch some YouTube clips of those teams. You’ll learn about the team, and some great players who are often overlooked due to the massive amount of success the organization has had through the years. It will help you appreciate the team more, trust me.

(Note: The Letter From the Editor feature runs every Sunday during the Pittsburgh Steelers offseason.)