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Things about the Steelers I assumed were true until I became wiser (or at least older)

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There were many things about the Steelers that I grew up believing to be true, only to be enlightened thanks to my elders, my peers, my love of reading, and, oh yes, the Internet Age.

Malcolm Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Growing up in the 80s, long before the Internet, information wasn't as easy to come by for kids as it is today with knowledge just one click (and, hopefully, one accurate wikipedia page) away.

When it came to my thirst for Steelers information, there were many things I spent years assuming were facts based on faulty intel or by just assuming they were true (because why wouldn't they be?). Thankfully, growing older and/or being set straight by my elders, my peers, books, and, obviously, the Internet has enlightened me for the better.

Join me as I share with you how I was cured of (most) of my old Steelers' ignorance.

--For literally decades, I was under the impression that Art Rooney, Sr., the Steelers' founder and long-time owner who acquired the franchise in 1933, did so by betting on horses.

Since Mr. Rooney did bet on horses, his history of gambling would often come up during fan discussions of certain games where the team didn't cover the spread: "You know, old man Rooney won the team while gambling. I mean, think about it. The Steelers always go into prevent way too early."

As it turns out, the Chief didn't become one of the founding owners of the NFL with money he won at the track. I'm not sure how he came up with the cash for  the team, but I do now know that his huge horse winning parlay that made him a wealthy man occurred three years later, in 1936.

--When I first started following the Steelers in the early 80s, I knew they were four-time Super Bowl champions in the previous decade, but what I didn't know was that their first Lombardi trophy wasn't acquired in 1972.

Why did I think the Steelers were Super Bowl champions in '72? Why wouldn't I think that. I mean, the Immaculate Reception happened that year, and it was such a glorious moment in team history (still the top one, as many people will proudly tell you), it just had to have ended with a parade.

It wasn't until around 11 years old, when my mom clued me in, that I realized more growing had to take place (and more Hall of Famers had to be drafted) before the dynasty days could truly begin, which they did in 1974, with the franchise's first Super Bowl parade.

--When I was a kid, my grandmother told me on more than one occasion that Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh's four-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, married the sister of Roger Staubach, the Cowboy's two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback.

I don't know what I did with this information at the time (what did I care?), but I believed it well into my 30s.

It wasn't until I read Bradshaw's book: It's Only a Game, that I discovered it was actually JoJo Starbuck, the famed figure skater, who the Blond Bomber was married to from 1976-1983.

(I like my family's urban legend of Bradshaw stealing Staubach's sister better, though.)

--Since all three are currently enshrined in Canton, Ohio, I assumed for many years that Mike Webster, John Stallworth and Lynn Swann started each of the four Super Bowls in the 70s.

Turns out, thanks to websites like wikipedia and Pro-Football Reference, I now understand that Ray Mansfield, the Old Ranger, started both Super Bowls IX and X, and that old Webby didn't become a full-time starter until 1976.

As for Swanny and Stallworth (like Webster, rookies in '74), neither started in Super Bowl IX (it was Frank Lewis and Ron Shanklin). For the day, Stallworth pulled in three passes for 24 yards, while Swann had zero catches for zero yards, only touching the football once on a run for minus seven yards.

Thankfully (at least for him), Swann started Super Bowl X and garnered MVP honors after hauling in four passes for 161 yards and the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

As for Stallworth, he wouldn't become a full-fledged starter opposite Swann until 1977 (actually didn't know that one until this writing).

--Much like my childhood heroes that I would watch on TV and in the movies, I just assumed the Steelers' dynasty of the 70s was one with no flaws, and that all those games and Super Bowls were achieved through perfection.

However, it wasn't until watching a DVD of Super Bowl XIV in-which broadcasters Pat Summerall and Tom Brookshier mentioned the Steelers problems with turning the football over in 1979 that I realized the offense led the NFL in turnovers that year with 52 and, as a team, Pittsburgh finished at minus 10 in that department.

--Because of their 14-2 regular season, along with their victory over Dallas in Super Bowl XIII, I just assumed that the Steelers' 1978 edition was the best in team history.

But thanks to being clued in by respected and knowledgeable fans like BTSC's own Maryrose only a few years ago, I began to realize just how dominant the 1975 Steelers were on their way to winning Super Bowl X.

Averaging over 26 points a game? Winning 12 of 14 games and doing so by a margin of almost 18 points in each victory? A defense that took the football away 37 times?

I'd say the evidence is fairly strong that 1975 may have been the team's finest.

--This doesn't necessarily have to do with the Steelers, but thanks to loving them, I collected old Topps sticker albums growing up, and because of how they listed the divisions on the back, I had my directions (at least East and West) reversed. I probably shouldn't blame Topps for this (maybe the school system I was in), but on the back of these books, the Eastern divisions of the NFL were listed on the left, with the Western divisions placed on the right.

It wasn't until the age of 12, when my uncle "schooled" me on this subject (he's actually the same age as me, and we both went to the same school, so I guess I was just dumb), that I realized how poor my sense of direction really was.

To this day, when I think of the NFL divisions, I picture the back of my old .Topps Stickers Albums.

(I realize the NFL has expanded since the early 80s and has eliminated the old Central divisions in each conference and added a North and a South, but try telling that to my photographic memory.)