It is hard to find a team that has had more success than the Pittsburgh Steelers. They have six Super Bowl victories and have built some of the best teams of all time coached by legends. The Steelers have had just three coaches since 1969 and they all have a case as to why they led the best team in franchise history.
Bill Cowher led Pittsburgh to nine division titles and a Super Bowl in 2005. Mike Tomlin has made two title game appearances and won one of them with a dominant team in 2008. When the thinking about great times surrounding Steelers football, Chuck Noll and the 1970's immediately come to mind.
Noll took the Steelers' job in 1969 and had the team as a staple in the playoffs by 1972. During the '70s, the Steelers made the playoffs eight times and won four Super Bowls. But no team was better than the one that took the field in 1978.
The 1978 season saw a lot of rule changes implemented. The regular season was extended from 14 games to 16 games and the playoffs went from eight teams to 10. The “Mel Blount rule” was put in place prohibiting defenders from making contact with receivers more than five yards down the field. None of the new rules hindered the Steelers and their dominating defense.
The Steelers allowed just 12.2 points per game and held opponents to 10 or fewer points on seven different occasions. The Houston Oilers and Kansas City Chiefs were the only teams to score 20 or more points on the Steel Curtain defense. What the Steelers were waiting on finally arrived in 1978. That was a strong offense to pair with the defensive unit. Terry Bradshaw was named MVP after throwing a league-high 28 touchdowns.
Pittsburgh rolled into the postseason. They outscored the Oilers and Denver Broncos by a combined 67-15 over the first two games. Then came the Dallas Cowboys, which would turn into the biggest Super Bowl of the decade. The Steelers would strike first on a John Stallworth touchdown reception, but Dallas would quickly answer and take a 14-7 lead. A flip switched for Pittsburgh and they scored 28 of the next 31 points.
Roger Staubach would add two fourth-quarter scores to make the final boxscore look respectable, but the Steelers would not be taken down after their miraculous season. It was a 35-31 win and Pittsburgh solidified themselves as the team of the decade. This win in Super Bowl XIII would be their third in five years. The Steelers also won the big game in 1979, becoming the first team to win back-to-back titles twice.
Bradshaw was named Super Bowl MVP after throwing for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. Bradshaw, along with Lynn Swann, Mike Webster, Jack Ham, and Joe Greene, were names Pro Bowl starters. Pittsburgh had five reserves as well. The awards and accolades continue with the team having eight players named All-NFL in some variation.
The Steelers finished 12-2 just a few years earlier in 1975. Fast forward to 2004 when the team set a franchise mark with a 15-1 record. The difference between those teams and 1978, they both lost in the AFC Championship Game. The 1978 team was able to complete the season and take home a Super Bowl win.