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Pittsburgh Steelers – Established 1933

The tale of the Pittsburgh Steelers dates back to 1933 and begins with a local businessman Arthur J. Rooney. Because of oppressive “blue laws” at the time in Pennsylvania, professional sports were banned on Sundays. But, due to the rising popularity of NFL football, the Commonwealth decided to relax those laws to allow football in the Keystone State.

Rooney already owned a semi-pro team in the area named the J.P. Rooneys. But, for the price of $2,500, the J.P. Rooneys suited up as the Pittsburgh Pirates for the 1940 season. It was customary for NFL and Baseball teams in the same city to share a derivation of a name, but it was odd to pick the exact same name. Rooney saw his mistake and changed the name to the Steelers not long after. They are the seventh oldest franchise in the NFL.

Between 1940 and the NFL/AFL merger in 1970, the Steelers were one of the worst teams in the league. But, since the 1970 merger, Pittsburgh is one of the most successful teams in history. They went from the oldest team to never win a league title to a dynasty in the 1970s NFL.

The entire history of this franchise turned around with the hiring of Chuck Noll for the 1969 season. Noll was amazing in the draft and selected “Mean” Joe Green in 1969, Terry Bradshawaw in 1970, Jack Ham in 1971, and Franco Harris in 1972. If that wasn’t enough, in 1974 Noll picked four Hall of Famers in one NFL draft, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth, Lynn Swann, and Mike Webster. With four of the best draft years the league will ever see, the Steelers went on to make the playoffs in eight straight years and won four Super Bowls between1974 and 1979.

But, all good things must come to an end and the Steelers dynasty crumbled in 1980 after injuries decimated the remaining veteran talent. The pieces of the dynasty began to retire and it took more than a decade for them to get back on track.

Bill Cowher took over in 1992 and led the Steelers to a 149-90-1 regular season record in his time at the wheel. Cowher, and Ben Roethlisberger, led the Steelers to another Super Bowl title in 2005 before Cowher’s retirement in 2007.

Mike Tomlin took the reins in 2007 and led the franchise to another Super Bowl in 2009, their second of the decade. At age 36, Tomlin was the youngest coach to lead his team to a Super Bowl. In 2010, he became the youngest coach to reach the Super Bowl twice.

But, in recent years, the Steelers look a lot like they did in 1980. Now, with Roethelseberger retired, the Steelers have a chance to rebuild for the first time in a long time. But, It’s going to be a long road back to the SuperBowl for Tomlin and this team.