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The Pittsburgh Steelers’ very best ever…

Well, my fellow Citizens of the One and Only Nation, I have come up with this idea and I hope you like it.

I’m going look at some part of our beloved franchise and evaluate the best of that item. I invite you to debate, discuss, and argue over my selections. I’m no expert. These are only my opinions and I openly admit I could be wrong, but I think my lists will be very close to what most of us would say if asked.

Also, I would like to invite you to suggest items for me to evaluate and rank. I’m always looking for ideas for things to write about.

So, for this first week, I will look at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ very best ever Super Bowl win.

If you are reading this article, you know as well as I do that the Steelers have won the most Super Bowls (six); they are tied for most Super Bowl appearances (eight, Dallas); they were the first team to win three Super Bowls; the first team to win four; and are the first (and only) team to win back to back Super Bowls twice.

It stands to reason, given the remarkable success in the Super Bowl era the Steelers have enjoyed, that we start there.

So, here we go from “worst” to best, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Super Bowl victories.

#6 – Super Bowl XL – Seattle Seahawks

The road to this win might have been the most impressive thing about it. The Steelers were all but eliminated from the playoffs and had to win their last four games just to get the six seed in the AFC. After accomplishing that, all they did was become the second team ever to win three road playoff games. They became the first team ever to play against and beat all three top seeds in the conference playoffs.

And they became the first six seed to defeat a one seed in the Super Bowl.

However, the game itself was marred by questionable officiating and sloppy play. QB Ben Roethlisberger, who came into the game off great performances in the three playoff games, managed only 9 of 21 passing for 123 yards, no touchdowns, and two picks. In fact, WR Antwaan Randel-El, it could be argued, had a better day at quarterback than Ben, as he completed his only pass for 43 yards and a touchdown.

The other notable play in this game was RB Willie Parker’s Super Bowl record run of 75 yards.

Overall, though, it was not a very good game, and is easily the “worst” Super Bowl win by the Steelers, even if it was their “one for the thumb.”

#5 – Super Bowl XIII – Dallas Cowboys

If you only look at the final score, you might think this was a good game, and it was for much of the game.

However, in the span of 19 seconds in the fourth quarter, the Steelers put up 14 points over the defending champs, and the Cowboys simply could not overcome the multitude of mistakes they made.

QB Terry Bradshaw put up a then-record 318 passing yards and four touchdowns en route to Super Bowl MVP honors.

The two teams came into the game with the best defenses in the league, so it stands to reason that those defenses would allow 59 points between them, and score only one defensive touchdown, right?

This game was entertaining, to be sure, especially for Steeler Nation, but when you are sporting two of the best defenses in the game at the time, you would expect a lower scoring game.

#4 – Super Bowl XIV – Los Angeles Rams

Much like the previous year, this was a game until the Steelers remembered they were the Steelers and put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter. Unlike the previous year, however, the Steelers, who were heavy favorites to win, were trailing going into the fourth.

Los Angeles learned the lessons taught to them by the Cowboys the year before. They took care of the ball and minimized their mistakes to keep themselves in the game, and winning. Their only real mistake was a late-game pick thrown by QB Vince Farragamo which lead to a Steelers’ touchdown that put the game out of reach.

Terry Bradshaw managed to get Super Bowl MVP despite throwing only 21 passes, completing 14 of them, and three interceptions. He also managed 309 passing yards and two touchdowns.

It is a testament to the quality of the wins above this one that this one is in fourth place. There were seven lead changes in this game and it widely considered to be one of the most competitive Super Bowls ever played.

#3 – Super Bowl IX – Minnesota Vikings

It really wasn’t much of a game, and is the second closest we have ever come to having a shutout in the Super Bowl, but for Steeler Nation, the first might have been the most sweet Super Bowl win.

Featuring a ferocious defense with four future Hall of Famers, and with the Vikings sporting their “Purple People Eaters” defense, this game is what Super Bowl XIII should have been.

It’s fitting that a defensive minded team like the Steelers should have a safety as their first ever points scored in the Super Bowl.

From a football fans’ point of view, it wasn’t much fun to watch. Let’s face it, this might have been one of the games they pointed to when they decided to make rules changes to open up offensive scoring. For a fan of the Black and Gold, though, this game was bliss.

#2 – Super Bowl XLIII – Arizona Cardinal

This game had it all. Strong defensive plays? Check. Incredible offensive plays? Check. A wire to wire battle with both teams having a chance to win? You got it.

How about the longest play in Super Bowl history? Yep, we’ve got that, too. When LB James Harrison stepped in front of a Kurt Warner pass on his own goal line and took off down the field, he would make history as his 100-yard return would be the longest play ever in the big game. (It has since been surpassed.)

This game had dominating play by receivers. Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald racked up 127 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Game MVP Santonio Holmes had 131 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Who can forget that catch?

Both quarterbacks played well, racking up over 600 combined yards through the air and four scores.

About the only thing missing from this game was any kind of running game. Neither team could find any room on the ground, but that is more a testament to the great play of the defenses than anything else.

#1 – Super Bowl X – Dallas Cowboys

Forty-one years, and a little more than six months. That’s how long Steelers founder Art Rooney waited to lift a championship trophy. In those four decades, he watched his team lose well and lose badly, but they always lost.

On January 12, 1976, when the Steelers won Super Bowl IX, it validated to Art that football could live and thrive in a small city like Pittsburgh.

A year later, the Steelers repeated as Super Bowl champs, and the rest of the world was put on notice that the Steelers would no longer be a doormat in the NFL.

In a game that featured two of the most popular teams in the NFL, and two completely different styles of football, a Super Bowl rivalry was born.

The Steelers were old-money, blue collar, hard-nosed football players who packed their lunch boxes and went to work every day. The Cowboys were nouveau-riche, white-collar pretty boys who didn’t like to get dirty.

They were as different as the two cities they represented.

Dallas had the lead for most of the first half, and carried that lead into the fourth quarter. There was a stretch of 36 minutes, 34 seconds in the middle of the game during which not one point was scored.

Then, the Steel Curtain blocked a punt of the end zone for a safety, and the Steelers offense scored two field goals and a touchdown in a little more than five and a half minutes to put the game away.

The stat lines are nothing to gawk over. Bradshaw completed a meager nine of 19 passes for 209 yards and two scores, while Dallas QB Roger Staubach completed 15 of 24 for 204 yards, two touchdowns, three picks.

Franco Harris led all rushers with 82 yards,but it took him 27 carries.

The real star of the game was MVP Lynn Swann. On only four catches – a couple of which might be the most amazing catches ever – he amassed 161 yards and a touchdown. That per catch average of 40.3 yards has to be some kind of record.

Because it was a competitive, exciting game, and it heralded the Steelers as one of the teams to be reckoned with for the rest of the decade, if not the entire Super Bowl era, Super Bowl X is my pick as the best Steelers’ Super Bowl win ever.

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