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Stlrs4Life
01-27-2008, 04:29 PM
The great debate: Super Steelers or Super Patriots
Sunday, January 27, 2008
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Resolved: If the New England Patriots win Super Bowl XLII Sunday, would they be the equal of the Super Steelers?

Speaking for the affirmative: The Super Steelers.

New England's 21st century reign would make them a dynasty worthy of being ranked with the one from Pittsburgh in the 1970s if the Patriots win their fourth Super Bowl in seven seasons.

Who says? Many of those Steelers who won four Super Bowls in six seasons from January 1975 through January 1980 -- including four Pro Football Hall of Famers.

"I'll tell you what, four in seven in this era?" former linebacker Jack Ham said in admiration. "They're comparable."

"It's pretty impressive, I think," former cornerback Mel Blount said. "Especially with the way free agency works now and the salary cap, it's pretty impressive what their management and personnel people and coaches all have been able to do."

"I don't think you can compare any of the teams as best of all time because the game has changed," former wide receiver Lynn Swann said. "But certainly it's a tribute to their entire organization from [owner] Bob Kraft all the way down to the last player -- to play on a high level consistently and to be in the position they are today."

And former defensive tackle Joe Greene sees similarities between the Steelers of the 1970s and the Patriots of the young century.

"Our team, when we won the Super Bowls, we were the best, and these guys are the best now if they win. It's as simple as that. In terms of comparing, the best barometer is the approach that teams take, the attitude they have, and I think that's where you'll find it very similar. They are about the team first.

"We had our individuals, and we put them together collectively to have the success we had. I think this is probably true for this ballclub."

Ham, Blount, Swann and Greene are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They were part of a group of 22 Steelers players who earned four Super Bowl rings in the 1970s, when there was no free agency and no salary cap.

The Patriots would have just nine players with four Super Bowl rings if they defeat the New York Giants in Arizona next Sunday in the Super Bowl. The Patriots also would become the second undefeated NFL team in the 42-year history of the Super Bowl and the first to go 19-0.

The Steelers still would be the only team to win four Super Bowls in a six-season span, but the Patriots were the first to win three in four seasons. Like the Steelers in 1976 and 1977, New England did not return to the NFL championship game for two seasons until now.

"It's really a remarkable thing what the Patriots have accomplished, under the new rules of free agency," '70s Steelers free safety Mike Wagner said. "They've been able to do it with a number of different players at key positions over seven years. They struggled a couple of years ago with a number of injuries, but came close even then."

That was similar to what happened to the Steelers of 1976, when, going for an unprecedented third consecutive Super Bowl victory, they lost their starting backfield of Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier to injuries in their first playoff win. Without them, they lost the AFC championship game in Oakland.

"I just think that organization has done a tremendous job; it's obvious to everyone at this point in time," Wagner said of the Patriots. "I've been impressed with that staff and program for five years now."

Some of the '70s Steelers spoke of New England coach Bill Belichick the way they might their own coach, Chuck Noll. Belichick can join Noll as the only head coaches with 4-0 records in Super Bowls.

"When we watch football games," Wagner said, "we watch how disciplined players are -- are they doing what you think they should be doing. I think Belichick has gotten players to do what they're supposed to do without a whole lot of freelancing, and that is unique in that way. That was a large part of our success -- not just having great talent, but having great talent to do what the coaches wanted us to do."

None of the former Steelers displayed any jealousy about the Patriots approaching their accomplishments, nor did any wish them misfortune against the Giants. Another victory and they merely would welcome them to the club, if they're not already there with three Super Bowl victories in four seasons.

"The Steelers of my era, we have our place in history," Wagner said. "I met Ray Nitschke once, and I wasn't going to argue whether his Packers of the 1960s were better or not. If New England wins another Super Bowl, there's nothing in the cards that says they won't win down the road again. That's the thing about that franchise, they seem to have a pretty nice formula for success."

Ham believes part of that formula is how they deal with player turnover in the free-agency era and the two constants on their four Super Bowl teams -- Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.

"They adapted [their game], as we adapted," Ham said. "There are a lot of similarities except the personnel. More than half of our team stayed through all four Super Bowls, and he's doing it with different players every year.

"It also seems like players want to come there, guys like Corey Dillon and Randy Moss. It seems like guys want to come there because winning championships are important to them. It seems like a lot of guys have bought into what he's selling."

Some thought the Patriots are similar to the San Francisco 49ers when they won four Super Bowls in nine years in the 1980s, then added a fifth in 1994. The Green Bay Packers won five NFL championships in seven seasons in the 1960s, including the first two Super Bowls. And the Dallas Cowboys, like the Patriots, won three Super Bowls in four years in the 1990s.

Those are the dynasties, one each decade, in the NFL's Super Bowl era.

Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, also in the Hall of Fame, said there were dynasties throughout NFL history and it would be hard to pick the best.

"I wouldn't rank anybody as 1-2-3-4," Rooney said. "I wouldn't rank them over the Bears of the '40s [with four NFL titles]. I'll say the Patriots belong in the list of dynasties, but I'm not for numbering them because it doesn't mean anything."

Joe Gordon, the Steelers' public relations director in the 1970s and 1980s, believes not only will the Patriots join that list of dynasties with a victory in Super Bowl XLII, but their 19-0 record would raise them to a higher level than the others.

"This would be the greatest season any team ever had, and it would have to be considered one of the greatest teams of all time," said Gordon. "To me, it's a far better team than the Dolphins were, because of free agency. There's greater parity now and they played more good teams.

"What they've done is phenomenal and compares favorably with the great Steelers teams, the 49ers' teams and the 1985 [Chicago] Bears -- they could compete with any of those teams."

Ham tends to agree with Gordon.

"That's a long haul to be able to go 19-0. I played this game and I can't fathom that; there's always one part of your team that loses a game. But this team has pulled out a couple games here, that's impressive. What the Dolphins did was great, but this is even better."

Blount, though, reminded everyone that the Patriots do not wear the crown just yet. They still have to play the Giants.

"I'll be interested to see what happens at the Super Bowl. I'm not ready to hand them the Lombardi Trophy yet. I think it's going to be a good game. I think they'll put up a good fight, and it's really up for grabs."

If they win, the Patriots will be hands-down a dynasty worthy of the '70s Steelers. So say those very same Steelers.

Ed Bouchette can be reached at ebouchette@post-gazette.com (ebouchette@post-gazette.com).

yinzer
01-27-2008, 04:41 PM
good post but all of this is irrelevant. NOBODY likes the patriots. the only people that actually care are the chowder scarfing bandwagoners from new england that didn't even realize they had a football team until 2000. gimme a friggin break.

Stlrs4Life
01-27-2008, 05:13 PM
Yeah, but fortunately we can not denie what they have done. Losing on Sunday would be nice.

kgreen
01-27-2008, 07:10 PM
Yeah, but fortunately we can not denie what they have done. Losing on Sunday would be nice.

Yes then EVERYONE could shut up.

BlitzburghRockCity
01-27-2008, 07:45 PM
Yes then EVERYONE could shut up.

That's exactly right, the Giants are our last hope at shutting up the Pats fans and the media. If they win on Sunday they'll be running off at the mouth from now till kingdom come.

Yes the Pats are a great team, yes their record is remarkable, yes they will have 4 SB's, etc.

One thing they will never have the run that we had, 4 SB's in 6 years in the 70's with virtually the same team intact year in and year out. The competition was much more equal then, teams weren't as far apart from each other as they are now. We should have won in 76 as well and we nearly made it again but with half the team out with injuries and literally no running game at all most of the year that team might have been the greatest ever in many peoples eyes.

kgreen
01-27-2008, 09:01 PM
That's exactly right, the Giants are our last hope at shutting up the Pats fans and the media. If they win on Sunday they'll be running off at the mouth from now till kingdom come.

Yes the Pats are a great team, yes their record is remarkable, yes they will have 4 SB's, etc.

One thing they will never have the run that we had, 4 SB's in 6 years in the 70's with virtually the same team intact year in and year out. The competition was much more equal then, teams weren't as far apart from each other as they are now. We should have won in 76 as well and we nearly made it again but with half the team out with injuries and literally no running game at all most of the year that team might have been the greatest ever in many peoples eyes.


Yeah the 70's Steelers should be put into a class all by themselves. The only team that is comparible is the 60's Packers. However, the Steelers of the 70's are the best. They so could have easily won 6 titles in a row. They had simply the greatest Defense ever.

TEEMONT
01-27-2008, 09:16 PM
Yeah the 70's Steelers should be put into a class all by themselves. The only team that is comparable is the 60's Packers. However, the Steelers of the 70's are the best. They so could have easily won 6 titles in a row. They had simply the greatest Defense ever.

Could have's don't matter. It would only matter if they DID win 6 in a row.

I could sit here and say the Steelers could have made the SB about 4 more times under Cowher, but they didn't. It only counts if you did it, not if you could have done it.

kgreen
01-27-2008, 09:19 PM
Could have's don't matter. It would only matter if they DID win 6 in a row.

I could sit here and say the Steelers could have made the SB about 4 more times under Cowher, but they didn't. It only counts if you did it, not if you could have done it.

True, but still 4 in 6 is better than 4 in 7. Period.

Forged in Steel
01-27-2008, 10:21 PM
good post but all of this is irrelevant. NOBODY likes the patriots. the only people that actually care are the chowder scarfing bandwagoners from new england that didn't even realize they had a football team until 2000. gimme a friggin break.

yinzer is right. New England fans are all a bunch of bangwagoners that never knew they had a team at all. I hate bandwagoners. Most Steeler fans stick with the team and never leave like bandwagoners.

BlitzburghNation
01-27-2008, 10:39 PM
I would take the 70's STEEL CURTAIN against them patzeez any day of the week~~~~ :towelwave:
I'll give credit where credit is due,but it doesn't mean I like it,,,,,,,,:bigfinger: Them patzeez,,,,,,,,
Goooooooo G-Men :crossfingers:

If them patzeez win on sunday they will only share the mountain top with those fins,simple because undeafeted is undefeated and IMO the STEELERS in the 70's was the best team ever assembled----:towelwave:

BlitzburghRockCity
01-28-2008, 02:22 AM
Some media guys automatically put them as the greatest single season team ever if they win on Sunday; others still say it was the Packers, Steelers, etc. All I know is the Dolphins will still be the first team to ever go undefeated and if they would have had a 16 game season back then they could have gone 19-0 as well.

TampaSteelGirl
01-28-2008, 10:11 AM
While I applaud their so far undefeated season, it's not like they played the best teams in the NFL to get this undefeated season. But i'll be glad when it's all over and the Giants win, although I don't like the fact that we will have to hear all about the Giants doing what every other team couldn't do!! AAggh!! :banging: I don't like Plax because of the way he exiting the Steelers team after losing that AFC Championship game in 2004 but did love the fact we won the SB the next year!!!!

I still think the 70's Steelers are the best all time team and always will think that. I hate that everyone is on the Patsie bandwagon!! Just like the Colts and same with the Steelers when we went to SB..I refuse to jump on any other teams bandwagon!!! :nono:

BlacknGold Bleeder
01-28-2008, 12:50 PM
Simple math 4 in 6 > 4 in 7 !!:tt02::tt02:That may simplify it too much but it speaks for itself.

memphissteelergirl
01-28-2008, 01:09 PM
I would take the 70's STEEL CURTAIN against them patzeez any day of the week~~~~ :towelwave:
I'll give credit where credit is due,but it doesn't mean I like it,,,,,,,,:bigfinger: Them patzeez,,,,,,,,
Goooooooo G-Men :crossfingers:

If them patzeez win on sunday they will only share the mountain top with those fins,simple because undeafeted is undefeated and IMO the STEELERS in the 70's was the best team ever assembled----:towelwave:

LOL...couldn't have put it better myself! :plus1:

TEEMONT
01-28-2008, 01:29 PM
Simple math 4 in 6 > 4 in 7 !!:tt02::tt02:That may simplify it too much but it speaks for itself.

It's a lot harder to get 4 in 7 these days than it was to get 4 in 6 back then. Free agency has changed everything.

kgreen
01-28-2008, 02:31 PM
It's a lot harder to get 4 in 7 these days than it was to get 4 in 6 back then. Free agency has changed everything.

Who gives a sh*t! Do the math!

SteelerFan87
01-28-2008, 02:43 PM
Take the Steelers out of the 70s and what do you get?
The Cowboys would probably have been a dynasty
The Raiders could have been a dynasty
Maybe the Dolphins win another SB and they could have been a dynasty

Take the Pats out of this decade, and what do you get?
Maybe the Steelers win another SB or 2
Maybe the Colts win another SB

The Steelers of the 70's were competing against better teams. Sure, with the Salary Cap and Free Agency, there is more "parity" now, but that parity is designed to make sure every team stays close to the middle of the pack. If one or 2 teams figure out how to use the loopholes in the system, they can build a great team and dominate all the mediocre teams. Look at all the teams that had a chance to beat the Pats this year, but none of them were complete enough. They had glaring holes somewhere that prevented them from winning. In the 70's, if you were smart, you could build a great team. So there were more great teams, and that makes the Steelers' domination of the decade more impressive.

dick rasile
01-28-2008, 05:08 PM
Wanna hear a good one. I heard a sportsreader on a Cleveland station refer to the Patriot Nation. Man I do hope someone copyrighted that name.
I've searched and believe me, there maybe be a lot of people betting on New England but there are more then what the NFL likes to hear that are calling them cheaters. If we went by NCAA rules they wouldn't be playing in this bowl game and loose more then one draft pick or spot. The whole league is a huge joke and they know it. Maybe there should be an asterisk on the trophy.

GoBenGo
01-28-2008, 05:24 PM
there is another game?..lol.

TEEMONT
01-28-2008, 05:31 PM
Who gives a sh*t! Do the math!

People who aren't 70's homers give a ****. If FA had been aroudn in the 70's who is to say that our dynasty woudkl have happened?

You can't compare teams in different era's, it's impossible. The Steelers were the best in the 70's, the Pats in the 00's, one is not better than the other.

And the Colts would have owned the league had the Pats not won those 3 SB's.

BlitzburghRockCity
01-30-2008, 12:35 PM
Take the Steelers out of the 70s and what do you get?
The Cowboys would probably have been a dynasty
The Raiders could have been a dynasty
Maybe the Dolphins win another SB and they could have been a dynasty

Take the Pats out of this decade, and what do you get?
Maybe the Steelers win another SB or 2
Maybe the Colts win another SB

The Steelers of the 70's were competing against better teams. Sure, with the Salary Cap and Free Agency, there is more "parity" now, but that parity is designed to make sure every team stays close to the middle of the pack. If one or 2 teams figure out how to use the loopholes in the system, they can build a great team and dominate all the mediocre teams. Look at all the teams that had a chance to beat the Pats this year, but none of them were complete enough. They had glaring holes somewhere that prevented them from winning. In the 70's, if you were smart, you could build a great team. So there were more great teams, and that makes the Steelers' domination of the decade more impressive.

Indeed! In the 70's you relied on your scouting and coaching because you had no way to go out and buy a champion like you can today. The art of coaching and scouting has gotten so watered down now that it's easier to go out and buy the missing pieces of a border championship team than it is to coach and groom players. When FA is used to compliment a team it's very effective and the Pats are a testament to that. Belicheck may be a cheater and a totally arrogant *** but he knows how to push his players buttons and he knows how to gameplan as well as anyone. They had some missing pieces so they went out and got them...that wouldn't have happened back in the 70's and the Pats wouldn't have done anything then so yeah I agree the domination of a pre salary cap era is always more impressive than anything anyone can do today.