The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Consistency Proves It

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Now that they've won their sixth Super Bowl championship, the Steelers certainly have to be in the mix for the "Greatest of All Time" discussion. The criticism is the four decades of futility that preceded the 1969 hire of Chuck Noll, but the consistency the franchise has shown since then is truly remarkable. Since winning their first Super Bowl at the end of the 1974 season, the Steelers have had a grand total of six losing seasons in 35 years. The other teams with five Super Bowls, the Cowboys and Steelers, have not shown the same consistency.

Since their first Super Bowl in 1972, Dallas has had 10 losing seasons (including five in a row from 1986 through 1990), and the 49ers have nine since their first Super Bowl in 1981.Each of these teams have had rebuilds and rebirths since their first Super Bowl wins, but no team has been able to keep a high level like Pittsburgh. This speaks to the front office above all -- the Rooneys know what they want, and they know how to get it. This front office put together the best single-team draft of all time in 1974 (FOUR Hall-of-Famers in Jack Lambert, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth and Mike Webster) and assembled the greatest single-season defense of the modern era (the 1976 squad pitched five shutouts in one season, an amazing feat).

And now, over the last few years, the Steelers have once again built a team for the ages. Their current linebackers may be even better than the ones who patrolled the field in the Steel Curtain days, and Ben Roethlisberger appears to be on pace to match Terry Bradshaw in both clutch performances and fan frustration with a style that most quarterbacks would not employ.

Given their ability to span the decades with greatness with so few real rough spots, I would have to give the Steelers the nod at this point. The team that won Super Bowl XLIII is the latest in a line that makes the Pittsburgh Steelers the greatest NFL franchise.

By Doug Farrar  |  February 3, 2009; 10:56 AM ET  | Category:  Doug Farrar , Pittsburgh Steelers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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The thing that amazes me is how the Steelers are so resilient. Almost every year they lose pre-eminent free agent players and manage to plug another player into the vacancy and not miss a performance beat. Usually, the SB winner and the 3-4 next most successful teams lose critical players and coaches to free agency and the coaching carousel. For many, this proves their relative undoing, with a growing number of SB winners in recent years missing the playoffs the next year or losing in the first round due to diluted offensive-, defensive- or coaching talent.

To a long-suffering Redskins fan weary of Dan Snyder's mercurial management, the Steelers' leadership represents our fantasy aspirations.

Posted by: salescoach | February 3, 2009 9:39 PM

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