The Pittsburgh Steelers are a professional football team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The team belongs to the North Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League. Founded in 1933, the Steelers are the oldest franchise in the AFC. Pittsburgh has won more Super Bowl titles (six), won more AFC Championship Games (seven) and hosted more conference championship games (ten) than any other AFC or NFC team. They have played in more AFC conference championship games than any other team and are tied with the Dallas Cowboys with 14 championship game appearances in either the NFC or AFC contests. With the exception of the 1960s which featured only three Super Bowls, the Steelers have appeared in at least one Super Bowl in every decade of the contest (As defined by Roman Numerals the Steelers are the only NFL team to participate in every decade of the Super Bowl). The Steelers won their most recent championship, Super Bowl XLIII, on February 1, 2009.
The fifth-oldest franchise in the NFL, the Steelers were founded as the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 8, 1933, by Art Rooney, taking its original name from the National League baseball team of the same name, as was common practice for NFL teams to do at the time. The ownership of the Steelers has remained within the Rooney family since its founding. The current owner is Art's son, Dan Rooney, who has given much control of the franchise to his son Art Rooney II.
The team enjoys a large, widespread fanbase nicknamed Steeler Nation and currently play their home games in Heinz Field on Pittsburgh's North Side, which also hosts the University of Pittsburgh Panthers. Built in 2001, the stadium replaced Three Rivers Stadium which hosted the Steelers for 31 seasons. Prior to Three Rivers, the Steelers had played their games in Pitt Stadium and Forbes Field.
The Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL first took to the field as the Pittsburgh Pirates on September 20, 1933, losing 23–2 to the New York Giants. Through the 1930s, the Pirates never finished higher than second place in their division, or with a record better than .500 (1936). Pittsburgh did make history in 1938 by signing Byron White, a future Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, to what was at the time the biggest contract in NFL history, but he played only one year with the Pirates before signing with the Detroit Lions. Prior to the 1940 season, the Pirates renamed themselves the Steelers.
During World War II, the Steelers experienced player shortages. They twice merged with other NFL franchises to field a team. During the 1943 season, they merged with the Philadelphia Eagles forming the "Phil-Pitt Eagles" and were known as the "Steagles". This team went 5–4–1. In 1944, they merged with the Chicago Cardinals and were known as Card-Pitt (or, mockingly, as the "Carpets"). This team finished 0–10, marking the only winless team in franchise history.
The Steelers made the playoffs for the first time in 1947, tying for first place in the division at 8–4 with the Philadelphia Eagles. This forced a tie-breaking playoff game at Forbes Field, which the Steelers lost 21–0. That would be Pittsburgh's only playoff game for 25 years, though the Steelers did qualify for a "Playoff Bowl" in 1963 as the second-best team in their conference, though not considered an official playoff.
In 1970, the year they moved into Three Rivers Stadium and the year of the AFL-NFL merger, the Pittsburgh Steelers were one of three old-guard NFL teams to switch to the newly-formed American Football Conference (the others being the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Colts), in order to equalize the number of teams in the two conferences of the newly-merged league.
The Chuck Noll era
The Steelers' history of bad luck changed with the hiring of coach Chuck Noll for the 1969 season. Noll's most remarkable talent was in his draft selections, taking Hall of Famers "Mean" Joe Greene in 1969, Terry Bradshaw and Mel Blount in 1970, Jack Ham in 1971, Franco Harris in 1972, and finally, in 1974, pulled off the incredible feat of selecting four Hall of Famers in one draft year, Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth, and Mike Webster. The Pittsburgh Steelers' 1974 draft was their best ever, and no other team has ever drafted four future Hall of Famers in one year.
The players drafted in the early '70s formed the base of an NFL dynasty, making the playoffs in eight seasons and becoming the only team in NFL history to win four Super Bowls in six years, as well as the first to win more than two. They also enjoyed a regular season streak of 49 consecutive wins (1971–1979) against teams that would finish with a losing record that year.
The Steelers suffered a rash of injuries in the 1980 season and missed the playoffs with a 9–7 record. The 1981 season was no better, with an 8–8 showing. The team was then hit with the retirements of all their key players from the Super Bowl years. "Mean" Joe Greene retired after the 1981 season, Lynn Swann and Jack Ham after 1982's playoff berth, Terry Bradshaw and Mel Blount after 1983's divisional championship, and Jack Lambert after 1984's AFC Championship Game appearance.
After those retirements, the franchise skidded to its first losing seasons since 1971. Though still competitive, the Steelers would not finish above .500 in 1985, 1986, and 1988. In 1987, the year of the players' strike, the Steelers finished with a record of 8–7, but missed the playoffs. In 1989, they would reach the second round of the playoffs on the strength of Merrill Hoge and Rod Woodson before narrowly missing the playoffs in each of the next two seasons.
One more thing. THEY ARE THE BEST NFL TEAM EVER!!!!