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If Steelers win Super Bowl, this era would be more impressive than 1970s
January 24, 2011 - Cory Giger
The Steelers established themselves as one of the greatest franchises in sports by winning four Super Bowls in the 1970s, but I believe what they are doing now potentially could be even more impressive.
If Pittsburgh beats the Packers in two weeks, it will be three Super Bowl titles in six seasons (2005, 2008 the others). With free agency, all the money involved in today's game and the fact that there's more parity and more very good teams now than in the '70s, 3-out-of-6 would be a more impressive feat than what the franchise did in the 1970s.
Those legendary Steeler teams were incredible, but they also were able to keep the same group of players together because stars seldom changed teams back in those days. Many of the same key players have been on all three teams during the current stretch, but this era has seen much more turnover, plus a coaching change.
Steeler broadcaster Craig Wolfley agreed with me on the comparison, to a degree, anyway.
"I would have to say, due to the free agency and salary caps, technically speaking the three in six would probably be most impressive," Wolfley told me last week. "But there's no way you can compare the two because those '70s guys were ridiculously talented, ridiculously dedicated and they were phenomenal. I mean, they were the beasts of their day. That defense back then pretty much had 11 James Harrisons on it. It really was a special time, and I don't think you can compare the two."
Now, there is one distinction that should be made, and I'll credit Mirror GM Ray Eckenrode for pointing this out.
While winning three in six years in this environment may be more impressive, what occurred in the 1970s was without question more important. Those Super Bowl titles will never be matched in terms of overall value because, as mentioned earlier, they established the Steelers as a marquee franchise.
Which do you think is more impressive, potentially winning three out of six now or four in the 1970s?
A few other Steeler observations:
* I love, love, love the aggressive playcalling on Pittsburgh's final drive as Bruce Arians gambled and called passing plays to get first downs. I was sitting in my living room and told my family on the first one that Big Ben should do play action and throw to Heath Miller, and that's exactly what happened. I did not expect the passing play that sealed it when Ben hit Antonio Brown. I figured the Steelers would run it to eat as much clock as possible and pin the Jets at their own 10 with a punt.
* The reason the Steelers beat the Jets when the Patriots couldn't had everything to do with Big Ben's scrambling ability. He made several big plays with his legs, something Tom Brady couldn't do.
* The Steelers haven't put together a complete game the past two weeks, yet incredibly playing only one good half was enough to beat both the Ravens and Jets.
* I was very surprised to see the Packers favored by 2 1/2 points in the Super Bowl. My guess was Steelers would be about 3 1/2-point favorites.
* My pick: Steelers 27, Packers 23.