5 Smoldering Questions, Super Bowl Edition

via Steelers.com

by Hombre de Acero

Super Bowl 50 has arrived, and while our beloved Pittsburgh Steelers have no chance to climb the Stairway to Seven as the Super Bowl reaches the half century mark, the Steelers do pass this milestone with their record of six titles intact. With that in mind, Going Deep challenges you to answer 5 Smoldering Steelers Super Bowl Questions.

1. The Super Bowl 50 Golden Team is out, and the Pittsburgh Steelers lead the back with 7 players and one head coach. What does this say to you about the Super Steelers place in NFL history?

2. On Behind the Steel Curtain, Chris Carter has penned an excellent article arguing that by being named as the only coach on the Super Bowl 50 Golden Team, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Chuck Noll is finally getting recognition for his coaching prowess that has so often gone to the likes of the Parcells, Shulas, Belenick, and Walshes of the coaching world.

Why do you think it took so long for the NFL punditry to give Noll his just desserts?

3. The Steelers record in Super Bowls isn’t spotless, and interceptions lie at the heart of both defeats, yet there are those who dispute the nature of those picks.

While both of Neil O’Donnell’s interceptions in Super Bowl XXX looked awful, many argue that one of his receivers (either Andre Hastings or Corey Holliday) ran the wrong route.

While I’ve never seen Super Bowl XLV, Gerry Dulac among others have argued that Mike Wallace was more at fault.

Which side do you come down on in both of these cases?

4. Time to borrow a concept from Marvel Comics and play the “What IF” game…
The Steelers have lost AFC Championships in 1972 against the Dolphins, 1976 against the Raiders, 1984 against the Dolphins, 1994 against the Chargers,1997 against the Broncos, 2000 and 2004 against the Patriots.

In which years do you think the Steelers WOULD have (not could have) won the Super Bowl had they prevailed in the AFC Championship, and which, if any do you think they were better off losing in because they wouldn’t have been able to win?

5. When looking at the Super Steelers, there’s debate over whether the ’75 Steelers or the ’78 Steelers were the best (both teams beat the Cowboys.) However, the Steelers do have two subsequent trophies in the case.

Anyone courageous enough to make an argument over which of the SIX Steelers Super Bowl teams was the best?

4 comments

  • 1 – It says that the Steelers have been an integral part of the game’s history.

    2 – I’m not old enough to have seen Noll, but that may help this answer. Noll does not appear to have had the outward, caustic personality and outbursts that dotted the old NFL Films that many of us watched. Those clips always show Lombardi yelling ‘What the hell is going on out there’ or Stram laughing with his rolled up play list. Noll was apparently not interested enough to show up on those NFL film clips…and so he didn’t enter the consciousness of the new generation — from which pretty much all current sportscasters come from. Parcells was his blunt self, won games, and spawned a lot of other successful coaches. After that, the media cycle went 24/7 and there isn’t a coach who can possibly escape the limelight now.

    3 – It is a team game, isn’t it? I do not feel that it matters who was at fault, only that the play failed. Larry Brown held on to the ball. That’s what mattered. (Interesting thing aside… I have not been a lifelong Steelers fan. Being Puerto Rican, there’s no inherent reason to follow any team over another. I entered Super Bowl XXX as a Cowboys fan. I left it as a Steelers fan.)

    4 – Can’t say on the old games. I think they could have won in 2004, though.

    5 – The latest is the greatest in my blasphemous, young whippersnapper mind. That defense with Harrison and Polamalu leading the way was just as good, imo, as any of the old defenses — if not necessarily as legendary in the intimidation factor (which, I have always maintained, exists only in the minds of fans). But the dynamic offense gives that team the edge. It isn’t that I discredit Bradshaw, Swann, and co….it is that I simply think Big Ben, Santonio, and co. were better.

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  • 1. I believe it cements in an unbiased way that the Steelers were the gold standard for the first fifty years of the Super Bowl era. It also speaks to the unique quality of their excellence. Some teams, like San Francisco did it with groups that were separated by years and had some diverse personnel configurations. There is a more compact quality to the seventies Steelers in particular. Four championships in six years. No one else really that close.

    2. Neither Noll, nor the culture of the Steelers is into self promotion. There is truly a tone of humility that was set by The Chief and has been more or less faithfully throughout. This hurt Noll’s legacy in the short term. But over time the truth usually wins out.

    3. I hope is true, because all of the alternative theories are really bad.

    4. I honestly believe that the ’72 and ’76 teams would have won more decisively than the Dolphins and Raiders respectively. They probably lose both matchups against the Niners. The games against the Packers and Rams I would consider toss ups. An edge in 2004 because they had already beaten the Eagles in the regular season.

    5. I would take the ’78 team based upon strength of the opponent. This is still in the running as possibly being the greatest championship matchup ever. Each team was at the peak of its powers. They were tied for the most Super Bowl wins, with the winner being the team of the decade of the seventies. Both head coaches, both quarterbacks, both running backs and numerous other players from both teams are in the Hall of Fame. The competition on the field lived up to the expectations. Nothing of that magnitude has happened since.

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  • 1. I just watched all six “America’s Game” documentaries on the Steelers today. I believe it was during the ’78 episode, where they said that the entire team during the 70’s wins were homegrown (no outside players came in via trade, etc.). To me, that speaks volumes and shows that the coaches and front office believed THAT specific group of players could achieve greatness. And they did.

    2. I completely agree with Ivan. Noll was a man of few words, so I think the quiet one gets unnoticed sometimes.

    3. I can’t really comment on XLV because to be honest, I forgot about that game two days after it happened. As for the interceptions in XXX, I firmly do believe the QB was at fault.

    4. I’d say the ’76 and ’04 teams probably had the best chances.

    5. The best? ’78. At that point, everyone was at their peak performance and seemed absolutely unstoppable!

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  • Greetings from 37,139 feet over Springer, NM en route to LAX. There’s golf in that there desert!

    1.) They were the most dominant team in the first fifteen years of the Super Bowl, because that was before free agency and before parity. They were home grown, drafted the best, and stayed together. So many rules have changed because of them. You can’t do what they did on the field any more (Mel Blount rule, etc;) and you can’t keep a team together like that with free agency and the salary cap.

    2.) Noll’s 4-0 record is still unmatched. Even though he was quiet and never self-promoting, he won the first two Super Bowls with a running game, and his last two with passing. The perfect record gives him the Super Bowl accolades, but he is still vastly unappreciated by both pundits and casual fans.

    3,) I cannot answer the first part of that question, because it would require me to mention that name that cannot be mentioned. On the second part, Wallace was every bit as much at fault if not more. One trick pony who ran sloppy routes. But he sure was fast.

    4.) The 1976 team is the answer to both sides of this. Harris and Bleier were injured the week before they lost to Oakland. Had Rocky and Franco had time to heal in the two weeks before the Super Bowl, they would have won. Had they not, they probably would have lost. Not sure about the others.

    5.) The teams were essentially the same guys – so let’s say the 1974 team was a little green and the 1979 team was a getting old.
    That leaves us with the 1975 and 1978 teams. Gotta go with ’78, because they had a better aerial attack, given the rule changes. Of course, the best Steeler team of them all was the 1976 team.

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