Category Archives: Steelers History

The Good Guys: You Don’t Know Jack.

imageWhen it comes to my football heroes, I’m decidedly old school. The Good Guys series continues with my favorite player of all time — Jack Lambert.

Jack Lambert is not a typical Good Guy. He’s actually not a typical anything. He’s profane and a grouch. He’s certainly not a smiler like Hines or AB. Not a quiet man like Troy or Heath. He doesn’t attend all the Steelers’ events. He does not suffer fools gladly.

But Jack is authentic, honest. What you see is what you get. He was perhaps the greatest linebacker ever to play the game, certainly in the top five. As a teammate, he drove the defense and played every play with ultimate effort. He was obsessively focused on winning, never allowing his teammates any room to play with less than full intensity.

You didn’t mess with the Steelers or you dealt with Jack. Ask the Cowboys’ Cliff Harris, who taunted placekicker Roy Gerela in Super Bowl X. After Gerela pulled a 33 yard attempt, Harris tapped him on the side of the helmet and said “Way to go.” Lambert grabbed Harris by the helmet and pads and flung him to the ground.  Classic Lambert.

When it comes to hard-nose, smack ’em in the mouth defensive football, he is the gold standard. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of players I admire for what they do on the field and off, but watching No. 58 bury a ball carrier or sack a quarterback was the ultimate thrill. Read more

“The Standard is the Standard”—a Foreshadowing of Mike Tomlin’s 2015 Season


One of the things which was so impressive about the coaching job Mike Tomlin did, at least for those who were noticing, was how he managed to not only SAY things like “The Standard is the Standard” but actually get the team to believe it and play like it.

No, Landry Jones did not play like Ben Roethlisberger, mostly. Oh, he made a few really nice throws and a few boneheaded interceptions, which had a familiar feel, but it wasn’t like having Roethlisberger on the field, other than on a hellishly bad day for Ben. Which is only to be expected, because he is, after all, a backup quarterback, a fourth-round pick who had never thrown a pass in an NFL game until coming on the field in relief of an injured Michael Vick.

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5 Smoldering Questions, Super Bowl Edition


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?

Runs Like a Deer, Hits Like a Truck — Steelers Middle Linebackers.


In this edition of The Steeler Way – the Good Guys, we shift gears again slightly. While I’ve focused on the character aspect of the Steeler Way, great play on the field is the basic component of our tradition. Middle linebacker has rock solid pedigree in the modern era.

Pittsburgh has employed a long line of excellent middle linebackers since rookie Jack Lambert first stepped on the field in 1974. In 1982, the Steelers went to a 3-4 defensive scheme. It was Joe Greene’s last season and he was no longer a full time player. Jack served as a bridge from the great 4-3 team to the “new” 3-4 alignment. I contend, despite a the excellence of his successors, it took two guys to replace Lambert. As a consequence, Jack will get his own article in this series.

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The Steeler Way. The Linebackers – Joey Porter.

The Linebackers, part 1.

Linebackers are the heart and soul of the Steeler defense. For over forty years, more often than not, Pittsburgh’s defense has been among the elite units in the NFL.  Many great LBs have worn the black and gold. They have been cerebral, athletic, loud, reserved, violent and/or lightning fast. At their best, the linebackers corps have exhibited all of these qualities in one group.

Blitzburgh LBs have earned 57 Pro Bowl nominations since 1968. Two have been elected to the Hall of Fame. Lambert, Russell and Ham were the foundation. Lambert handed the torch to Little, Cole, Merriweather and Hinkle in 1984. Hardy Nickerson and Greg Lloyd joined Hinkle and Little and ushered in the 1990s. Along came Kevin Greene, Levon Kirkland and Chad Brown, a formidable unit who with Lloyd lead the Steelers to a Super Bowl appearance in the 1995 season, their first in 16 years.

Soon came Jason Gildon and then Joey Porter taking the Steelers sack machine into the 21st century. The Rooneys soon signed James Farrior and then drafted Larry Foote bringing into recent memory. Clark Haagans joined Potsie, Foote and Joey, winning SB XL. Gildon and Porter were replaced by James Harrison and Lamaar Woodley and that group lead us to another Lombardi trophy in 2008. Lawrence Timmons replaced Foote and the Steelers got to the Super Bowl two years later. Read more

The Steeler way — Aaron, Da Beard and Cam. DEs, part 2.


We continue the “Steelers Way—Good Guys” series with a look at three defensive ends from the present and recent past. I admit to a bias toward the old school players, but these three men would be heroes in any era.

Aaron Smith.

I was never a big Aaron Smith fan. I don’t mean that in the sense that I didn’t like him. It was more that I didn’t take much notice of the guy. He was quiet, almost morose and rarely quoted. He wasn’t gregarious like Keisel. He didn’t have the gravitas or a nickname like Big Snack. If Smith had a nickname, it would probably be John.

TV broadcasters didn’t talk about Smith much. He was busy eating up blockers while the Steeler LBs got all the tackles and sacks. That’s how you play Coach LeBeau’s 3-4 defense.  The defensive line has no glory position. Although he excelled at his position, Aaron went to only one Pro Bowl, primarily because he played in the 3-4 scheme.  Usually, Pro Bowl defensive ends are chosen from 4-3 defenses because they get to make plays. Smith toiled in relative obscurity, doing his job, doing it well and doing it quietly. Read more

The Steeler Way. Defensive ends, part 1.


The Steeler Way: the evolution of the Good Guys series.

As a fairly new writer to this blog I’m evolving, hopefully in a good way. At Behind the Steel Curtain I morphed from “madanthonywayne” to “Steely Dan formerly known as madanthonywayne.” I now am known (to the extent I am known at all), as Roxanna Firehall.

Rox was on bye last week, refreshing his mind and tweaking this series. It seems to me that “Good Guys” should not be rated, as I have done in past articles. While we all have favorite players, the true purpose of these articles is to give exposure to Steeler players, past and present, who are good players, active in charitable work, successful in post-football pursuits, able to overcome challenging life situations or just plain good, interesting or entertaining fellows. Many of the Good Guys are notable for these accomplishments or virtues. Read more

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