The 10 Greatest Pittsburgh Steelers of All Time
Top 10 Pittsburgh Steelers of All Time
Last season the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrated their 80th season in the NFL. I have had the good fortune to be a fan of the Steelers for just about half that time. This has given me a chance to watch some of the greatest players and greatest games of all time, which includes eight AFC Championships, six Super Bowl Championships, and multiple Hall of Fame players.
And speaking of players, much of what I know and love about the NFL and their players were shaped by my experiences with the Steelers. The Steelers franchise has always had a reputation for being hard working, blue collar and not only great talents, but high character players. The kinds of players that every young athlete can look to.
Needless to say, when I sat down and tried to narrow down a list to my top 10 favorite players of all time, it was a considerable challenge. My top three were easy. But 4-10 was a much different chore. My initial list had 18 names on it. Players like wide receiver Lynn Swann, running back Franco Harris and defensive tackle Joe Greene are all beloved players from my childhood that were hard to omit from the list.
More modern players like tight end Heath Miller, defensive back Carnell Lake and defensive end Aaron Smith are all personal favorites of mine, but couldn’t make my top 10. The players on this list all stand out either for moments in history, or by just the type of player that they were. So without further ado, here are my top 10 greatest Steelers of all time.
10-Hines Ward, wide receiver
If you looked up in the dictionary what a Steelers player should be, you will likely see Ward. Not only was he an incredibly productive receiver, he's the greatest blocking receiver in league history and one of the most likeable players of all time.
9-Levon Kirkland, linebacker
Kirkland makes my list because he did things no player his size should do. At 6-1, and always a Diet Coke away from 290 pounds, his ability to line up at inside linebacker and make plays was amazing. There may never be another player like him in the league.
8-Dermontti Dawson, center
"Dirt" Dawson is the greatest offensive lineman to ever wear the black and gold and that's with all due respect to center Mike Webster. There was just something about how he came out and did his job every week that made you appreciate just how great he was.
7-Rod Woodson, defensive back
Woodson might be the best athlete to ever suit up for the Steelers. His ability to play safety and cornerback, as well as return kicks, was something that always impressed me. He moved around toward the end of his career, but he will always be a Steeler to me.
6-Terry Bradshaw, quarterback
I suspect most would put Bradshaw higher than I have. Bradshaw brought his Steelers four Super Bowl titles and many consider him the greatest quarterback in franchise history and top five of all time.
5-John Stallworth, wide receiver
The debate between Stallworth and Swann as the greatest Steelers receiver is one that will never have an answer. Growing up, I was always much more in awe of the things Stallworth did, and in my childhood memories, some of Stallworth's catches were the best I've ever seen.
4-Jack Lambert, linebacker
The debate of Lambert over fellow linebacker Jack Ham is another that rages among old time Steelers linebackers. For me, as a child watching those great teams of the 70s, Lambert and his gap toothed image, his breath billowing out in the cold, is still one of the most inspiring and terrifying images ever on a football field.
3-Greg Lloyd, linebacker
I'm not sure how many Steelers fans have Lloyd in their top three, but there are few players in the history of the league who commanded the fear and attention that Lloyd did. He played football the way it was supposed to be, with total disgust for his opponents, going to the point of slapping his teammate's hands away when they'd try and help up an opposing player. And his attack on wide receiver Keenan McCardell is epic.
2-Jerome Bettis, running back
If Ward is the definition of a Steelers player, Bettis is right there with him. He's not only the greatest Steelers running back of all time, but he was the kind of player every young running back should aspire to be. He never had a chiseled frame or blinding speed, but if watching a running back beat down defenses week after week was your thing, than Bettis was your guy.
1-Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback
I've often said I root for the jersey not the name on the back, but Roethlisberger is a rare exception. At the end of his sophomore year in college, I said he was the best quarterback in the country and at that point I wanted nothing more than for him to become the next great Steelers quarterback and he finally was a year later. He is on pace to break every Steelers passing record and is as fun to watch as any player in the league to me.