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Steelers Football: Can it Come Back?

Written By: Hunter Hodies

The name “Steelers Football” came around in the 1970’s. It started because of Franco Harris. The Steelers would always run the ball most of time every game with him because he would rack up huge yards for Pittsburgh. That is mostly how they won four Super Bowls in the 70’s with of course the help of QB Terry Bradshaw and the help of the Immaculate Reception. Franco would always break tackles and run for big gains and that is what Steelers Football is all about. He did this for many years until he retired.

In the 1990’s to the early 2000’s, Jerome Bettis or “The Bus” came along. He brought Steelers football to its finest since Franco Harris. Bettis was unusually large for a running back. He weighed over 250 pounds! Every time he would get the ball, he would pound people and get at least three to 4 yards a carry. Not even a huge defensive lineman like Casey Hampton could bring down The Bus! His best year came when the Steelers marched to the Superbowl in 2006 as the 6th seed. He had finally won the Super Bowl and retired afterwards. He rushed a lot during those playoffs and broke lots of tackles and scored a couple Touchdowns for the Steelers to go all the way.

Ever since 2006, Steelers football has not been as it was once back when they had Franco and Bettis. Sure they had Willie Parker who was great but he was nothing like the Bus or Franco. He didn’t break any records like the Bus did or Franco. The backs that the Steelers have now (Redmen, Dwyer) just don’t cut it for the Steelers. The Steelers had one of their worst rushing seasons ever in Steelers history this year! The Steelers needs to draft a RB like Bettis or Franco because if they do, boy they will be back just like they were in the old days. They will be back to Steelers football!



  1. steelmd

    March 31, 2013 at 5:13 pm


  2. George H

    March 31, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Yeah and Bettis might of had the fairy tale ending, but by no means was that his best year. As much as I love The Bus, he was primarily a goal-line back that year and picked it up a bit during the few final games of the season. Of course that stretch was highlighted by Bettis plowing over Brian Urlacher on a snowy, critical day. Bettis had great seasons and carried the team on his back for many years. If the Steelers would of had a solid QB or some of those seasons, Bettis would of had a few more Lombardis to add to his resume.

    Now as far as the term “Steelers Football” is concerned… The NFL has morphed into a passing league due to the rule changes the past few seasons. The days of Steelers football is unfortunately over due to the pass happy NFL. However, “Steelers Football” can always adapt to the new ways of the NFL. Hard-nosed, physical defense that makes the opposing offenses fearful is still in the realm of possibility, and I would argue that is more of the sense of “Steelers Football.” A solid rushing attack that compliments a strong passing game will be the new offensive criteria for Steelers Football. The passing game is already there, the rushing attack has to be more consistent. A healthier offensive line will help and more carries to one running back will allow the player to get into a groove and be more effective. All of the scenarios aren’t too far away. There is still a chance that we can get back to Steelers football this year.

    • John Polvere

      April 1, 2013 at 5:29 am

      Yes it would be good to have another big power back, but they are rare to find or are they. It is hard to find in a back all those attributes that Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis had and blend them into one. It would be nice but where are they, how do you find one. Well maybe Colbert and company should try looking beyond the collegiate system and maybe look at another sport that has the body type and athleticism they need. Sounds odd but what about wrestlers and weightlifters, discus throwers, shotputters, javlin throwers. If you could get one of these and mould them into the runnining back type. You could create a gem. Regards John.

      • George H

        April 1, 2013 at 8:07 am

        Interesting thought, but I’m not too sure these other athletes have to same skill set as an NFL star rb or a good NFL contributor for that matter. Speed kills in the NFL and so does technique. There’s probably a reason why scouts haven’t reached out to javelin throwers and it’s mostly bc they aren’t athletic enough. Even huge o-linemen are extremely athletic now.

        • John Polvere

          April 1, 2013 at 9:18 pm

          I understand what you are saying George and you are wright the skill set is different but these guys if picked up from where ever will be taught and with hard work and given some time who knowa. An example here in Australia they have brought in guys from the deserts of Africa and have never played AFL rules or even picked up a ball and by age 21 22 they are playing at the elite level. So anything is possible. John. P

  3. ahab

    March 31, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    This article reads like it was written by a fourth grader

    • Sherri

      March 31, 2013 at 9:50 pm

      ahab…sometimes the best comment is to not leave one, especially if you have nothing nice to say.

    • Linda Grimaldi

      March 31, 2013 at 10:23 pm

      Ahab, if anyone sounds like a 4th grader that would be you. Now blow your nose and go home to your mama.

      • Starbuck

        March 31, 2013 at 10:30 pm

        I agree with Captain Ahab. This is definitely a fluff piece and for what we know Hunter Hodies might actually be in the 4th grade.

  4. DrGeorge

    March 31, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    The problem with the Steelers rushing attack is the O-line, not the backs. Redman and Dwyer will never be confused with Emmitt Smith or Jim Brown, but even Smith and Brown would languish behind last year’s line. Fix the O-line, and the rushing game will return.

    Note that bad teams always draft high profile backs who struggle behind sub-par lines. Smart teams draft O-line studs, and their average backs suddenly look fabulous.

    By the way, a solid O-line would also improve the passing game, by keeping Ben healthy and forcing defenses to honor play action. Our O-line in recent years couldn’t run block or pass protect consistently. Let’s hope Bicknell can find a way to fix that.

  5. Black&gold4life

    March 31, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    Wheres John Clay?

    • George H

      March 31, 2013 at 10:33 pm

      Good point about John Clay. I actually liked the guy, but to what the Doc is saying, not every back can be successful and not every back needs an offensive line to produce, but usually the great ones have and need a solid line. Steelers football is a game won in the trenches.

  6. Linda Grimaldi

    March 31, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    I agree with DrGeorge but at the same time I feel that we do need a great RB in order to get back to true Steelers Football. All teams don’t play the same and it’s important to have a running game to be able to get back to what we once were. You can’t put every play on the quarterback . This kind of plan makes the team far to vunerable even with a great O Line. If the Q back goes out for whatever reason you can have the best O Line out there but the team will be in trouble w/out a running game to turn to.

    • George H

      March 31, 2013 at 11:03 pm

      I agree with needing a strong o-line, but great QBs are what drive a successful team. How many SBs did the Steelers win without a great QB, especially when having a worthy team to do so? The NFL is now a passing league. Having a strong run game is only there to compliment the passing game now. Look at the past Superbowl winners in recent years:
      Flacco- lead the Ravens to the SB by passing and pretty much neglecting Ray Rice
      Eli Manning- Won passing the ball twice
      To our dismay… Aaron Rogers- Passing
      Drew Brees- Heavy passing attack
      Peyton Manning- Passing
      Big Ben- I wold say it was a bit of a mi, but definitely more towards a passing attack against Arizona.

      Like I said, the NFL is a pass happy league. The best and most competitive teams has the best quarterbacks.

      Also the Patriots lead by Matt Cassel went 11-5 due to good qb play but a solid o-line.

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  8. mark mcfadden

    April 1, 2013 at 2:38 am

    Most people forget what real Steeler football is and so did this writer.
    Cowher was really the first one to understand it fully, maybe Knoll knew this and did it but it wasn’t always evident like it was with Cowher. Remember he broke a long standing league record for trips to the playoffs in his first ten years. Steeler Football: Score first 7 points (called starting fast) after scoring, the defense pins their ears back and blitzes literally 2 out of every 3 plays (remember the run blitzes Cowher used?), Lebeau has sadly lost sight of those blitzing styles of defense and has completely forgotten the corner blitz. On defense you stay in your lane trust your team member and get off your blocks early and you dominate run defense in the league. On offense you throw on first down to set up the run and confuse the defense, you do this for the first 3 sets of downs, defense expects the pass then you run on first downs. You keep a good 50% ratio run to pass, and you teach you OL how to win in the trenches using a combination of Zone blocking, single man and in the old days trap blocking, but never staying with one or the other during a game. . . “NEVER”!!!! Our run blocking has become predictable man on man blocking. Someone has been lazy here. (TOMLIN) SORRY, but Labeau and Tomlin have lost sight of OR UNDERSTANDING of “STEELER FOOTBALL”, and I told them so.

    • George H

      April 1, 2013 at 8:03 am

      I wouldn’t be so quick to put the total blame on LeBeau. While I agree his blitz shemes haven’t been fully utilized nor effective, they only work if you have the proper personnel to run it. These past few seasons, while statistically have been good for the Steelers defense, the havoc has not been wreaked. As you said, the defense needs guys to eat up blockers so the LBs can fly in. Well how effective has the defensive line been in recent years at occupying the opposing players. For atleast two years now Casey Hampton has had very production and constantly gets blown off the line. Once you fix the d-line the rest of the defense should start to thrive.

      • mark mcfadden

        April 1, 2013 at 8:23 pm

        Good point on the D-line. But, if it wasnt for the cornerbacks knocking balls down and close coverage (Lake)we wouldnt have the number one ranking. The corners have saved our butt. So to make my point, the corners on pressed coverage can be trusted one on one to cover while you pull one guy out of coverage (not zone, so not needed) to participate in the 5 man twist or stunt they use to get pressure or sending a corner or safety on a pressed coverage blitz, and the last 2 years non-existent. Last time I saw a corner blitz, was once by gay and he picked the ball up and took it into the endzone, (someone else knocked it loose), but this is what the defensive schemes have turned to and apparently Lake has bought into it also, but that is not Steeler football and Steeler football has always been in the tops in turnover ratio, and they wonder why “NOW” for 2 years or 3 we have been in the bottom of turnovers in the league. It is an un-refuted fact that blitzing or some type of in your face consistent press (get the QB of his spot minimally) Sacks and pressures is the number 1 most effective consistent method for generating turnovers. They always come when you have them and they disappear when you don’t. We know what Steeler football is and why it works. Tomlin and Labeau have lost sight of it and we need to continually remind them of how and why it works. I’d give you Tomlin’s fax line but it would probably piss them off.

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