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Consistency Wins Championships For Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers championships 6 super bowl lombardi trophies

We have all heard the saying “defense wins championships” in the NFL. However, when you look at the NFL’s record-setting, six time Super Bowl-winning Pittsburgh Steelers, a standard begins to reveal itself, and it is much deeper than just great defense.

There are many reasons why the Steelers have won six of eight Super Bowls in their storied history and are almost always expected to be contenders for the vaunted Lombardi Trophy every year. Personnel, coaching, great draft picks, ownership; one can point to a myriad of generalizations of why the Steelers have been and continue to be a model franchise in the NFL. However, upon further review, a pattern emerges that points to one undeniable justification; consistency is the reason the Steelers are great.

As with all distinguished organizations, greatness starts from the top. It is no different with the Steelers. The Steelers have been owned and operated by the Rooney family since its inception in 1933. It is a family business. Sure there are other organizations that have family ownership that date back to the 20’s and 30’s, but very few. The Chicago Bears, New York Giants, and Arizona Cardinals hold similar bragging rights in this area, but none of these franchises have had the success the Steelers have enjoyed (post-1970 AFL-NFL merger). Ownership is where the consistency begins; it is the heart and philosophy of the organization.

The next piece to the pattern is the General Manger/Director of Personnel/Director of Football Operations. Whatever you choose to call it, this position in any football organization is where the philosophy goes from an overall ideal to a concrete, material realization. This is where the building blocks are positioned to form a foundation from which all things in the organization are based.

The Steelers have had only seven General Managers (although the title has changed throughout the years, the job has remained the same) since 1936. Kevin Colbert, the current Steelers General Manager, has been with the organization in this role since 2000, a 14-year tenure. Only the Dallas Cowboys, Cincinnati Bengals, and New England Patriots have had longer tenured General Managers than the Steelers during this time. With only seven General Managers and one owner (family) since the Steelers were formed, the bond and vision that is created by this consistency cannot be overlooked.

When it comes to head coaches, the Steelers are the definition of consistency. The Steelers have had 16 head coaches since 1933, and only three since 1969. Of the 16 head coaches hired by the Steelers, nine of them were hired while they were in their 30’s, very young when it comes to the NFL standard average age of 50. The Steelers know what they want in a coach and do not stray from those qualities.

The similarities in the last three head coaches for the Steelers are eerie and a prime example of the continuity the Steelers exemplify. Chuck Noll was hired in 1969 at the age of 37, with no previous head coaching experience. Noll would be the Steelers head coach for 23 years, leading the team to four Super Bowl wins during his tenure. Bill Cowher was hired to replace Noll in 1992 at the age of 34, with no previous head coaching experience. Cowher enjoyed 15 years as the Steelers head coach and ended his time with the organization with one Super Bowl win and one Super Bowl loss. Cowher was also the youngest coach in NFL history to lead a team to a Super Bowl appearance. Mike Tomlin took over for Cowher in 2007 at the age of 34, with no previous head coaching experience. Tomlin has one Super Bowl win and one Super Bowl loss under his belt and at the age of 36 became the youngest head coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl. Noll, Cowher, and Tomlin all were defensive coordinators before accepting the head coaching position with the Steelers.

A sign is hanging above the entrance to the Steelers locker room stating “The Standard is the Standard” and Tomlin loves to quote this during his press conferences. It is quite apparent that from the owner, to the general manager, to the coaches, the standard is the standard and that consistency wins championships, and the Steelers have the rings, trophies, and past to prove it.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Denise

    February 16, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Enjoyed your article. Keep up the good work

  2. Nancy Thompson

    February 16, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    I’m totally impressed with your articles about the Steelers. You’re one of the best fans that I know AND most of the fans I know are from Pittsburgh, not Colorado! Also, I’ve learned a lot of facts about my team by reading 2 of your articles.
    I’m proud of you.

  3. DrGeorge

    February 16, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    The Standard is the standard? Consistency?
    2010 12-4 (lost to Green Bay in Super Bowl)
    2011 12-4 (lost in OT to Denver, Wild Card game)
    2012 8-8 (out of the playoffs)
    2013 8-8 (out of the playoffs)
    2014 11-5 (lost badly to Baltimore, Wild Card)
    The recent standard has been mediocrity. Some consistency, Mr. Doss.

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