The genesis of the Steelers organization happened on July 8, 1933 when one Arthur Joseph Rooney paid $2500 to secure rights to an NFL franchise. Originally the club was known as the Pirates, mimicking the name of the city's baseball team. It was tough sledding at first, as the team won only 22 games in its first 7 years of existence. In 1938, Rooney signed Byron White, later a Supreme Court justice to what was the first big money contract of the day, a whopping $15,800!

In 1940, Rooney changed the name of the franchise to Steelers either as an homage to the steel industry, or perhaps as a pun on the pirates (stealers, get it?). In 1942, they had their first winning season as they went 7-4. The next season with World War II well underway, the Steelers temporarily merged with the cross-state Philadelphia Eagles to become the Phil-Pitt Steagles. In 1947, the team won its first ever postseason berth, but lost 21-0 to the aforementioned Eagles.

The 1950's and 1960's were fairly mediocre decades for the team in general as they went through several coaches and personnel changes. In 1969, the Steelers reached their nadir, winning a mere one game but this was to prove to be a huge turning point in their history. Because of their poor finish, the Steelers got the number one pick in the draft, which they used on quarterback Terry Bradshaw. Other shrewd draft picks followed including Mel Blount in 1970, Jack Ham in 1971 and the "immaculate receiver" Franco Harris in 1972.

The Steelers left the NFC and moved to the AFC where they became a powerhouse, winning four Super Bowls over the next decade. While they have been unable to duplicate this feat in recent years, they remain one of the more popular NFL franchises.

One of the interesting things about the Steelers uniforms is their helmets. The Steelers' logo, which is called Steelmark, contains three hypocycloids or diamonds and only appears on the right side of the helmet. In 1962, they inaugurated the design and decided to leave it on just one side as they were uncertain if it would remain permanently. After a successful season, the team decided to leave the design that way and it's still only on one side 40 years later. Steelers team MVP's have been:

  • 1969 WR Roy Jefferson
  • 1970 DT "Mean" Joe Greene
  • 1971 LB Andy Russell
  • 1972 RB Franco Harris
  • 1973 WR Ron Shanklin
  • 1974 S Glen Edwards
  • 1975 CB Mel Blount
  • 1976 LB Jack Lambert
  • 1977 QB Terry Bradshaw
  • 1978 QB Terry Bradshaw
  • 1979 WR John Stallworth
  • 1980 SS Donnie Shell
  • 1981 LB Jack Lambert
  • 1982 CB Dwayne Woodruff
  • 1983 PK Gary Anderson
  • 1984 WR John Stallworth
  • 1985 WR Louis Lipps
  • 1986 LB Bryan Hinkle
  • 1987 LB Mike Merriweather
  • 1988 LB David Little, CB Rod Woodson
  • 1989 WR Louis Lipps
  • 1990 CB Rod Woodson
  • 1991 LB Greg Lloyd
  • 1992 RB Barry Foster
  • 1993 CB Rod Woodson
  • 1994 LB Greg Lloyd
  • 1995 QB Neil O’Donnell
  • 1996 RB Jerome Bettis
  • 1997 RB Jerome Bettis
  • 1998 LB Levon Kirkland
  • 1999 LB Levon Kirkland
  • 2000 RB Jerome Bettis
  • 2001 QB Kordell Stewart
  • 2002 LB Joey Porter; WR Hines Ward
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