Considered one of the most feared defensive backs to play against, Blount was a constant force for the Steelers from 1970-83. Not only did he have the common attributes of size, speed and quickness, Blount was tough and often would play tight in the wide receiver's space. A NFL rule change midway through his career, tabbed the 'Mel Blount Rule,' granted receivers extra space off the line of scrimmage. Blount was a part of four Super Bowl championships.
Jerome Bettis was a major contributer on the Steelers' squad that won Super Bowl XL. Bettis was known for taking a pounding and dishing out hits during his career and after he won his ring, he decided to hang 'em up.
A recent inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Woodson was a ball hawk. Woodson holds two NFL records – career interception yards and interceptions returned for touchdowns, but his toughness is what set him apart. Woodson once tore his ACL, had reconstructive knee surgery and then played in the same season. Woodson was a fan favorite, selected 11 times to play in the Pro Bowl in a 17-year career.
Coming out of Penn State, Harris was known primarily as a fullback. Harris quickly proved cynics wrong, winning the 1972 Rookie of the Year award. During a 13-year career – 12 with the Steelers – Harris was selected to nine Pro Bowls and was a key contributor to four Super Bowl championships. Harris also played a major role in one of the most memorable plays in NFL history, 'The Immaculate Reception,' in the playoffs during his rookie season.
In the 2003 NFL draft, the Steelers took a shot on a three-year starter from USC in the first round. Polamalu is now the heart and soul to the Pittsburgh defense as a strong safety. His aggressive nature on the field has installed a ‘no-holds barred’ mentality into the one of the most dominating units. In his eight-year career, Polamalu has been selected to six Pro Bowls and has two Super Bowl championships.
The Steelers made a trade with the Rams in 1996, needing to replace power running back Bam Morris. Out with the Bam, in with the Bus. Bettis rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons with the Steelers. After Pittsburgh lost in the 2004 AFC title game, Bettis questioned his future in the game. A young Ben Roethlisberger convinced Bettis to return for a final Super Bowl run and promised an appearance in the big game. The Steelers got to Super Bowl XL, and Bettis finally won his ring.
In 1969, the Steelers went 1-13. By way of coin flip against the Chicago Bears, they won the No. 1 overall draft pick after that season. Pittsburgh invested in a 22-year old kid from Shreveport, La. – Terry Bradshaw. The young quarterback struggled early, throwing a ton of interceptions, but he finally hit his stride and led the Steelers to four Super Bowl titles during a 14-year career.
Swann was a part of the 1974 Steelers draft class that resulted in four eventual Hall of Famers. Swann spent his entire nine-year NFL career with Pittsburgh and won four Super Bowl rings. John McKay, his coach at USC, said of Swann: 'He has speed, soft hands and grace.' In 2001, Swann was enshrined, gracefully, into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Tough. Vicious. Relentless. Known as 'Mean Joe' Greene, the man was a cornerstone in the legendary Steel Curtain defense. Green, like many Steelers greats, has four Super Bowl rings and was selected to the Pro Bowl game 10 times in a 13-year career (1969-81). The beastly defensive tackle won the defensive player of the year award twice.
Lambert was a pioneer of combining extreme strength, quickness and an ability to read offenses. Often criticized for his lack of size, Lambert silenced critics as he earned the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 1974. Lambert prided himself on his closing speed and on intimidating the opposition. The middle linebacker, who played 11 seasons with the Steelers, won four Super Bowls.
One of the grittiest players to ever strap up, Webster often was referred to as 'Iron Mike.' The nickname was attributed to Webster’s durability and his reputation of playing even though he was injured. Webster, who played 17 NFL seasons (15 with the Steelers), is considered one of the best centers of all time and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Webster anchored an offensive line that helped the Steelers to four Super Bowl victories.