The team that benefitted the most from the AFL-NFL merger is the Pittsburgh Steelers and it’s not even close. For the first 37 seasons of the team’s existence, Pittsburgh managed just one playoff appearance. With the coming of the 1970s, the Steelers almost magically morphed into a perpetual powerhouse: From 1972 through 50 seasons, this franchise won six Super Bowls, played in an incredible 62 games over 32 postseasons – with just three head coaches…
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Jets under 23.5 points (-240), Steelers under 25. 5 points (185), Mitchell Trubisky 14+ rushing yards (+135), Breece Hall 45+ yards (120),
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The Cleveland Browns beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football. The weekend games are on the schedule.
Cleveland beat Pittsburgh 29-17 in the NFL's Week 3. Pickswise Nation won on all bets.
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Cleveland Browns defeated Pittsburgh Steelers 29-17 last night.
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The Cincinnati Bengals-Pittsburgh Steelers matchup has been incredibly one-sided for decades. At home, the Bengals are just 4-19 SU/6-17 ATS. Meanwhile, the Steelers are 15-6 SU/13-8 ATS in Pittsburgh...
With the possible exceptions of the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions, no NFL team may claim a starker contrast between the pre- and post-AFL/NFL merger eras as the Pittsburgh Steelers. And unlike the mostly hapless Browns and Lions, the Steelers have a half-century’s worth of strings of powerhouse teams.
But hoo boy, just look at the record over the first four decades of the team’s existence. How bad were the Steelers from their inception as the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1933? It is nearly impossible to exaggerate the perpetual weakness of this team prior to the 1970s. The team’s first 10 seasons in the NFL resulted in a cumulative 27-75-6 record, representing an average season of 3-7-1 or 3-8. During the war years of ’44 and ’45, the Steelers temporarily ceased operations in Pittsburgh, loaning assets and players in the two seasons to the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Cardinals, respectively. The teams were known popularly by sportswriters of the time as the Steagles and Carpets, both for obvious reasons.
When the war ended, the losing continued. From 1946 to ’70, the Steelers managed just five winning seasons and an 0-1 playoff record. The team’s cumulative record through to the merger was 157-247-18, “good” for a .393 winning percentage, or an average record of slightly better than 4-7-1.
Everything changed with the arrival of Chuck Noll (and, more than a few say, modern anabolic steroids). After stripping down and rebuilding the roster, Noll in six years built an all-star team based on draft choices Joe Greene (1969); Terry Bradshaw, Mel Blount (1970); Jack Ham (1971); Franco Harris (1972); Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth and Mike Webster (1974). This led to creation of one of the top five NFL teams ever, one that bagged seven AFC Central titles and four Super Bowl wins in the 1970s.
The Steelers’ run from 1971 to ’84 in particular mostly reads like an NFL bettor’s dream:
• Steelers in regular-season games, 1971-84: 130-58-1 SU
• Average season record: 9-4-1
• In playoff games: 15-7 SU/13-9 ATS
• In Super Bowls: 4-0 SU/3-1 ATS
Noll ultimately retired from the team in 1991 and, incredibly enough, the team hired a mere *two* head coaches (Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin) over the next 33 seasons, while the default expectation for the franchise has become that of a perpetual Super Bowl contender. In the one-third century since Noll’ departure, the Steelers played in three more Super Bowls and won two while posting an incredible 30 regular seasons of .500 or better.
Check out these marks for comparison to the legendary Noll. Here’s the numbers for the Cowher Era:
• Steelers in regular-season games, 1992-2006: 149-90-1 SU/127-106-7 ATS
• Average season record: 10-6
• In playoff games: 12-9 SU/11-10 ATS
• In Super Bowls: 1-1 SU/2-0 ATS
And the comparable bit of the Mike Tomlin Era:
• Steelers in regular-season games, 2007-22: 154-86-1 SU/124-112-5 ATS
• Average season record: 10-6
• In playoff games: 8-9 SU/ATS
• In Super Bowls: 1-1 SU/0-2 ATS
And so, the Steelers’ record over the first 50 seasons after the AFL/NFL merger ends up at a crazy
By the way, the Steelers’ cumulative record since the AFL/NFL merger is – ready for this? – a ridiculous 491-324-4, or a .602 winning percentage for an average season of about 10-6. In the 38 seasons prior to the merger, that all-time record was 157-239-18, or a .399 winning percentage for an average season of 4-7-1.
One of the surest bets over the entire history of the modern NFL has been on the Pittsburgh Steelers, whether in the regular season or playoffs. Since the AFL/NFL merger, the Steelers have a .602 winning percentage in the regular season, a healthy 30-24 SU/29-25 ATS in playoff games, and 6-2 SU/5-3 ATS in Super Bowls. The point: This team is usually a great bet, regardless of situation – at least as long as you’re reading this after 1970…