The Pittsburgh Steelers were founded by Art Rooney in 1933 as the Pittsburgh Pirates. Originally in the same National Football League division as the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers, the Steelers moved to the American Football Conference, and into a new stadium, in 1970.
The 1970s were a decade of unprecedented accomplishment for the Steelers, who won four Super Bowls from 1974 to 1979. The foundation of their success began in 1969, when the team’s new head coach, Chuck Noll, drafted defensive tackle Joe Greene. “Mean Joe,” as he was affectionately known, went on to become one of the members of the feared Steel Curtain—the rest of this unparalleled defensive line were L.C. Greenwood, Ernie Holmes, and Dwight White.
In a memorable television commercial for Coca-Cola, which aired in 1979, Greene capitalized on his tough-guy reputation by not only sharing a bottle of Coke with a young fan, but tossing the kid his battered jersey as a souvenir. An updated version of the ad was aired during Super Bowl XLIII, the last time the Steelers won the contest, with Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu playing the role of Greene.
Of course, the other thing that happened to the Steelers in 1970 was quarterback Terry Bradshaw, who was the team’s first-round draft pick. Franco Harris joined the team in 1972, the same year he caught Bradshaw’s “Immaculate Reception” in a game against the Oakland Raiders. Lynn Swann and John Stallworth were just two of the four future Hall of Famers who came on board in 1974. By the end of that season, the Steelers had won their first of six Super Bowls.
For Steelers collectors, programs, tickets, pins and other memorabilia from the Steelers’ Super Bowl victories in 1974, ’75, ’78, ’79, ’05, and ’08 are highly prized. Tougher to find are footballs and jerseys with Terry Bradshaw’s signature on them—Bradshaw has been quite open about the anxiety he experiences in crowds and other uncontrolled situations. Footballs, helmets, and cards signed by the team’s current QB, Ben Roethlisberger, are also in demand.