|1970s stars dominate Steelers all-time team|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 24 October 2007 15:38|
PITTSBURGH (AP) -Four current Steelers players, including five-time All-Pro left guard Alan Faneca and wide receiver Hines Ward, were named Wednesday to a 75th anniversary all-time Steelers team that includes nearly every 1970s-era starter.|
Also chosen off the current roster were nose tackle Casey Hampton and safety Troy Polamalu. Outside linebacker Joey Porter, who played for Pittsburgh from 1999 to 2006 and is now with Miami, is the only other active player on the team.
Thirty-three players were selected in fan voting, a number chosen because the franchise was formed in 1933. Fans often tend to choose recent players in such balloting, which may account for Polamalu being picked after only four full seasons and Hampton being chosen after six seasons.
``This is truly an honor, not only for me but the current players, Troy, Casey and Alan,'' said Ward, whose 648 receptions are the most in club history. ``To be mixed in with a great group of guys who wore the black and gold before we did ... it's truly a blessing for us.''
As expected, the team was dominated by the nine Hall of Famers from the Steelers' four Super Bowl championship teams during the 1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979 seasons: quarterback Terry Bradshaw, running back Franco Harris, center Mike Webster, wide receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, linebackers Jack Ham and Jack Lambert, cornerback Mel Blount and defensive tackle Joe Greene.
Eighteen of the 24 primary starters, counting kickers and punters, from those Super Bowl teams made the all-time club. Also picked were running back Rocky Bleier, tight end Bennie Cunningham, offensive tackles Larry Brown and Jon Kolb, defensive ends L.C. Greenwood and Dwight White, outside linebacker Andy Russell, safety Donnie Shell and punter Bobby Walden.
The Steelers were so certain that their 1970s stars would dominate - the club never made the playoffs until 1972 - that they previously announced an all-star team composed of players from 1933 to 1969.
Those 24 players were eligible for the all-time team, but only three made it: tight end Elbie Nickel, defensive tackle Ernie Stautner and defensive back Jack Butler.
Stautner is the only Pro Football Hall of Famer not from the Super Bowl teams to be selected to the all-time team.
Chosen from the Bill Cowher era of 1992 to 2006, when the Steelers made two trips to the Super Bowl, won it once and appeared in the playoffs 10 times, were running back Jerome Bettis, Ward, center Dermontti Dawson, Faneca, Hampton, outside linebacker Greg Lloyd, Porter, safety Carnell Lake and defensive back Rod Woodson.
One of the least-represented eras was that from 1980 to 1991, when the Chuck Noll-coached Steelers never reached the Super Bowl and only once played in the AFC championship game.
The only players selected who spent the majority of their careers during that time were offensive tackle Tunch Ilkin, now a team broadcaster, and kicker Gary Anderson.
No coach was chosen, although it is almost certain that Noll, the only coach to win four Super Bowls, would have been selected.
This all-time team supplants one picked in 1982 during the Steelers' 50th anniversary season. The 75th anniversary team will be honored at a $225-a-plate dinner Nov. 4 in Pittsburgh and again a night later at the Ravens-Steelers game.
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