Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pittsburgh Steelers

Here are the 1972 Steelers. This is just before they won 4 Super Bowls in 6 years. Except for Preston Pearson, Andy Russell, and John Rowser, all these players have only 2 or 3 years of NFL experience.

#150 Terry Bradshaw - The Steelers spent their #1 pick in 1970 on Bradshaw, 1 year after drafting QB Terry Hanratty. Bradshaw assumed the starting QB job as a rookie, taking over for the departed Dick Shiner. It was a few years until he led the Steelers to 4 Super Bowls. Until then, he was considered by many to be too dumb to quarterback a contending NFL team.

#77 John "Frenchy" Fuqua - Frenchy joined the Steelers in 1970, after a rookie season with the Giants. He teamed with Preston Pearson to form the Steelers' starting backfield in 1970 and 1971, and with rookie Franco Harris in 1972. In 1973 Fuqua shared a running back position with Pearson, until they were both replaced by Rocky Bleier in 1974.

#306 Preston Pearson - Pearson was the Colts' 12th-round pick in 1967. After 3 seasons in Baltimore, he came to the Steelers in 1970. A starter for 2 seasons, he was relegated to a part-time role when Franco Harris arrived in 1972. After 1974, he moved on to Dallas, and played 6 seasons with the Cowboys before retiring after the 1980 season.

#37 Ronnie Shanklin - Shanklin was the Steelers' top wide receiver from his rookie season of 1970 through 1973. In 1974, he was thrown into the wide receiver mix with Frank Lewis and rookies Lynn Swann and John Stallworth. After missing the 1975 season, he wrapped up his career in 1976 with the Bears.

#173 Dave Smith - Like Shanklin, Smith earned a starting wide receiver spot as a rookie, but held it for only 2 seasons. In 1972, he lost his starting job to Frank Lewis, and was shipped to the Oilers in mid-season. He finished his career in 1973 with the Chiefs.

#101 L. C. Greenwood - Greenwood was the starting left defensive end for Pittsburgh's "Steel Curtain". He played his entire career (1969-81) with the Steelers.

#230 Joe Greene - Greene was probably the Steelers' best player during the 1970-72 seasons, as Bradshaw had not yet developed, and Harris, Swann, Stallworth, and Jack Lambert had not arrived yet. Joe was a fixture at left defensive tackle, making the Pro Bowl 10 times. Like Greenwood, Greene played his entire career (1969-81) with the Steelers. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1987.

#330 Andy Russell - Andy was a 16th-round pick in 1963 by the Steelers. He parlayed that lowly start into a 12-year career (1963-76) as the Steelers' starting right linebacker, playing in 7 Pro Bowls and 2 Super Bowls. He missed the 1964-65 seasons while in the Army.

#198 John Rowser - Rowser spent 4 seasons in Green Bay before joining the Steelers in 1971. John was the Steelers' starting left cornerback from 1971-73. In 1974, the Steelers added their final 2 Super-Bowl-era defensive starters (MLB Jack Lambert, LCB J. T. Thomas), so Rowser played with the Broncos in 1974-76.

Also check out the 1967 and 1968 Steelers.

Next time: Washington Redskins

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