Blog Entry

Best Steelers 1985 - Present

Posted on: February 14, 2009 5:06 am

So the other day I realized this will be the 25<sup>th</sup> season I have followed the Steelers and the NFL. I started to reminisce about the players over the years and it made me want to make a quarter century team. So here is my best Steelers roster of players from the last 25 years.


QB – Ben Roethlisberger – two SB rings make it an easy pick for the starting QB

QB – Neil O’Donnell – Slightly above average starting QB in his prime, SB XXX aside

QB – Kordell Stewart – It was between him, Bubby Brister or Mark Malone.  Can be Slash if he is #3


RB – Jerome Bettis – One of the all time greats, easy pick here.

RB – Willie Parker – 2 Super Bowls, three very solid seasons as a starter, 2 Pro Bowl selections

RB – Barry Foster – I will give him third because for about a season and a half he was amazing and there isn’t much else to pick from.


FB – Merrill Hoge – 3,000 yds rushing, 34 TDs, 240 catches and a good blocker to boot.

FB - Dan Kreider – bruising blocker, it was between him, Jon Witman or Tim Lester


WR – Hines Ward – Hall of Famer, 800 catches, best blocking WR in the league

WR – John Stallworth – He only played three years in this period but it is enough.

WR – Louis Lipps – Was the best player on a bad offense in his prime. 84 ROTY, great punt returner his first two years.

WR – Yancey Thigpen – 226 catches as a Steeler, was great in 95 and 97 his only two healthy years as a starter.

WR – Plaxico Burress – 261 catches and 22 TDs in 5 years, clearly better than anyone else left


TE - Heath Miller – 168 catches 21 TDs in 4 years, 2 SB rings, good blocker

TE – Eric Green – 198 catches 24 TDs in 5 years, was a problem player though and they don’t last in Pittsburgh long.

TE – Mark Bruener – 137 catches 16 TDs and a great blocker for 9 years. (bet ya didn’t know he is still playing!)


OT - Tunch Ilkin – Best Steeler tackle of the 80’s 2 time pro bowler

OT – John Jackson – Best Steeler tackle of the 90’s, 0 pro bowls because of HOF tackles in the AFC at the time.

OT – Max Starks – I was going to put Marvel Smith here but who is the only Steeler offensive lineman to start two SBs in the last 30 years? Max Starks is.


OG – Alan Faneca – Easy pick, future HOFer

OG – Duval Love – an under appreciated guard from the mid 90’s, very solid player

OG Carlton Hasslrig – Great player for 2 years then went nuts, still having trouble to this day I hear.


C – Dermontti Dawson – “Dirt” should be in the hall, 7 time pro bowler

C – Mike Webster – played 4 years in this period went to three pro bowls, may he rest in peace.


XOL – Jeff Hartings – Was a three time pro bowler as a Steeler center, won a ring in ‘05



DE – Aaron Smith – A great player when you look at the whole body of work, the only Steeler DE to go to a pro bowl since L.C. Greenwood.

DE- Brett Keisel – This pair we have right now is as good as we have had in a long time.

DE - Ray Seals – Arguably the best pass rusher the Steelers have had at DE since they switched to a 3-4 in the 80’s. 15.5 sacks in 2 years.

DE – Gerald Williams – played DE and NT but was better as an end. 24.5 sacks in 9 years


NT – Casey Hampton – He is a load in the middle, a lot of our success goes through him.

NT – Joel Steed – Was exactly what Hampton is now, a load, he was a key in run to SB XXX.

NT – Gary Dunn – Spent his last 3 years in this period, was a good gritty player, long forgotten.


OLB – Greg Lloyd – top 3 LB in football for about a 6 year period, all around talent.

OLB – Joey Porter – good pass rusher, big part of SB XL

OLB – James Harrison – his selection as DPOTY, 2 team MVPs, and 2 SB rings got him on this list.

OLB – Jason Gildon – one of our all time sack leaders.

OLB – Kevin Greene – Still had my 53 rd spot open and it just feels good to add the beast to the team, had a great three years here.


ILB – Levon Kirkland – Amazing skill for a LB in a DT body, 2 time pro bowler

ILB – James Farrior – great energy and leadership, 2 SB rings

ILB – David Little – 12 year vet started most of that time, went to pro bowl in 1990, passed away in 05.

ILB – Hardy Nickerson – one of the Buccaneers all time greats was the first major loss for the Steelers in the new free agent era.


CB – Rod Woodson – Going into the Hall this year and deservedly so, first ballot.

CB – Dwayne Woodruff – good player for a decade, his leadership for young Woodson and Lake might be biggest contribution though.

CB – Ike Taylor – terribly under rated by his own fans Taylor has been a solid piece of two championship defenses now.

CB – Chad Scott – was also better than we thought, we got his best years out of him though.

CB - Deshea Townsend – Edges out D. Washington and W. Williams by long tenure and two rings.

S – Troy Polamalu – We are getting to see one of the best of all time right now, enjoy.

S – Carnell Lake – the Steelers had a great defense through most of the 90’s Lake was a big piece of that. 4 time pro bowler.

S – Darren Perry – Underrated player, 32 Ints in 7 years, 7<sup>th</sup> in Steelers history, 1994 All Pro

S – Donnie Shell – He only played 3 years in this period but it is enough to get him on the roster. One of the all time great safeties.

S- Ryan Clark – very good player just edges out Brent Alexander, Chris Hope and Lee Flowers.


K – Jeff Reed – with all due respect to Gary Anderson and even Norm Johnson, Reed’s got two rings and made big kicks when they needed him to. He has also been very accurate in the hardest venue to kick in the NFL.


P- Josh Miller – was a great punter in his prime, got a ring with the Pats.


Category: NFL
Tags: Steelers

Since: Jan 6, 2010
Posted on: February 25, 2010 6:49 pm

Best Steelers 1985 - Present

I agree with all of your selections except one. Neil O'Donnell was the worst QB in this era and that was not only for the Steelers but also the league. Although he was the MVP of SB XXX...ask any Dallas fan.

Since: Dec 16, 2008
Posted on: August 4, 2009 5:00 pm

Best Steelers 1985 - Present

Thank you for this look into the past... Brings back alot of good memorys. really appreciate the time and effort put into this...

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: July 13, 2009 3:00 am

Best Steelers 1985 - Present

Thanks for commenting. I have to disagree big time with Casey Hampton though. I saw alot of plays down the stretch last year that were all about his push. He does seem to take some plays off the last two years and I don't like that but I saw him turn it on again late last year and fell back in love his play.

It is hard to believe that we found a better one than Carnell. I think together that one of them could have easily made the switch to free safety (depending on the style of defense at the time, it could be either) and been the best tandom ever.

Since: Jul 2, 2009
Posted on: July 2, 2009 4:35 pm

Best Steelers 1985 - Present

Nice post.
The only thing I don't agree with is Casey Hampton.  i think he is the most over-rated Steeler in this time frame.  I became obsessed with him about 2-3 years ago.  I rewind almost every play and he gets bullied alot.

Who would of ever thought we would have someone better than Lake at safety?  Troy is a beast

Since: Jan 2, 2009
Posted on: May 3, 2009 1:52 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Mar 4, 2008
Posted on: March 28, 2009 2:23 pm

Best Steelers 1985 - Present

My tenure following the Steelers started in the playoff game against the Raiders. I was nine years old when Franco scooped the ball up just above the turf and rumbled for the touchdown. How about giving us a list that goes back to the early 70's and includes all the Super Bowl teams. It would be nice to see some of those names again (Russell, Ham and Lambert at LB etc).

Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: March 5, 2009 6:41 pm

Best Steelers 1985 - Present

Thanks for reading and commenting. Lake actually only played corner in parts of two seasons and Chad Scott had a decent career here. He did have 2 bad seasons but he was our rookie of the year in 97, led the team in interceptions in 2000 and 01, was in the top 4 on the team in tackles every year he was a starter and had four ints returned for touchdowns.

Since: Mar 1, 2009
Posted on: March 2, 2009 9:29 am

Best Steelers 1985 - Present

I really Like Jerome"the bus" Bettis in there.Also Jeff Read.

Since: Jul 11, 2007
Posted on: February 27, 2009 4:16 pm

Best Steelers 1985 - Present

I like it.  I would leave Chad Scott off the list and put in somebody else.  Lake was a cornerback for a long time, maybe just have four safeties and replace Scott with Lake.  I also have to say it's hard to not have Gary Anderson as the kicker.  Besides that, I like the team.  It's good to see all those old names you don't think of anymore:  Seals, Woodruff, Little, Nickerson, Perry - all great Steelers.  Thanks for posting!

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