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Based in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania , the Pittsburgh Steelers are members of the North Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League. Pittsburgh Steelers are the oldest and most championed franchise in the AFC and the team has appeared in six Super Bowls and, along with the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers, is one of three teams to have won the Super Bowl five times. They have also appeared in 13 Conference Championship Games and have hosted more conference championship games than any other NFL franchise.
In 1933, the team joined the NFL, however they were originally called the Pittsburgh Pirates. The franchise was renamed the 'Steelers' in 1940 based on the city's well-known position in the steel industry. In 1947, the Steelers made the playoffs for the first time and tied for first place in the division with the Philadelphia Eagles. This forced a tie-breaking playoff game, which the Steelers lost, 21-0. That would end up being Pittsburgh 's only playoff game for the next 25 years. Things started to change for the Steelers in 1969 with the hiring of coach Chuck Noll. Noll's had a remarkable talent for his draft selections. The players drafted in the early 1970's formed the core of one of the greatest dynasties in NFL history as they made the playoffs in eight seasons and became the only team in NFL history to win four Super Bowls in six years.
After suffering from rash injuries, the Steelers missed the playoffs in 1980 and in 1981. Following that, over the next three years, there were several retirements of some of their key players including Mean Joe Greene, Lynn Swann, Jack Ham, Terry Bradshaw, Mel Blount, and Jack Lambert. After those retirements, the Steelers skidded to a stop and had their first losing season in over 12 years. In 1992, Chuck Noll retired and was replaced by Bill Cowher, a native of Pittsburgh . Cowher went on to lead the Steelers to the playoffs in each of his first six seasons, an achievement that had been previously accomplished only by legendary coach Paul Brown of the Cleveland Browns. Cowher led the Steelers to the playoffs in 10 of his 15 seasons, including an appearance in Super Bowl XXX. Cowher also led the Steelers to their fifth Super Bowl win in Super Bowl XL over the Seattle Seahawks. With that victory, the Steelers became the third team in NFL history to win five Super Bowls. In 2007, Cowher resigned from his coaching position but he did not use the term 'retire', leaving open a possibility to return to the NFL as a coach of another team. On January 22, 2007, Mike Tomlin was named as Cowher's successor as head coach and Tomlin is the first African-American to be named head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers in its entire 74-year history.
Looking ahead, the 2008 season for the Steelers should be exciting. Ben Roethlisberger is a crucial piece to the puzzle. He has signed an eight-year, $102 million deal which makes him the richest player in franchise history. If anyone questions whether Roethlisberger can live up to those expectations, one must remember that he just came off of a season in which he tossed 32 touchdowns and had just 11 interceptions. He did have a high number of sacks, 47, as he holds the ball an unusually long time. If he is given strong pass protection the Steelers should find great success on the field this season.
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