Whenever the public is invited to vote on a team's all-time greats, modern players generally have an edge. Their accomplishments are more easily remembered. In the case of the Pittsburgh Steelers, recent memories are about the franchise's only fond ones, so the just-announced Steeler dream team is especially heavy with Super Bowl veterans.
Only four players not on Super Bowl winners made the squad, which is part of a 50-year anniversary celebration. These stars of the 1950s are receiver Elbie Nickel, defensive lineman Ernie Stautner, defensive back Jack Butler, and punter Pat Brady. Elsewhere the names have a more familiar ring - Bradshaw, Swann, Greenwood, Greene, etc.
Maybe the toughest choice was that of running back Rocky Bleier ahead of John Henry Johnson. Based on sheer statistics, Johnson probably deserved the nod, with 4,383 yards in six mostly losing seasons, compared to Bleier's 3,865 in a dozen, mostly winning ones. But as an inspirational leader, Rocky has had few peers in pro sports. A Vietnam combat veteran who returned to Pittsburgh after his military hitch, he went on to become a symbol of the team's pride and determination. Today he is the sports director of Pittsburgh's WPIX television station.