(Photo by James Drake/Getty Images)
The Steelers have six Lombardi Trophies at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side and are tied with the Patriots for winning the most Super Bowls. Hall of Fame cornerback Mel Blount was a part of four Steelers teams that won the Super Bowl in the 1970s and the best team that he played on during his tenure with the Steelers didn't even win the Super Bowl.
Like many other players, media members and fans, Blount thinks the Steelers 1976 team is the best team that he played on during the "Super Steelers" era of the 1970s. Some even believe that the 1976 team is the best in franchise history, even though they ended up not winning the Super Bowl.
Blount was recently on CBS Sports "All Things Covered" podcast with former Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden and current Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson, and he was asked about the Steelers 1976 team arguably having the greatest defense ever.
In 1976, the Steelers defense had five shutouts and from Week 6-14, they gave up just 28 points.
"Well, 1976 was probably the best team we ever had, even though we didn't win the Super Bowl," Blount said. "I think what really made us great is that we all had started to gel. And you know how it is, man. Momentum and confidence and all that stuff, and we were just coming off our second Super Bowl win. Won the first game and then we lost four games in a row because Bradshaw got hurt, and then it just clicked, man. Something happened to that defense. We went on a winning streak and a run that was incredible as far as shutting people down."
The Steelers were well on their way to winning the Super Bowl for the third consecutive season, but injuries to Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier threw a wrench into the Steelers' lethal rushing attack and they were defeated by the Raiders in the AFC Championship Game, 24-7.
"Then we got to Baltimore in the first round of the playoffs and we won it, but Franco (Harris) and Rocky (Bleier) got hurt, so we never had a running game going to Oakland, the Raiders," Blount said. "And Chuck Noll did something then that became really common in pro football, he came out with two tight ends. Back in those days nobody ever heard of people coming out with two tight ends. We didn't have enough time to really perfect that type of offense, plus we didn't have a running back. We had a guy who was kind of average. We just fell apart. But that was the best team, man. I'm talking about position-by-position. Probably the best team we've ever had up there in Pittsburgh during my playing time."
Along with five shutouts in 1976, the Steelers defense ranked first overall giving up 138 points, 22 interceptions, 24 fumble recoveries and 46 total turnovers for the season. Their best game was against the Chargers in Week 8 when they forced five turnovers and allowed just 134 total yards of offense and shut San Diego out, winning 23-0.