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View Full Version : Steel Curtain '76 vs. '07


GBMelBlount
11-29-2007, 09:56 AM
The '76 Steelers defense is arguable the greatest defense in the history of the NFL. Here are some interesting comparisons between 1976 & 2007 ytd based on regular season.

1976 - Pts/gm 9.9, yds/gm 237, yds/play 3.8, 1st downs/gm 13

2007 - Pts/gm 13.2, yds/gm 229, yds/play 4.1, 1st downs/gm 13.6

The ave. offensive yards per game has increased by about 25 since 1976 and points per game has increased about 2.25.

PisnNapalm
11-29-2007, 10:07 AM
A few things about that 1976 team. They started the season 1-4 and finished the season 10-4. They posted 5 shutouts that season as well.

While this years defense is certainly one of the best the league has seen I don't believe it to be as good as 1976. 5 shutouts in 8 games.

Here's that 1976 record:
@ Oakland Raiders 28-31
Cleveland Browns 31-14
New England Patriots 27-30
@ Minnesota Vikings 6-17
@ Cleveland Browns 16-18
Cincinnati Bengals 23- 6
@ New York Giants 27- 0
San Diego Chargers 23- 0
@Kansas City Chiefs 45- 0
Miami Dolphins 14- 3
Houston Oilers 32-16
@Cincinnati Bengals 7- 3
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 42- 0
@ Houston Oilers 21- 0

BlastFurnace
11-29-2007, 10:32 AM
It's not even remotely comparable. This 2007 defense has no business even being in the discussion. That defense was dominating, intimidating, and had 4 future HOF's starting...and argueablly could have another 2 in the HOF. This 2007 defense allows a rookie QB and Jay Cutler to engineer drives at the end of the game that cost our team a victory. The 2007 Jets don't even make it past midfield against that 1976 bunch....unless they get to return kickoffs against our 2007 Special Teams.

Michael Keller
11-29-2007, 10:43 AM
Statistics are meaningful and I believe properly analyze can be informing:

I believe the biggest difference between then and now is that the coaches knew they could TURN THE GAME OVER TO THEIR DEFENSE WIHOUT ANY FEAR of being let down. The Curtain was up and no team was going through it.

Currently our team's defense can be playing a dominant game and the Jets can come down the field and kick a field goal and tie up the game or can actually score a touchdown.

Now in fairness to today's Steeler defense the rules have changed favoring the offense. Many of the 70's defensive players would have been thrown out of the game and certainly Lambert would have been outsted some time early in the first quarter .

In summary I dT not believe there is any possible way to compare the defenses., The game has changed too much and the players are bigger, faster and in gneral better coached and as an older fan that is not easy to admit.

However not to contradict myself the Steelers of the 70"s were far more dominant than any Steeler defense since. They were like money in the bank .

fansince'76
11-29-2007, 11:13 AM
Let's put it this way: in the '75 playoffs, the Steelers turned the ball over THIRTEEN times in 2 games, yet still won both games. Does anybody think we could average 6.5 TOs a game over two PLAYOFF games and still win both games with the current D? I don't.

jjpro11
11-29-2007, 11:21 AM
not even close.. although we could easily have 4 shutouts this season if our special teams did not allow big returns in the bills and ravens game. the only score from both teams came from the short field thanks to a big return. hell, we could have possibly shutout the browns in week 1 if farrior didnt drop an easy INT on coincidentally the only drive that the browns scored on. so while this defense has looked as good as any in some games, it played like pure dirt in at least 2 others. all-time defenses like the 76 steelers dont get embarrassed by a 1-8 jets team and an injury plagued broncos team.

RoethlisBURGHer
11-29-2007, 11:40 AM
No defense compared to the 1970's Steel Curtain Defense, especially the 1976 squad. They changed the rules because of the Steel Curtain.

This 2007 defense is a special squad though. They are the best defense of the 2007 season.

rbryan
11-29-2007, 11:47 AM
Check back with me after the next two games. If they can maintain thier current averages they will be the best defense this year.

As far as comparing to 1976, this years version of the Steel Curtain is not even close.

PisnNapalm
11-29-2007, 01:10 PM
The 1976 Steelers Defense caused the NFL to change numerous rules to favor the offense.

geo123
11-29-2007, 02:19 PM
The current D is vey good, but as most have stated they still can't match up to the 76team. If they can dominate New England I'll consider a comparison.

Atlanta Dan
11-29-2007, 02:56 PM
I once read a quote from another team's coach that with that 74-76 defense the realistic goal was not to score but to avoid being hurt.

That defense had 4 players in 1974 (Greene, Greenwood, Ham, Russell), 7 players in 1975 (Greene, Greenwood, Ham, Lambert, Russell, Blount & Wagner), and 8 players in 1976 (Greene, Greenwood, Ham, Lambert, Blount, Edwards, Thomas, and Wagner) make the Pro Bowl.

The strength of that D was usually regarded as the front seven but the entire defensive backfield made the 1976 Pro Bowl.

Only Big Snack & Troy (at least Troy at full strength) would start on that mid-70s D.

There is no comparison.

Michael Keller
11-29-2007, 04:01 PM
I once read a quote from another team's coach that with that 74-76 defense the realistic goal was not to score but to avoid being hurt.

That defense had 4 players in 1974 (Greene, Greenwood, Ham, Russell), 7 players in 1975 (Greene, Greenwood, Ham, Lambert, Russell, Blount & Wagner), and 8 players in 1976 (Greene, Greenwood, Ham, Lambert, Blount, Edwards, Thomas, and Wagner) make the Pro Bowl.

The strength of that D was usually regarded as the front seven but the entire defensive backfield made the 1976 Pro Bowl.

Only Big Snack & Troy (at least Troy at full strength) would start on that mid-70s D.

There is no comparison.

At one point in time in that PRO Bowl game there were 8 Steelers on the field against the National Football Conference.

Jack Lambert called a defensive scheme the Steelers used during their games. One of the other 3 non-Steelers responded to Lambert, What do we do ?

We don"t know what your talking about. Lambert responded..

"Don"t worry about it just keep out of the way".

Dynasty
11-29-2007, 05:43 PM
how many points did the nfc team put up against lambert and co.?

Black@Gold Forever32
11-29-2007, 06:15 PM
This shouldn't even be a comparison....The 76 Steel Curtain dominated offenses and enforced their will on them....

This defense is very good as their NFL ranking indicates but its not even close to the 76 D.....

I don't think this current D is as good as the 94 Blitzburgh D or even the 2005 Super Bowl XL defense.....

BlastFurnace
11-29-2007, 06:37 PM
This shouldn't even be a comparison....The 76 Steel Curtain dominated offenses and enforced their will on them....

This defense is very good as their NFL ranking indicates but its not even close to the 76 D.....

I don't think this current D is as good as the 94 Blitzburgh D or even the 2005 Super Bowl XL defense.....

I think the 1994 defense was better, but it did have it's faults.....Alfred Papunu!!!!!!!!!

Black@Gold Forever32
11-29-2007, 06:59 PM
I think the 1994 defense was better, but it did have it's faults.....Alfred Papunu!!!!!!!!!

Trust me I'll never forget the name Alfred Pupunu.....lol I remember that play well still to this day....lol But if the offense only scoring 13 points in that AFC title game is much to blame as well...lol

Atlanta Dan
11-29-2007, 07:07 PM
Trust me I'll never forget the name Alfred Pupunu.....lol I remember that play well still to this day....lol But if the offense only scoring 13 points in that AFC title game is much to blame as well...lol

Looking on the sometimes elusive bright side, if the Steelers had beaten the Chargers IMO they would have been waxed by the 49ers.... lol

AFC championship game losses are tough, but no loss felt worse for than losing to Dallas in SB XXX.

GBMelBlount
11-29-2007, 09:01 PM
I never said '07 is better. The only thing I was hoping for is that based on the comparison (statistically) in these few categories that people would agree this is a VERY good no name defense. Also, if you compare us to the '85 Bears & 2000 Ravens, our yards per play & yards per game are BETTER than either team. Our 1st downs per game is better than '85 Bears & same as 2000 Ravens. Sorry if I offended anybody by the comparison to the '76 Steelers STATISTICALLY.

PalmerSteel
11-29-2007, 09:57 PM
i dont even know yet if this D is as good as a few we have had in the last 10-15 years let alone some of the great ones in the 70's. look at the offenses we have played. bills, 49ers, seahawks when at the time their O was looking atrocious, ravens, dolphins. the worst offenses in the league. the only 2 teams that we have played that has a decent O is the resurged browns, who put up 28 on us (at home) and the bungles who put up 13, which was at our 2nd home (that one was still impressive). not saying this d isnt good but lets not get carried away yet. lets see if we can keep the bengals and patriots under 20 the next 2 weeks and then that is saying something special.

MasterOfPuppets
11-29-2007, 10:05 PM
i'd be willing to bet, the 76 steelers played a much tougher schedule also....:coffee:

Rhee Rhee
11-30-2007, 03:10 AM
Let's put it this way: in the '75 playoffs, the Steelers turned the ball over THIRTEEN times in 2 games, yet still won both games. Does anybody think we could average 6.5 TOs a game over two PLAYOFF games and still win both games with the current D? I don't.

i had no idea the defense basically carried the team like that... but ya... this year's defense cannot even begin to compare to the 76..... sure we got some studs in some spots in our D but that entire team was just Pro-Bowl caliber

geo123
11-30-2007, 07:21 AM
I never said '07 is better. The only thing I was hoping for is that based on the comparison (statistically) in these few categories that people would agree this is a VERY good no name defense. Also, if you compare us to the '85 Bears & 2000 Ravens, our yards per play & yards per game are BETTER than either team. Our 1st downs per game is better than '85 Bears & same as 2000 Ravens. Sorry if I offended anybody by the comparison to the '76 Steelers STATISTICALLY.

No offense taken it's good dicussion material.
I know statisticly the 07 D is very good(the best in the league the anouncers keep saying) but after watching them play Denver, Clevland and the Jets some times it's hard to believe. As some on else said the D in the 70's really dominated games.
I would like to see the 07 do a little better presuuring theQB's.; esspecially against NE they'll need to!!

SteelDogFan
11-30-2007, 09:22 AM
There is no comparison.

geo123
12-01-2007, 07:26 PM
Your right, I was watching some old highlights on TV today. As good as this D is they have a long way to go to before they can compare.

PalmerSteel
12-02-2007, 12:33 AM
maybe start a thread to compare this D with some of the D's we have had in the last 15 years? because they are not even in the same ballpark as 76 unless they do something amazing against the patriots.

Preacher
12-02-2007, 02:07 AM
It isn't that this team is worse,

It is that it is incomparable.

The rule changes, the difference in the game, etc. etc. make a direct head to head comparison worthless.

What is a better comparison, in my opinion, is the Steelers defense against OTHER defenses of the 70s, verses 2007s defense against other defenses this year.

When it comes to THAT kind of comparison, and the type of offenses we played vs. the type of offenses they played, I think our defense now is about 75 to 80 percent what that defense was. If we could step up and play like we did against the Seahawks or Ravens every game, I would push it up to 85, touching on 90 percent now and then, but they are way to inconsistent for that percentage right now.

Preacher
12-03-2007, 02:22 AM
Let's put it this way: in the '75 playoffs, the Steelers turned the ball over THIRTEEN times in 2 games, yet still won both games. Does anybody think we could average 6.5 TOs a game over two PLAYOFF games and still win both games with the current D? I don't.

Interesting... after tonight... I am not as sold on this proposition as I was before tonight. Depending on the teams, The just may be able to!

Next week will be the tell-tale...

Steeldude
12-03-2007, 02:54 AM
there is no way that this 2007 defense is even close to being better than any of the steelers' defenses of the 70's.

i know the rah-rah fans don't like to hear it, but this defense is somewhat overrated. this isn't to say they aren't a good defense, but they aren't great. poor competition and some bad weather games will always make the defensive stats look better/misleading.

take the bengals' game for an example. they had some wide open WRs, but the slick ball made it difficult for palmer to throw.

fansince'76
12-03-2007, 02:58 AM
there is no way that this 2007 defense is even close to being better than any of the steelers' defenses of the 70's.

i know the rah-rah fans don't like to hear it, but this defense is somewhat overrated. this isn't to say they aren't a good defense, but they aren't great. poor competition and some bad weather games will always make the defensive stats look better/misleading.

take the bengals' game for an example. they had some wide open WRs, but the slick ball made it difficult for palmer to throw.

I will agree that this defense still isn't close to the '70s, but it's the best in the league right now. Ben had no problem completing 65% of his passes in the same conditions to WRs that were inferior to the Bengals' WRs in talent (outside of Hines), and I am continually hearing how much better of a QB Palmer is. The fact is, they had the ball inside our 30 4 times and only managed 3 points out of it.

Preacher
12-03-2007, 02:59 AM
there is no way that this 2007 defense is even close to being better than any of the steelers' defenses of the 70's.

i know the rah-rah fans don't like to hear it, but this defense is somewhat overrated. this isn't to say they aren't a good defense, but they aren't great. poor competition and some bad weather games will always make the defensive stats look better/misleading.

take the bengals' game for an example. they had some wide open WRs, but the slick ball made it difficult for palmer to throw.

The teams of the 70s left some guys open as well. Matter of fact, enough were left open that they got about the same amount of yards in an average game that they are getting now.

They also had weather in TRS.

Preacher
12-03-2007, 03:00 AM
I will agree that this defense still isn't close to the '70s, but it's the best in the league right now. Ben had no problem completing 65% of his passes in the same conditions, and I am continually hearing how much better of a QB Palmer is. The fact is, they had the ball inside our 30 4 times and only managed 3 points out of it.

Yeah...

this game actually opened my eyes a bit to what we REALLY have on our D.

Let's not forget that we don't have the dominate run to eat up time like we did before.

PalmerSteel
12-03-2007, 08:34 AM
Yeah...

this game actually opened my eyes a bit to what we REALLY have on our D.

Let's not forget that we don't have the dominate run to eat up time like we did before.


amen to that preacher. couldnt agree more. being -3 in the turnover ratio and still only giving up 10 and winning by 2 touchdowns surpised me. knew they were good against bad offenses but they really poured it on last night with CONSISTENCY. our ultimate test will obviously be next sunday. i think we can, but even if we dont win, if we can hold them within 21 points that will really be saying something special.

BlastFurnace
12-03-2007, 11:47 AM
We have a good defense, but I still maintain...no matter what this team does next week...that the defense of the 70's was far more dominant than this one.

If you never saw the 70's defense play, I could understand why you would find that hard to believe...but...as of right now, there is no comparison.

Edman
12-03-2007, 01:21 PM
This years' Steel Curtain is not as good as '76, but it's still great by itself. Perhaps the strongest D the Steelers have fielded this decade.

Preacher
12-03-2007, 01:54 PM
We have a good defense, but I still maintain...no matter what this team does next week...that the defense of the 70's was far more dominant than this one.

If you never saw the 70's defense play, I could understand why you would find that hard to believe...but...as of right now, there is no comparison.

I saw them play. I also know that the game has changed, the rules have changed, and that time has a way of highlighting certain things and diminishing other things.

I am not saying this defense is as good as the 70s D. I am saying that for the game today, this defense is in the ball park. I think I said about 80 percent before.

GBMelBlount
12-03-2007, 10:29 PM
Another interesting Stat. ESPN ranks '85 Bears #2 all-time defense behind '76 Steelers. What does ESPN claim '85 Bears defensive claim to fame to be?..... 7 regular season games with opponents scoring less than ten points. 2007 Steelers have 6 games with opponents scoring 10 points or less. We have 4 games left.

Preacher
12-03-2007, 10:30 PM
Another interesting Stat. ESPN ranks '85 Bears #2 all-time defense behind '76 Steelers. What does ESPN claim '85 Bears defensive claim to fame to be?..... 7 regular season games with opponents scoring less than ten points. 2007 Steelers have 6 games with opponents scoring 10 points or less. We have 4 games left.

Very Interesting.

We may have something special on this team for the next few years!

Steeldude
12-03-2007, 10:37 PM
The teams of the 70s left some guys open as well. Matter of fact, enough were left open that they got about the same amount of yards in an average game that they are getting now.

They also had weather in TRS.


yep, they had weather in pittsburgh in the 70's too. your point? i am guessing you are trying to play devil's advocate or you were born in the 80's or later.

no one is saying that the defense of the 70's didn't leave guys open or make mistakes.

the NFL is full of really bad teams this year.

Preacher
12-03-2007, 10:42 PM
yep, they had weather in pittsburgh in the 70's too. your point? i am guessing you are trying to play devil's advocate or you were born in the 80's or later.

no one is saying that the defense of the 70's didn't leave guys open or make mistakes.

the NFL is full of really bad teams this year.

My point, specifically... is that we tend to idolize the past and forget certain things. My further point is that this defensive team is probably 80 to 85 percent as good as that defense.

BTW... while I was born quite a bit earlier then the 80s, there is something called video that allows everyone to watch the games. More importantly, watching the games WHILE KNOWING THE OUTCOME allows one to be more perceptive and less wrapped up in the game. Thus... It doesn't matter when one was born. THose of us who saw the team in the 70s may be a little too biased to accurately portray this defense against that one.

Preacher
12-03-2007, 10:45 PM
LOL


Patriots*

#1LambertFan
12-04-2007, 01:52 PM
It's not even remotely comparable. This 2007 defense has no business even being in the discussion. That defense was dominating, intimidating, and had 4 future HOF's starting...and argueablly could have another 2 in the HOF. This 2007 defense allows a rookie QB and Jay Cutler to engineer drives at the end of the game that cost our team a victory. The 2007 Jets don't even make it past midfield against that 1976 bunch....unless they get to return kickoffs against our 2007 Special Teams.

I wouldn't say that you couldn't compare them because the 07 is an amazing defense but the 76 Steelers were in a league of their own. I do however believe that this defense could have 4 hall of famers. Casey Hampton WILL make HoF and im all but positive Troy Polamalu will and if a few others step up like they have been this year they will make it.

BlastFurnace
12-04-2007, 05:23 PM
I wouldn't say that you couldn't compare them because the 07 is an amazing defense but the 76 Steelers were in a league of their own. I do however believe that this defense could have 4 hall of famers. Casey Hampton WILL make HoF and im all but positive Troy Polamalu will and if a few others step up like they have been this year they will make it.

The difference is that the 70's Steelers bury Jay Cutler and the Jets rookie QB. This group did not.

So far, Troy is not even sniffing the HOF. He needs some more good years to do that. IMO, Carnell Lake was a better all around safety than Troy and he may not make it himself.

geo123
12-10-2007, 03:04 PM
Anyone who thinks this D is remotely close to the D in the seventies has never seen the the 70's Steelers. If you want a lesson on how to play D watch the old films!

revefsreleets
12-10-2007, 03:22 PM
Yup. Yesterday kind of settled this argument, I'd say!

BlastFurnace
12-10-2007, 04:38 PM
Yes....anyone want to re-visit this topic. Like geo123 said, if anyone thinks this defense even compares to the 70's defenses from 70 through 79, they didn't watch Steeler football in the 70's.

LambertIsGod58
12-15-2007, 04:38 PM
I never thought I'd see a Steeler fan even try to make this comparison.

BlastFurnace
12-15-2007, 04:53 PM
I never thought I'd see a Steeler fan even try to make this comparison.

I can understand if the fan never saw that 1970's defense play, but if a fan did see both defenses play....then it is a ridiculous comparison.

This defense isn't even as good as our 1994 defense.

Atlanta Dan
12-15-2007, 05:41 PM
Dr. Z from SI reiterated yesterday how good that '76 team was:

Chris of Baghdad brings something out of my process of evaluation that I never knew existed. He lists some of his favorite teams that never won the Super Bowl -- '67 Rams, '68 Colts, '69 Raiders, '83 Skins, '86 Bears, etc. -- and then asks for my choice of all time best in that category. Chris, you went fishing for perch and you landed a salmon. Not only the best team that never won the big one, but the best team I ever saw, period! And that would be the '76 Steelers, which lost to the Raiders in the AFC Championship because all their running backs got hurt.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/dr_z/12/14/petrino/2.html

GBMelBlount
12-15-2007, 06:17 PM
I never thought I'd see a Steeler fan even try to make this comparison.

Good point LIG. I did not see the Steelers play in the 70's. I have seen some footage & commentary about them. As I had said, the '76 Steelers are arguably the greatest defense in NFL history. Then I posted a few ytd stats (at that point in the season) that I thought were pretty impressive. Nowhere did I say they were as good. Sorry if I angered Anyone.