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|07-22-2007, 12:46 AM||#1|
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Steelers 75th anniversary display a touchdown
Steelers 75th anniversary display a touchdown
Sunday, July 22, 2007
By Robert Dvorchak, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Looking for Steelers history told with artifacts? The story of Pittsburgh's NFL team has been woven into a continuous tapestry, with attention paid to each decade of the team's existence, to mark the 75th season of the franchise.
You know that there's a lot to cover when a 10-cent program from the 1933 game between the Pittsburgh Pirates, the franchise's original name, and the Brooklyn Dodgers sits in the same room with the No. 7 jersey and draft card of Ben Roethlisberger, the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl.
In addition, a 1938 football autographed by rookie Byron "Whizzer" White is on display not far from the Whizzer White trophy, awarded by the NFL Players Association in the name of the scholar, athlete, patriot, humanitarian and public servant who became a Supreme Court justice, which was presented to Andy Russell after the 1972 season.
And a standard player contract -- for $100 per game -- from the earliest days of the franchise shares exhibit space with a ticket to Super Bowl XL in Detroit that has a face value of $600.
More than 100 artifacts have been assembled from various sources for the Pittsburgh Steelers 75th Anniversary Exhibit, on display until the end of August at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
The exhibit has attracted a stream of Steelers fans, and the volume of traffic will spike when the Steelers play the New Orleans Saints in the Hall of Fame game Aug. 5. (All five of the Steelers' Vince Lombardi Super Bowl Championship Trophies will be part of the exhibit between July 27 and Aug. 6, the first time they have been displayed together outside of the Steelers' offices.)
"Steeler fans are coming out of the woodwork to see it," said Saleem Choudhry, researcher for the Hall of Fame.
For fans who can't make the 100-mile drive to Canton, the exhibit will be coming to Pittsburgh. It will be at Heinz Field in September and October, and then move to the Heinz History Center from November through mid-January.
When the display moves to Pittsburgh, the Hall of Fame is taking the rare step of allowing the busts of 19 Steelers to leave Canton.
"It doesn't happen very often that the busts leave the Hall, but the Steeler anniversary qualified," Choudhry said.
The exhibit was put together with items from the Hall of Fame, the Rooney family, the Steelers and the Heinz Regional History Center.
"It's an opportunity to see some real treasures," said Anne Madarasz, curator of the History Center. "The challenge was to pick out the best of the best."
There is a video that plays in a continuous loop to tell the story of the Steelers, which means the Immaculate Reception of 1972 -- which produced the franchise's first playoff win -- can be seen every seven minutes.
Several items related to that play are in the exhibit, including the patch of Tartan Turf from the 42 where Franco Harris made a shoestring catch of a deflected pass.
A related item is the panel from the Haughton elevator in Three Rivers Stadium. Team founder Art Rooney was in that elevator thinking the Steelers had lost when the Immaculate Reception washed away 40 years of frustration.
Several items recall the human side of Rooney, including an ash tray holding three spent matches and an vintage cigar. The case also includes his humidor and a box of Bances "El Presidente" imported cigars. In another area, a framed picture shows Rooney and his brother, Dan, in baseball uniforms when they played together for the Wheeling Stogies in 1925.
The exhibit tracks the Steelers through the ages with shoes, shoulder pads and helmets. There is the No. 70 jersey of Ernie Stautner, the only player to have his number officially retired by the Steelers. There's also a can of Iron City beer featuring the images of Chuck Noll and Art Rooney between two Super Bowl trophies. And, of course, a Terrible Towel has a spot among the memorabilia.
Another item is the playbook of Walt Kiesling, the player/coach who was the last coach in the NFL to abandon the single wing and the coach who cut quarterback Johnny Unitas.
For more on the exhibit, visit profootballhof.com
If this is not the right forum, please move this post. I wasn't sure where to put it.
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