With the Super Bowl marking its 50th anniversary next Sunday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, it was doubtless that 50-related pomp and circumstance would surround the event. After all, this is the NFL, who never backs down from a chance to celebrate itself or its history. One of the ways the league is doing so is by naming its Super Bowl 50 Golden Team, a list of the very best players to ever participate in the championship game. And the Pittsburgh Steelers, who dominated the 1970s with four Lombardi Trophies, has yielded the most Hall of Fame names to the team.
Eight Steelers—seven players and former head coach Chuck Noll—were given the honors, including running back Franco Harris, receiver Lynn Swann, center Mike Webster, linebackers Jack Lambert and Jack Ham, defensive tackle Joe Green and cornerback Mel Blount. All Steelers named to the Golden Team played under Noll in the 1970s. Two Hall of Famers from that era, quarterback Terry Bradshaw and receiver John Stallworth, did not make the team; Bradshaw was beaten out by Joe Montana, and Jerry Rice (along with Swann) was the other receiver named.
There is no Second Team in this exercise, which includes 22 players and a coach: one quarterback, two running backs, two receivers, one tight end, two offensive tackles, two guards, one center, two inside defensive linemen, two defensive ends, two apiece of inside and outside linebackers, two corners, two safeties, a kicker, a punter and a returner.
The Steelers currently lead the NFL with six Super Bowl victories, four of which these eight Golden Team awardees help attain.
Baltimore Ravens: Current Ravens Players Named to Less-Honorable List
While eight Steelers players from a previous era were named to the Super Bowl 50 Golden Team, seven members of the current Baltimore Ravens’ roster were named to a more auspicious list: The AFC North All-Penalty Team, as compiled by ESPN.
Safety Will Hill, linebacker Elvis Dumervil, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, guard Kelechi Osemele, tight end Maxx Williams, defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan and safety Kendrick Lewis all made the list. Hill led the team with nine penalties, including four for unnecessary roughness. Osemele, who had eight penalties on the year, saw three flags against him in the team’s final two games.
The Ravens were the AFC North’s leader in penalties in 2015, with 121, and are the fourth-most in team history. The Ravens, though, didn’t boast the most players on the All-Penalty Team; that would be the Cincinnati Bengals with eight. The Cleveland Browns, meanwhile, had six players and the Pittsburgh Steelers, three.
Cornerback Tramon Williams led the Browns with eight penalties and made the All-Penalty Team, while quarterback Johnny Manziel and tight end Gary Barnidge each had five penalties apiece, as did offensive lineman Cameron Erving and linebacker Paul Kruger. Steelers center Cody Wallace led his team with 13, while Bengals safety Dre Kirkpatrick was his team’s leader with 15. The last time the Ravens were flagged this much was in 2012, when they went on to win the Super Bowl; in 2015, though, they finished 5-11, the team’s worst record since 2007. Their 2015 penalties cost the Ravens a total of 1,153 yards on the season.
Cincinnati Bengals: Vontaze Burfict Doesn’t Hate the Steelers All of the Time
If there was one thing made crystal clear this year it’s that the Cincinnati Bengals hate the Pittsburgh Steelers. This hatred was on display in the team’s three meetings, two in the regular season and the third in the playoffs. And no Bengals player is more vocal about his dislike of his divisional rivals than linebacker Vontaze Burfict.
But even Burfict isn’t immune to the lure of the Steelers when playing Madden. Burfict revealed that the Steelers, which have one of the NFL’s top offenses in real life as well as in the video game, is his team of choice, tweet a screen cap this week of his Steelers team up 29-0 in the second quarter in a game against the Denver Broncos:
This year, Burfict was involved in a collision with Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell that ended Bell’s season with a knee injury, drove Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to the ground, severely injuring his throwing shoulder and knocking receiver Antonio Brown out cold, an act that led to a three-game suspension to open the 2016 season. He was fined nearly $70,000 for just one game’s worth of violations against the Steelers in December.
While Burfict may despise the Steelers when it comes to actually playing football, even he is not above selecting the team as his go-to in the world of Madden. So, at least there is some level of love, if not respect, between Burfict and his on-field nemeses.