The Pittsburgh Steelers have a long and rich history and since 1970, they have won more games than any other team. Throughout that history, many players have been identified by their numbers, like Mean Joe Green and #75, Terry Bradshaw and #12, Jack Lambert and #58 and Hines Ward with his #86. All of these guys have played critical roles in helping theSteelers win Super Bowl titles, but there are a lot of other jersey numbers that helped make the Steelers what they are today, the greatest franchise in NFL history. So without further adieu, here are some of the players, throughout franchise history, who have put on a Steelers jersey, starting with jersey numbers 00 through 9.
Johnny Clement played in 26 games for the Steelers between 1946 and 1948. In his three seasons with the Steelers, Clement was a multi-threat with the ball gaining 991 yards on the ground off of 239 carries and scored 7 touchdowns. Through the air, although not very efficient, he completed 86 passes on 228 attempts for 1,630 yards, 11 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. The only other player to wear 0, was Jack collins in 1962.
The Kicker who wore this number is one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history, South African, Gary Anderson. The Steelers signed him as a free agent for the 1982 season after he failed to catch on with the Buffalo Bills, and he went on to become the Steelers all-time leading scorer, with 1,343 points, during his 13 seasons with the team. While wearing the black and Gold, Anderson kicked 309 field goals on 395 attempts with a career long of 55 yards against San Diego on November 25, 1984. His 416 extra points are still a franchise record, as is his 420 extra point attempts.
Dennis Dixon was drafted by the Steelers out of Oregon as an intriguing Quarterback prospect in the mold of Kordell Stewart. Dixon played with the Steelers from 2008 thru 2011 and only saw action in 4 games. Dixon’s lone start was a prime time start against the Baltimore Ravens where he came close to leading the Steelers to a victory. For his career with the Steelers, Dixon was 35 out of 59 for 402 yards and 1 touchdown with 2 interceptions. Other players who have worn number 2 for the Steelers were Brian St. Pierre, Todd Peterson and Sigurd Sandberg.
Jeff Reed was a kicker for the Steelers from 2002 thru 2010. He won his opportunity to kick for the Steelers at a tryout at Heinz Field in conditions that were not the greatest. Aside from regularly nailing clutch field goals in the stadium regarded as the NFL’s toughest, Reed was also known for urinating in parking lots and ripping towel dispensers off of Sheetz bathroom walls. For his Steelers career, he is second all-time with 919 points and kicked 204 field goals on 249 attempts and 307 extra points. His career long was a 53 yarder, twice, once at Cincinnati in 2010 and one at Philadelphia in 2008. Other players who have wore number 3 for the Steelers were Brian Hoyer, Rohn Stark and Bill Dudley
Byron “Lefty” Leftwich was a reliable backup Quarterback for the Steelers in 2008 and again from 2010 thru 2012. He had a big arm with a long windup, who led the team to some critical victories during his stay. In the 8 games that Byron played for the Steelers, he completed 51 passes in 96 attempts for 2 touchdown passes and 1 interception. He was around for the franchises 6th Super Bowl champioship and for the trip to Super Bowl XLV. Other players who have worn number 4 for the Steelers include Josh Miller, Dan Stryzinski and Mel Pittman.
Craig Colquitt was a punter out of the University of Tennennsee who had a big leg and was a solid directional punter. Over his 7 years with the Steelers, Colquitt averaged 41.3 yards per punt on 429 of them for 17,734 yards. Perhaps the most notible ability he had was how quickly he got his punts off. In his time with the Steelers, he only had two punts blocked. Colquitt was a defenses best friend because of his penchant for flipping field position giving the Steeler defense more field to defend. Other players who have worn number 5 for the Steelers are Terry Hanratty and David Trout.
Walter Andrew “Bubby” Brister was another strong armed Louisiana Quarterback that the Steelers hoped would lead them back to the Super Bowl. At time he showed flashes that gave hope, but overall he was just another in the long line of failed Quarterbacks that finally led to Ben Roethlisberger. Bubby did play with passion and had a gunslinger’s mentality, but all he could muster was a record of 28-29. He threw for 10,104 yards on 776 completions in 1,477 attempts. He threw 51 touchdown passes but had 57 interceptions, which always seemed to come at the most critical point of games. He did provide some memorable moments but he never really had the weapons needed to be successful. Other players who have worn number 6 for the Steelers are current kicker Shaun Suisham, Jim Elliot and Chester Johnson.
Ben Roethlisberger came to the Steelers with high expectations, from the best Quarterback class since 1983, and it did not take long for Big Ben to deliver. Ben went undefeated in his rookie year and took the Steelers to the AFC Championship game. After a loss to the patriots, Ben promised Jerome Bettis that if he came back for one more year, he’d send the bus out a Super Bowl Champion. In just his second year, Ben delivered on that promise and brought home the Steelers 5th Lombardi Trophy. After the 2008 season, Ben led the Steelers past the Arizona Cardinals for the Steelers 6th Super Bowl Title. In Big Ben’s 11 year career he has a record of 105-52. He has thrown for 39,057 yards with 3,157 completions on 4,954 attempts. He has thrown 251 touchdowns against only 131 interceptions and owns just about every team passing record. For his career to date, Ben has 36 games with 300+ yards, 7 games with 400+ yards, and 2 gamess with 500+ yards. Not bad for a guy who was a wide receiver until his senior year of high school. Other players who have worn number 7 for the Steelers are Pete Gonzalez, Reggie Collier and politician Jack Kemp.
Tommy Maddox was the last starting Quarterback before the Ben roethlisberger era began, who arrived in Pittsburgh by way of the now defunct XFL. Maddox is one of the few Quarterbacks in team history who has more touchdown passes than interceptions, 42-40 and had the most yards passing in a game, 473, prior to Ben’s arrival. Tommy Gun’s starting record was only 15-16-1, and one game that particularly stands out was him single handidly losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Tommy Gun did provide some exciting moments, most notably, the comeback win in the playoffs against the Cleveland Browns, in which Maddox had a huge second half. Other Steelers players who have worn number 8 are Everett Fisher and Joseph Yurcic.
Matt Bahr was a kicker out of Penn State who only kicked with the Steelers for two seasons, but in those two seasons, he won two Super Bowl rings. In his two years, he kicked 37 field goals on 58 attemps and totaled 200 points. He didn’t have the strongest leg or best accuracy (barely over 60%), but this guy was able to ride the coattails of the best teams in NFL history to get his two Super Bowl rings. Adam sandler’s “Lonesome Kicker” might be based on Matt Bahr. Other Steelers players who have worn number 9 are Norm Johnson, Daniel Sepulveda and George Kiick.
The next installment of All-Time Steelers By The Jersey Numbers will cover numbers 10 thru 19. The fun part about doing this is the memories of some of the players it brings back and some of the games they played in and it really makes you appreciate the history and tradition of the Steelers as well.