Fewer NFL teams have a history as rich and successful as the Pittsburgh Steelers. Placing a futures bet on the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 1970’s was almost like printing money – the team won seven division championships, four AFC title games, and all four of the Super Bowls they appeared in. A bet on the Pittsburgh Steelers during the regular season wouldn’t have hurt, either – the team sported a .691 winning percentage that decade, and that was after going a combined 11-17 in 1970 & 1971.
Oddly enough, up until that point, the Pittsburgh Steelers odds of ever becoming a historic franchise was extremely low. Originally dubbed the Pirates, the franchise won a single division title in its thirty-six years of existence up until the aforementioned decade. At that point, however, everything changed.
Ownership brought in a young coach named Chuck Noll, and suddenly the team started drafting well. It selected two future HOFers in the first round of the 1969 and 1970 drafts, in “Mean” Joe Green and QB Terry Bradshaw, respectively. The 1970 draft also yielded future HOF CB Mel Blount. HOF LB Jack Ham was taken in the second round in 1971. HOF RB Franco Harris was taken thirteenth overall in 1972.
But it wasn’t until 1974 that the franchise truly changed course.
Despite winning the Super Bowl that year (Pittsburgh Steelers odds on that game – three-point favorites, which they would cover), the Steelers somehow ended up with four future Hall-of-Famers in their legendary 1974 draft. WR Lynn Swann at 21st overall. LB Jack Lambert in the second round. WR John Stallworth in the third. And C Mike Webster in the fifth. Out of the five future Hall-of-Famers selected in that draft, the Steelers chose four of them (the one exception was Oakland TE Dave Casper, selected one pick before Lambert).
The fact that the Steelers wouldn’t draft another future Hall-of-Famer until 1987 (Rod Woodson) was irrelevant. The foundation was set, the title pedigree had been won… and the rest is history.
The Pittsburgh Steelers odds of sustaining that level of dominance was low, however, and sure enough the team struggled to find success during the 80’s. A bet on the Pittsburgh Steelers division hopes would’ve proven mostly fruitless - the team won only two division titles that decade, during the twilight years of the 1970s title-winning teams. Noll would coach the team until 1991, when he decided to call it quits on 23 years of coaching.
That type of stability and longevity has long been a staple of Pittsburgh Steelers football. The team has kept the same logo since 1962. Its unique helmet, with the logo being displayed on only the right side, has been in use since the year after. Their basic uniform design – using the same black and gold that all Pittsburgh professional sports teams use – was introduced in 1968. Only subtle tweaking to the typography of the names and numbers have been made since.
Perhaps, then it makes sense for the Steelers to have employed only three head coaches in the past fifty-one years. After Noll stepped down, the Steelers hired Bill Cowher, who immediately coached the team to a division title in 1992. This began a new period where it was profitable to bet on the Pittsburgh Steelers. After finishing second in the then-AFC Central, the Steelers ran off four consecutive division titles between 1994-1997, the pinnacle of which was a trip to Super Bowl XXX, where they were 14-point underdogs to the Dallas Cowboys. While Dallas failed to cover, the Pittsburgh Steelers odds were long indeed, and they succumbed by a 27-17 score.
After that, the team reeled off a run of good-but-not-great teams. They endured the first three-year playoff drought of Cowher’s career, then won three division titles in the next four years. Kordell Stewart, perhaps the predecessor to today’s multi-threat QBs, led the team to a 13-3 record in 2001, but the team was beaten in the AFC title game by the New England Patriots. A bet on the Pittsburgh Steelers, 10-point favorites in that game, would’ve resulted in some bitter feelings afterwards.
The Steelers finished 6-10 in 2003, enabling them to draft QB Ben Roethlisberger with the 11th overall pick in the 2004 draft. That season Roethlisberger would sub for an injured Tommy Maddox in a Week 2 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. With Roethlisberger at the helm, a bet on the Pittsburgh Steelers during every regular season game would’ve proven fruitful, as that would be the only game the Steelers would lose until the AFC title game. The Pittsburgh Steelers odds in that game, despite being the home team, was +3, and sure enough they would drop a 41-27 decision to the favored Patriots.
That would usher in a second decade of greatness for the Steelers, albeit not as dominant as the first. Led by new head coach Mike Tomlin, many a bet on the Pittsburgh Steelers would’ve yielded fruitful results, as the team reached three of the next six Super Bowls, winning two of them. With the thrilling Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Arizona Cardinals, the Steelers became the first franchise to win six Super Bowl trophies.
Since then, the Pittsburgh Steelers odds of success each season have been high. Some would argue that Tomlin’s teams underachieved during the 2010’s. A vaunted offense would only reach the AFC title game once during the decade, losing in 2016 once again to the Brady-led Patriots. The team opens the 2020s looking to capitalize on Roethlisberger’s short window, before it will needs to find another signal caller to lead them.