Lineman (gridiron football)
In gridiron football, a lineman is a player who specializes in play at the line of scrimmage. The linemen of the team in possession of the ball are the offensive line, while linemen on the opposing team are the defensive line. A number of NFL rules address restrictions and requirements for the offensive line, whose job is to help protect the quarterback from getting sacked for a loss, or worse, fumbling; the defensive line is covered by the same rules. Linemen are the largest players on the field in both height and weight, since their positions require less running and more strength than skill positions; the offensive line consists of the center, responsible for snapping the ball into play, two guards who flank the center, two offensive tackles who flank the guards. In addition, a full offensive line may include a tight end outside one or both of the tackles. An offensive lineman's motion during a play is limited to just a few quick steps to establish position, followed by a wrestling match similar to sumo.
Offensive linemen thus tend to be the largest players on the field, with excellent agility and balance but limited straight-line running speed. On some running plays, an offensive lineman will pull by backing out of his initial position and running behind the other offensive linemen to engage a defensive player beyond the initial width of the offensive line; when an offensive lineman knocks a player down on a block, leaving the defensive player lying flat on his back, it is known as a pancake block. When an offensive line has an equal number of men on either side of the center, it is known as a balanced line; the interior offensive line guards. Offensive linemen are not eligible to catch forward passes, are not allowed to advance more than 2 yards past the line of scrimmage at the time a pass is thrown, whether they are engaged with a defensive player or not. However, ends are eligible to catch passes. On running plays, the primary job of the offensive line is to create space for the ball carrier to run, either by pushing all defensive players backwards past the line of scrimmage, or by pushing defensive players to the side to allow the ball carrier to run past them.
On passing plays, the offensive line is responsible for stopping defensive players from tackling the quarterback before he has thrown the ball. Stopping these players indefinitely is not possible, so the main objective of the offensive line is to slow them down, providing the quarterback with several seconds to identify an open receiver and throw the ball; the defensive line consists of one or two defensive tackles and two defensive ends who play outside the defensive tackles. The defensive line works with the linebackers to try to control the line of scrimmage; the 4-3 defensive formation, most used in the NFL, employs two defensive tackles, while the 3-4 formation uses just a single defensive tackle, called the nose tackle. However, defensive ends in a typical 3-4 have responsibilities more similar to a 4-3 defensive tackle than 4-3 defensive ends. On running plays, the goal is to tackle the ball carrier; the defensive line attempts to maintain their original formation, but to prevent any members of the opposing offensive line from engaging the linebackers, who chase down the ball carrier.
The defensive tackles are the most skilled run defenders on the team. On passing plays, the defensive line tries to reach the quarterback. Ideally, the defensive players are able to tackle the quarterback for a loss, but in practice the quarterback will manage to throw the ball before an actual tackle is made. Defensive ends are the most skilled pass rushers on the team. In order to increase the pressure on the quarterback, teams will have players other than the defensive line attempt to tackle the quarterback; because the defense does not know whether the offense is attempting to run a passing play or a running play, they must balance passing and running strategies: running around offensive linemen and avoiding contact may allow faster pressure on a quarterback, but it leaves a hole in the defensive line and frees an offensive lineman to engage a linebacker, enabling a big running play. Defensive linemen defensive ends, are called upon to do more running than offensive linemen, thus they tend to be somewhat lighter and faster
Canadian football is a sport played in Canada in which two teams of 12 players each compete for territorial control of a field of play 110 yards long and 65 yards wide attempting to advance a pointed oval-shaped ball into the opposing team's scoring area. In Canada, the term "football" may refer to Canadian football and American football collectively, or to either sport depending on context; the two sports have shared origins and are related but have some key differences. Rugby football in Canada originated in the early 1860s, over time, the game known as Canadian football developed. Both the Canadian Football League, the sport's top professional league, Football Canada, the governing body for amateur play, trace their roots to 1880 and the founding of the Canadian Rugby Football Union; the CFL is the most only major professional Canadian football league. Its championship game, the Grey Cup, is one of Canada's largest sporting events, attracting a broad television audience. In 2009, about 40% of Canada's population watched part of the game.
Canadian football is played at the bantam, high school, junior and semi-professional levels: the Canadian Junior Football League, formed May 8, 1974, Quebec Junior Football League are leagues for players aged 18–22, many post-secondary institutions compete in U Sports football for the Vanier Cup, senior leagues such as the Alberta Football League have grown in popularity in recent years. Great achievements in Canadian football are enshrined in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame located in Hamilton, Ontario. Other organizations across Canada perform senior league Canadian football during the summer; the first documented football match was a practice game played on November 9, 1861, at University College, University of Toronto. One of the participants in the game involving University of Toronto students was Sir William Mulock Chancellor of the school. A football club was formed at the university soon afterward, although its rules of play at this stage are unclear; the first written account of a game played was on October 1862, on the Montreal Cricket Grounds.
It was between the First Battalion Grenadier Guards and the Second Battalion Scots Fusilier Guards resulting in a win by the Grenadier Guards 3 goals, 2 rouges to nothing. In 1864, at Trinity College, Toronto, F. Barlow Cumberland, Frederick A. Bethune, Christopher Gwynn, one of the founders of Milton, devised rules based on rugby football; the game gained a following, with the Hamilton Football Club formed on November 3, 1869, Montreal formed a team April 8, 1872, Toronto was formed on October 4, 1873, the Ottawa FBC on September 20, 1876. This rugby-football soon became popular at Montreal's McGill University. McGill challenged Harvard University to a game, in 1874 using a hybrid game of English rugby devised by the University of McGill; the first attempt to establish a proper governing body and adopted the current set of Rugby rules was the Foot Ball Association of Canada, organized on March 24, 1873 followed by the Canadian Rugby Football Union founded June 12, 1880, which included teams from Ontario and Quebec.
Both the Ontario and Quebec Rugby Football Union were formed, the Interprovincial and Western Interprovincial Football Union. The CRFU reorganized into an umbrella organization forming the Canadian Rugby Union in 1891; the original forerunners to the current Canadian Football League, was established in 1956 when the IRFU and WIFU formed an umbrella organization, The Canadian Football Council. In 1958 the CFC left the CRFU to become the CFL; the Burnside rules resembling American football that were incorporated in 1903 by the ORFU, was an effort to distinguish it from a more rugby-oriented game. The Burnside Rules had teams reduced to 12 men per side, introduced the Snap-Back system, required the offensive team to gain 10 yards on three downs, eliminated the Throw-In from the sidelines, allowed only six men on the line, stated that all goals by kicking were to be worth two points and the opposition was to line up 10 yards from the defenders on all kicks; the rules were an attempt to standardize the rules throughout the country.
The CIRFU, QRFU and CRU refused to adopt the new rules at first. Forward passes were not allowed in the Canadian game until 1929, touchdowns, five points, were increased to six points in 1956, in both cases several decades after the Americans had adopted the same changes; the primary differences between the Canadian and American games stem from rule changes that the American side of the border adopted but the Canadian side did not. The Canadian field width was one rule, not based on American rules, as the Canadian game was played in wider fields and stadiums that were not as narrow as the American stadiums; the Grey Cup was established in 1909 after being donated by Albert Grey, 4th Earl Grey, The Governor General of Canada as the championship of teams under the CRU for the Rugby Football Championship of Canada. An amateur competition, it became dominated by professional teams in the 1940s and early 1950s; the Ontario Rugby Football Union, the last amateur organization to compete for the trophy
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers are a professional American football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers compete in the National Football League as a member club of the league's National Football Conference North division, it is the third-oldest franchise in the NFL, dating back to 1919, is the only non-profit, community-owned major league professional sports team based in the United States. Home games have been played at Lambeau Field since 1957; the Packers are the last of the "small town teams" which were common in the NFL during the league's early days of the 1920s and'30s. Founded in 1919 by Earl "Curly" Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun, the franchise traces its lineage to other semi-professional teams in Green Bay dating back to 1896. Between 1919 and 1920, the Packers competed against other semi-pro clubs from around Wisconsin and the Midwest, before joining the American Professional Football Association, the forerunner of today's NFL, in 1921. Although Green Bay is by far the smallest major league professional sports market in North America, Forbes ranked the Packers as the world's 26th most valuable sports franchise in 2016, with a value of $2.35 billion.
The Packers have won 13 league championships, the most in NFL history, with nine pre–Super Bowl NFL titles and four Super Bowl victories. The Packers won the first two Super Bowls in 1967 and 1968 and were the only NFL team to defeat the American Football League prior to the AFL–NFL merger; the Vince Lombardi Trophy is named after the Packers' coach of the same name, who guided them to their first two Super Bowls. Their two subsequent Super Bowl wins came in 1996 and 2010; the Packers are long-standing adversaries of the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, who today comprise the NFL's NFC North division, were members of the NFC Central Division. They have played over 100 games against each of those teams through history, have a winning overall record against all of them, a distinction only shared with the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys; the Bears–Packers rivalry is one of the oldest in NFL history, dating back to 1921. The Green Bay Packers were founded on August 11, 1919 by former high-school football rivals Earl "Curly" Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun.
Lambeau solicited funds for uniforms from his employer, the Indian Packing Company. He was given $500 for uniforms and equipment, on the condition that the team be named for its sponsor; the Green Bay Packers have played in their original city longer than any other team in the NFL. On August 27, 1921, the Packers were granted a franchise in the new national pro football league, formed the previous year. Financial troubles plagued the team and the franchise was forfeited within the year before Lambeau found new financial backers and regained the franchise the next year; these backers, known as "The Hungry Five", formed the Green Bay Football Corporation. After a near-miss in 1927, Lambeau's squad claimed the Packers' first NFL title in 1929 with an undefeated 12–0–1 campaign, behind a stifling defense which registered eight shutouts. Green Bay would repeat as league champions in 1930 and 1931, bettering teams from New York and throughout the league, with all-time greats and future Hall of Famers Mike Michalske, Johnny McNally, Cal Hubbard and Green Bay native Arnie Herber.
Among the many impressive accomplishments of these years was the Packers' streak of 29 consecutive home games without defeat, an NFL record which still stands. The arrival of end Don Hutson from Alabama in 1935 gave Lambeau and the Packers the most-feared and dynamic offensive weapon in the game. Credited with inventing pass patterns, Hutson would lead the league in receptions eight seasons and spur the Packers to NFL championships in 1936, 1939 and 1944. An iron man, Hutson played both ways, leading the league in interceptions as a safety in 1940. Hutson claimed 18 NFL records. In 1951, his number 14 was the first to be retired by the Packers, he was inducted as a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963. After Hutson's retirement, Lambeau could not stop the Packers' slide, he purchased a large lodge near Green Bay for team families to live. Rockwood Lodge was the home of the 1946–49 Packers; the 1947 and 1948 seasons produced a record of 12–10–1, 1949 was worse at 3–9. The lodge burned down on January 24, 1950, insurance money paid for many of the Packers' debts.
Curly Lambeau departed after the 1949 season. Gene Ronzani and Lisle Blackbourn could not coach the Packers back to their former magic as a new stadium was unveiled in 1957; the losing would descend to the disastrous 1958 campaign under coach Ray "Scooter" McLean, whose lone 1–10–1 year at the helm is the worst in Packers history. Former New York Giants assistant Vince Lombardi was hired as Packers head coach and general manager on February 2, 1959. Few suspected the hiring represented the beginning of a immediate turnaround. Under Lombardi, the Packers would become the team of the 1960s, winning five World Championships over a seven-year span, including victories in the first two Super Bowls. During the Lombardi era, the stars of the Packers' offense included Bart Starr, Jim Taylor, Carroll Dale, Paul Hornung, Forrest Gregg, Jerry Kramer; the defense included Willie Davis, Henry Jordan, Willie Wood, Ray Nitschke, Dave Robinson, Herb Adderley. The Packers' first regular season game under Lombardi was on September 27, 1959, a 9–6 victory over the Chicago Bears in Green Bay.
After winning their first three, the Packers lost the next five before finishing strong by sweeping their final four. The 7–5 record represented the Packers' first winning season since 1947, enough to earn rookie
End (gridiron football)
An end in American and Canadian football is a player who lines up at either end of the line of scrimmage beside the tackles. Rules state that a legal offensive formation must always consist of seven players on the line of scrimmage and that the player on the end of the line constitutes an eligible receiver. Before the advent of two platoons, in which teams fielded distinct defensive and offensive units, players that lined up on the ends of the line on both offense and defense were referred to as "ends"; the position was used in this sense until the 1960s. On offense, an end who lines up close to the other linemen is known as a tight end and is the only lineman who aside from blocking can run or catch passes. One who lines up some distance from the offensive line is known as a split end. In recent years and the proliferation of the forward pass, the term wide receiver covers both split ends and flankers; the terms “split end” and “flanker” are replaced today with terms like "X" and "Z" receivers.
Bill Carpenter was the first "Lonesome end." On defense, there is a used position called the defensive end. Its primary role is to rush the passer, as well as to stop offensive runs to the outer edges of the line of scrimmage. However, as there are no rules regulating the formation of the defense, players at this position take on and share multiple roles with other positions in different defensive schemes. Don Hutson of the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Green Bay Packers was one of the sport's greatest; the self described "other end" opposite Hutson in college at Alabama was legendary coach Bear Bryant. Gaynell Tinsley was another prominent end of Hutson's time. Amos Alonzo Stagg of Yale and Arthur Cumnock of Harvard were ends on the first All-America team. Stagg went on to a Hall of Fame coaching career. Mike Ditka and Ron Sellers were some of the last to play the position in college. Glossary of American football History of American football positions Tight end Defensive end Wide receiver
Safety (gridiron football position)
Safety known as a safetyman, is a position in American and Canadian football played by a member of the defense. The safeties are defensive backs who line up from ten to fifteen yards in front of the line of scrimmage. There are two variations of the position in a typical American formation: the free safety and the strong safety, their duties depend on the defensive scheme. The defensive responsibilities of the safety and cornerback involve pass coverage towards the middle and sidelines of the field, respectively. While American formations use two safeties, Canadian formations have one safety and two defensive halfbacks, a position not used in the American game; as professional and college football have become more focused on the passing game, safeties have become more involved in covering the eligible pass receivers. Safeties are the last line of defense. Safety positions can be converted cornerbacks, either by design or as a cornerback ages. In the era of the one-platoon system, the safety was known as the defensive fullback or goaltender.
The free safety tends to watch the play unfold and follow the ball as well as be the “defensive quarterback” of the backfield. The free safety is assigned to the quarterback in man coverage, but as the quarterback remains in the pocket, the free safety is "free" to double cover another player. On pass plays, the free safety is expected to assist the cornerback on his side and to close the distance to the receiver by the time the ball reaches him. Offenses tend to use the play-action pass to make the free safety expect a run play, which would draw him closer to the line of scrimmage, reduce his effectiveness as a pass defender. Furthermore, quarterbacks use a technique to "look off" a free safety, by looking away from the intended target receiver's side of the field during a pass play, with the intention to lure the free safety away from that side of the field; this phenomenon tests how effective a free safety's wit and athleticism are at defending long pass plays. If the offense puts a receiver in the slot the free safety may be called upon to cover that receiver.
Free safeties blitz as well. When this happens, the pressure on the quarterback is very severe since a blitz by a defensive back is not anticipated; because of their speed and deep coverage, free safeties are likely to make interceptions. Current examples of free safeties active in the NFL include Earl Thomas III, Eric Weddle, Kurt Coleman, Harrison Smith, Devin McCourty, Tyrann Mathieu, Kevin Byard, Eddie Jackson; the strong safety tends to be stronger than the free safety. However, the word strong is used because he is assigned to cover the "strong side" of the offense, the side on which the tight end, a big, powerful receiver-type player lines up on offensive plays; the strong safety tends to play closer to the line than the free safety does, assists in stopping the run. He may cover a player, such as a running back or fullback or H-back, who comes out of the backfield to receive a pass. A strong safety's duties are a hybrid of those belonging to a linebacker in a 46 or 3–4 defense and those of the other defensive backs, in that he both covers the pass and stops the run.
Strong safeties are not seen in the Canadian game, where the role is filled by the two defensive halfbacks. Current examples of strong safeties active in the NFL include Jordan Poyer, Jamal Adams, Patrick Chung, Landon Collins, Malcolm Jenkins, Harrison Smith, Keanu Neal, Karl Joseph, Eric Berry, Tony Jefferson. PhillyBurbs.com Football 101: The Free Safety
The Oakland Raiders are a professional American football franchise based in Oakland, California. The Raiders compete in the National Football League as a member club of the league's American Football Conference West division. Founded on January 30, 1960, they played their first regular season game on September 11, 1960, as a charter member of the American Football League which merged with the NFL in 1970; the Raiders' off-field fortunes have varied over the years. The team's first three years of operation were marred by poor on-field performance, financial difficulties, spotty attendance. In 1963, the Raiders' fortunes improved with the introduction of head coach Al Davis. In 1967, after several years of improvement, the Raiders reached the postseason for the first time; the team would go on to win its first AFL Championship that year. Since 1963, the team has won 15 division titles, four AFC Championships, one AFL Championship, three Super Bowl Championships. At the end of the NFL's 2018 season, the Raiders boasted a lifetime regular season record of 466 wins, 423 losses, 11 ties.
The team departed Oakland to play in Los Angeles from the 1982 season until the 1994 season before returning to Oakland at the start of the 1995 season. Al Davis owned the team from 1972 until his death in 2011. Control of the franchise was given to Al's son Mark Davis. On March 27, 2017, NFL team owners voted nearly unanimously to approve the Raiders' application to relocate from Oakland to Las Vegas, Nevada, in a 31–1 vote at the annual league meetings in Phoenix, Arizona; the Raiders plan to remain in the Bay Area through 2019, relocate to Las Vegas in 2020, pending the completion of the team's planned new stadium. The Raiders are known for distinctive team culture; the Raiders have 14 former members. They have played at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Frank Youell Field in Oakland, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland; the Oakland Raiders were going to be called the "Oakland Señors" after a name-the-team contest had that name finish first, but after being the target of local jokes, the name was changed to the Raiders before the 1960 season began.
Having enjoyed a successful collegiate coaching career at Navy during the 1950s, San Francisco native Eddie Erdelatz was hired as the Raiders' first head coach. On February 9, 1960, after rejecting offers from the NFL's Washington Redskins and the AFL's Los Angeles Chargers, Erdelatz accepted the Raiders' head coaching position. In January 1960, the Raiders were established in Oakland, because of NFL interference with the original eighth franchise owner, were the last team of eight in the new American Football League to select players, thus relegated to the remaining talent available; the 1960 Raiders 42-man roster included 28 rookies and only 14 veterans. Among the Raiders rookies were future Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee center Jim Otto, a future Raiders head coach, quarterback Tom Flores. In their debut year under Erdelatz the Raiders finished with a 6–8 record. Ownership conflicts prevented the team from signing. On September 18, 1961, Erdelatz was dismissed after the Raiders were outscored 77–46 in the first two games of the season.
On September 24, 1961, after the dismissal of Erdelatz, management named Los Angeles native and offensive line coach Marty Feldman as the Raiders head coach. The team finished the 1961 season with a 2–12 record. Feldman began the 1962 season as Raiders head coach but was fired on October 16, 1962 after an 0–5 start. From October 16 through December, the Raiders were coached by Oklahoma native and former assistant coach Red Conkright. Under Conkright, the Raiders went 1–8, finishing the season with 1–13 record. Following the 1962 season the Raiders appointed Conkright to an interim mentor position as they looked for a new head coach. After the 1962 season, Raiders managing general partner F. Wayne Valley hired Al Davis as Raiders head coach and general manager. At 33, he was the youngest person in professional football history to hold the positions. Davis began to implement what he termed the "vertical game", an aggressive offensive strategy inspired by the offense developed by Chargers head coach Sid Gillman.
Under Davis the Raiders improved to 10–4 and he was named the AFL's Coach of the Year in 1963. Though the team slipped to 5–7–2 in 1964, they rebounded to an 8–5–1 record in 1965; the famous silver and black Raider uniform debuted at the regular season opening game on September 8, 1963. Prior to this, the team wore a combination of black and white with gold trim on the pants and oversized numerals. In April 1966, Davis left the Raiders after being named AFL Commissioner, promoting assistant coach John Rauch to head coach. Two months the league announced its merger with the NFL; the leagues would retain separate regular seasons until 1970. With the merger, the position of commissioner was no longer needed, Davis entered into discussions with Valley about returning to the Raiders. On July 25, 1966, Davis returned as part-owner of the team, he purchased a 10% interest in the team for $18,000, became the team's third general partner — the partner in charge of football operations. Under Rauch, the Raiders matched their 1965 season's 8–5–1 record in 1966 but missed the pl
The Pittsburgh Steelers are a professional American football team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers compete in the National Football League, as a member club of the league's American Football Conference North division. Founded in 1933, the Steelers are the oldest franchise in the AFC. In contrast with their status as perennial also-rans in the pre-merger NFL, where they were the oldest team never to win a league championship, the Steelers of the post-merger era are one of the most successful NFL franchises. Pittsburgh is tied with the New England Patriots for the most Super Bowl titles, has both played in and hosted more conference championship games than any other NFL team; the Steelers have won 8 AFC championships, tied with the Denver Broncos, but behind the Patriots' record 11 AFC championships. The Steelers share the record for second most Super Bowl appearances with the Broncos, Dallas Cowboys; the Steelers lost their most recent championship appearance, Super Bowl XLV, on February 6, 2011.
The Steelers, whose history traces to a regional pro team, established in the early 1920s, joined the NFL as the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 8, 1933, owned by Art Rooney and taking its original name from the baseball team of the same name, as was common practice for NFL teams at the time. To distinguish them from the baseball team, local media took to calling the football team the Rooneymen, an unofficial nickname which persisted for decades after the team adopted its current nickname; the ownership of the Steelers has remained within the Rooney family since its founding. Art's son, Dan Rooney owned the team from 1988 until his death in 2017. Much control of the franchise has been given to Dan's son Art Rooney II; the Steelers enjoy a widespread fanbase nicknamed Steeler Nation. The Steelers play their home games at Heinz Field on Pittsburgh's North Side in the North Shore neighborhood, which hosts the University of Pittsburgh Panthers. Built in 2001, the stadium replaced Three Rivers Stadium.
Prior to Three Rivers, the Steelers had played their games in Forbes Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL first took to the field as the Pittsburgh Pirates on September 20, 1933, losing 23–2 to the New York Giants. Through the 1930s, the Pirates never finished higher than second place in their division, or with a record better than.500. Pittsburgh did make history in 1938 by signing Byron White, a future Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, to what was at the time the biggest contract in NFL history, but he played only one year with the Pirates before signing with the Detroit Lions. Prior to the 1940 season, the Pirates renamed themselves the Steelers. During World War II, the Steelers experienced player shortages, they twice merged with other NFL franchises to field a team. During the 1943 season, they merged with the Philadelphia Eagles forming the "Phil-Pitt Eagles" and were known as the "Steagles"; this team went 5–4–1. In 1944, they were known as Card-Pitt; this team finished 0–10, marking the only winless team in franchise history.
The Steelers made the playoffs for the first time in 1947, tying for first place in the division at 8–4 with the Philadelphia Eagles. This forced a tie-breaking playoff game at Forbes Field, which the Steelers lost 21–0; that would be Pittsburgh's only playoff game for the next 25 years. In 1970, the year they moved into Three Rivers Stadium and the year of the AFL–NFL merger, the Pittsburgh Steelers were one of three old-guard NFL teams to switch to the newly formed American Football Conference, in order to equalize the number of teams in the two conferences of the newly merged league; the Steelers received a $3 million relocation fee, a windfall for them. The Steelers' history of bad luck changed with the hiring of coach Chuck Noll for the 1969 season. Noll's most remarkable talent was in his draft selections, taking Hall of Famers "Mean" Joe Greene in 1969, Terry Bradshaw and Mel Blount in 1970, Jack Ham in 1971, Franco Harris in 1972, in 1974, pulling off the incredible feat of selecting four Hall of Famers in one draft year, Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth, Mike Webster.
The Pittsburgh Steelers' 1974 draft was their best ever. The players drafted in the early 1970s formed the base of an NFL dynasty, making the playoffs in eight seasons and becoming the only team in NFL history to win four Super Bowls in six years, as well as the first to win more than two, they enjoyed a regular season streak of 49 consecutive wins against teams that would finish with a losing record that year. The Steelers suffered a rash of injuries in the 1980 season and missed the playoffs with a 9–7 record; the 1981 season was no better, with an 8–8 showing. The team was hit with the retirements of all their key players from the Super Bowl years. "Mean" Joe Greene retired after the 1981 season, Lynn Swann and Jack Ham after 1982's playoff berth, Terry Bradshaw and Mel Blount after 1983's divisional championship, Jack Lambert after 1984's AFC Championship Game appearance. After those retirements, the franchise skidded to its first losing seasons since 1971. Though still competitive, the Steelers would not finish above.500 in 1985, 1986, 1988.
In 1987, the year