´ Steel Curtain Rising: Retrospective on The Steelers 1989 Season – An Introduction

Who gets the game ball for the win over the Colts?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Retrospective on The Steelers 1989 Season – An Introduction

As regular readers know, Steel Curtain Rising is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Steelers 1989 season.

Our first article detailing the Steelers 1989 draft ran in July. We followed in August, with another article which provided the backdrop to the 1989 season.

Judging by the number of Google hits and the number of reader comments, this is going to be a popular series, and Steel Curtain Rising is excited to bring it to you.

Why the 1989 Season?

Steelers Nation is fortunate to follow a team with a very simple definition of success: Did Pittsburgh win a Super Bowl? Yes = a successful season. No = No.

Given that, might be odd to celebrate a season that ended with a loss in the divisional playoffs?

Perhaps so.

Much about that the Steelers 1989 season defied normal. After all:

  • The 1989 draft class made a tremendous impact...

...only to fade quickly in later seasons, save for a few gems.

  • Opposing teams out gained the 1989 Steelers for 10 straight weeks...

...yet the Steelers went 4-5 during that stretch.

  • The Steelers offense was shut out 3 times during the season...

...on three other occasions, the Steelers offense brought the team from behind.

  • They started out losing to the Browns and Bengals by a score of 92-10...

...those same Steelers finished a dropped pass away from the AFC Championship game

An Incredible Story

How were they able to do it? No one knows for sure, but look deeper and you’ll see a story of men, players and coaches who believed in one another and believed in themselves, and who always refused to say "Quit."

Ultimately, it is a testament to the coaching genius of the Emperor, one Charles Henry Noll.

That’s an incredible story. And one that does not always get its due. When Noll retired in 1991, if memory serves, only one Pittsburgh columnist (Gene Collier I think) gave 1989 season significant attention.

The brief bio on Chuck Noll that followed the NFL Films 1992 Steelers highlight film only devoted a sentence to the 1989 season.

And, if memory serves, the Post-Gazette’s Steelers 75 Year Anniversary series didn’t do a full-length article on it either.

Steel Curtain Rising is Happy to Fill the Void

On the Thursday of each week, Steel Curtain Rising will post an article telling the story of the game that was played on that day 20 years ago. (This week we’ll run the article on Wednesday, in deference to the Steelers home opener.)

Player profiles and other goodies will come as time allows.

Along the way you’ll be able to follow the entire series by clicking on the Steelers 1989 season tag. And of course, Steel Curtain Rising invites you to share your memories and insights from that season.

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