Those that don't obsess over sports history as I do may not realize how bad the Steelers really were. They were the joke of the NFL. Not a joke like the Cardinals, Bengals or even Chicago Cubs, more like the Washington Generals. In 1972 the Steelers, coming off a 6-8 season, went 11-3 to make their second ever trip to the post-season, in their 38th year. That '72 season marked a stark turning point for the franchise, beginning a run of 8 straight playoff seasons, including 4 Super Bowl wins. Before '72, they had 7 winning seasons out of 37.
Take a look at the numbers for the Steelers before that '72 turnaround and since. Is there any team in professional sports that can come close to such a sustained string of success following such a miserable start?
Conclusion - If you ever meet someone that was a Steelers' fan before 1972, you have met a true football fan.