The Pittsburgh Steelers are a professional American football team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers compete in the National Football League (NFL), as a member club of the league’s American Football Conference (AFC) 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 to never win a league championship, the Steelers of the post-merger (modern) era are one of the most successful NFL franchises. Pittsburgh has won more Super Bowl titles (6) and hosted more conference championship games (11) than any other NFL team. The Steelers have won 8 AFC championships, tied with the Denver Broncos, but behind the New England Patriots record 9 AFC championships. They share the record for most conference championship games played in with the San Francisco 49ers (15). The Steelers share the record for second most Super Bowl appearances with the Broncos, and Dallas Cowboys (8), but again behind by the Patriots (9). The Steelers lost their most recent championship appearance, Super Bowl XLV, on February 6, 2011.
The Steelers were founded as the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 8, 1933, by Art Rooney, 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.
Prior to the 2007 season, the Steelers introduced Steely McBeam as their official mascot. As part of the 75th anniversary celebrations of the team, his name was selected from a pool of 70,000 suggestions submitted by fans of the team. Diane Roles of Middlesex Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania submitted the winning name which was “meant to represent steel for Pittsburgh’s industrial heritage, “Mc” for the Rooney family’s Irish roots, and Beam for the steel beams produced in Pittsburgh, as well as for Jim Beam, her husband’s favorite alcoholic beverage.” Steely McBeam is visible at all home games and participates in the team’s charitable programs and other club-sponsored events. Steely’s autograph is known to be drawn with an oversized ‘S’ and the “L” is drawn to look like a beam of steel.