Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Team Rankings [Print without images]

Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: September 7, 12:00 PM ET
No. 12: Pittsburgh Steelers

By Scott T. Miller
ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 7
Title track: 7
Ownership: 4
Coaching: 9
Players: 7
Fan relations: 33
Affordability: 39
Stadium experience: 30
Bang for the buck: 15

It's fitting that the Steelers are ranked No. 12. They've won 12 regular-season games in three of the last four years. No other team in the NFL has done that. Their wacky overtime playoff loss to the Broncos last season notwithstanding, Steel-Town is primed for another championship run. The defense is older, sure, but call James Harrison, Troy Polamalu and LaMarr Woodley old and they might just remind you they led the league in points per game allowed and total defense last season. That D is a big reason Pittsburgh's players rank in the top 12 in sports for the second consecutive year. Provided Ben Roethlisberger can stay healthy -- he's played all 16 games only once in eight seasons -- there's not much stopping them from winning another Super Bowl. That'd make it seven Lombardi Trophies for the Rooney family, the owner of the Steelers, who have become a model for how to run a franchise. In the 10 years we've been doing the standings, the Rooneys have never been outside the top 15 of our ownership rankings.