Ernie Stautner started what would become the Steel Curtain. No, he wasn’t one of the original members, but he was the first player to come to Pittsburgh and dominate on the defensive side of the ball.
10 All-Pro selections and nine Pro Bowls are what reigns upon his résumé. Despite being undersized throughout his career, nothing more than 6-foot-1, 225 pounds, Stautner was one of the best defensive tackles of his era.
The face of the Steelers’ bruising defense, Stautner was a cornerstone for all the defensive success to come to Pittsburgh from there on out.
Stautner’s career as a player ended as one of the best. But after life on the field, he turned to coaching, where he became a two-time World Bowl Champion with the Frankfurt Galaxy in NFL Europe, and award-winning leader for 34 years. But no matter how his legacy is remembered, it will always include being the face of one of the greatest defenses to touch a field.