Steelers have a long history of winning defensive player of the year awards

T.J. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
T.J. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /
4 of 8
Linebacker Jack Lambert #58 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /

Jack Lambert, LB

Perhaps if Joe Greene was the heart and soul of the Steelers defense in the 1970s, maybe then Jack Lambert, to borrow a hockey term, was the enforcer. His goal was to intimidate anyone offensive player who dared step on the field.

A case in point Superbowl X when Cliff Harris taunted Roy Gerela after missing a 3rd quarter field goal attempt, Jack Lambert, having seen that, grabbed Cliff Harris through him to the ground. If the Cowboys thought they could intimidate the Steelers, Jack Lambert sent a clear message, don’t try! It fired up the rest of the Steelers, and they scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter edging the Cowboys for a 21-17 win.

Then in 1976, the Steelers, despite a poor start to the season having lost four of its first five games, Jack Lambert mused in the locker room afterward he asked what in the h**l is going on. Whatever it was, the Steelers defense figured out. They won their last nine games and only allowed 28 points and five shutouts in that span.

Jack Lambert led the charge as well. Over the season, he had two interceptions for 32 yards and led the league with eight fumble recoveries, and won the coveted Defensive Player of the Year award. In conjunction with the award, he has four Superbowl rings, nine Pro-Bowl appearances, was a six-time all-pro, and was the 1974 defensive rookie of the year.