5 biggest Steelers fan favorites of the last 20 years

  • A player unlike any other at his position
  • One player went from 'love' to 'loathe'
Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers
Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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4. Antonio Brown

Before Antonio Brown sabotaged his career with a laundry list of incidents, he was once the most popular player on the team. Brown had a terrific backstory as a former sixth-round pick who fought tooth and nail to work his way up the ladder and develop into the All-Pro player that he was in his prime.

It wasn't an easy journey. When Brown was drafted in 2010, the Steelers were already loaded at wide receiver with Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, and Antwaan Randle El. They also selected Emmanuel Sanders in the third round of the same draft, and more opportunities were given to him early on.

Eventually, the natural football ability of Brown won out, and as he climbed the wide receiver rankings in the NFL, Brown quickly emerged as a fan favorite on the Steelers. Despite his undersized frame and pedestrian athletic testing numbers, Brown proved to excel at just about everything he did. He became one of the best route-runners of his generation while showing outstanding hands, innate sideline ability, and impressive skills as a punt returner.

Sadly, this fandom didn't last. Since forcing his way out of Pittsburgh, Brown's reputation has plummeted as he has become one of the least-likable figures in sports. Still, during his playing days, it's hard to argue that AB wasn't one of the very biggest fan favorites on the team for the better part of a decade.