5 of the most unbreakable records in Pittsburgh Steelers history

It seems far fetched that any player tops these Steelers records
Steelers Mel Blount
Steelers Mel Blount / George Gojkovich/GettyImages

NFL records are made to be broken, and for a team as long-standing as the Steelers, the franchise has numerous streaks that seem daunting. As the game changes and evolves with more and more opportunities to play, some of the current placeholders will likely fall.

Take Ben Roethlisberger, for example. He leads the Steelers in seemingly every passing record, and while his numbers will be safe for a long time, once the next franchise quarterback is found, all bets are off. Those records could fall quickly as well given the focus of the passing game and the likely continued increase in games played.

That said, there are some records that look extremely safe as of right now, and it would take a generational player or stretch of play to better them. Here are five unbreakable Steelers records that should stand the test of time.

Most unbreakable records in Steelers history

1. Antonio Brown’s 1,834 single season receiving yards for Steelers

Of the five records, this is the one with the best odds of being broken at some point. As stated before, the NFL is dominated by the passing game, so receiving stats should continue to get more and more gaudy. Numbers can also be fluky, as is the case with so many one-hit wonders at the position.

Antonio Brown registering 1,834 receiving yards will be a hard one to top though. He was close to breaking the all-time record, set by Calvin Johnson, but his top-five showing should stand for the immediate future.

It was a perfect storm for Brown to get to this mark. He was on an unprecedented streak at that time, registering constant games with over five catches, and as any fan remembers, he was dynamic with the ball in his hands. That season also saw him play with a Hall of Fame quarterback on an offense that ran through him (Le’Veon Bell was injured for most of that year).

Frankly, that number should have been even higher and likely record-shattering, but Roethlisberger was injured for a good chunk of that year which slowed down Brown. It would take the Steelers finding both their next franchise quarterback as well as an elite receiver to crack this mark though, and I can’t see that happening in the near future.

2. Mike Tomlin’s non-losing Steelers record

This has become a double-edged sword for the Steelers, but so far during Mike Tomlin’s 17-year tenure as head coach of the Steelers, this team has never had a record below .500. That is a testament to his consistency as a coach as well as his ability to overcome when things get challenging. This record has certainly looked at risk at times, but Tomlin has coached his team through it.

On the other side of things, this mantra has become a crutch for the team in recent years. Despite lacking playoff success and Super Bowl wins, fans are quick to defend him with this point. Sure, that is an impressive feat given the ebbs and flows a franchise will take over multiple seasons, but the Steelers have seemingly made decisions based on preserving this record (conservative offensive schemes post-Roethlisberger).

This record is still being added to, and unless the wheels fall off this season, it will likely continue. If/when it ends, it seems more than likely that no coach will ever come close to that record, let alone another Steelers coach achieve that kind of success.

3. Antonio Brown’s 86.2 receiving yards per game for Steelers

Let’s dip back into the Brown well. A lesser-known stat, and one that is rarely tossed around, is receiving yards per game. Brown finished his Steelers career averaging 86.2 yards per game. While his total number comes in slightly lower (84.2 yards per game across his entire career), it is still good for third all-time. If you just counted his totals in Pittsburgh, he would be second on this list, above Calvin Johnson and behind Justin Jefferson.

While the majority of the top 25 are still active NFL players, there are ten retired players who crack that list. Of those ten, eight of them are Hall of Famers (Sterling Sharpe and Torry Holt are the lone exceptions). This is a further testament to just how special Brown was in his prime.

I find it hard to believe that another Steelers receiver will beat either of those numbers, as Brown ranks among the NFL elite still despite being retired. It is hard to have that kind of consistency as a receiver with so many other factors in play. Brown benefited from a great quarterback in his own right, but he was one-of-a-kind as a player.

It wouldn’t just take another elite receiver to put this record at risk, as you will need competent quarterback play as well. Even then, unless you find a connection that is truly special, Brown should be able to hang onto this record given the lack of other names that come even close to that number.

4. Franco Harris’s 11,950 rushing yards for Steelers

The NFL used to be a much simpler game, as offenses were built around the ground game, and scoring in general was rare. The game is much different now, and while a team like the Steelers will remain built more traditionally, it still seems far-fetched that anyone will ever surpass Franco Harris’s career rushing record of 11,950 yards.

The only name remotely close was Jerome Bettis, but he once again benefited from a more run-heavy system. The modern NFL backfield features two or more running backs that rotate in on a regular basis. This has allowed for more dynamic backfields, but also fewer individual stats for players.

Even when the Steelers took Najee Harris in the first round, a perceived bell-cow back, once they found a valid compliment in him, he split carries. While Harris will likely end up in the top ten for the Steelers this season, he isn’t close to sniffing Harris’s record. Given his contract situation, he could very well be in his final season with the team on top of this.

Running back shelf lives are also shorter now as well. It isn’t uncommon to see regression after a few years on top, and very few running backs play out their second contracts in their entirety. Unless the Steelers find a generational talent that can defy those trends or said player has an extraordinary stretch of play, Harris’s rushing record will likely stand the test of time.

5. Mel Blount’s 57 interceptions for the Steelers

A trend from this list, the NFL has geared itself towards the passing game. Another result of this is interceptions are overall down. While every year there will be a few standout players in that category, it is rare to find a consistent double-digit turnover machine anymore.

This makes Mel Blount’s 57 career interceptions seem like a safe number. Rod Woodson eventually blew past that number for his career, but even he couldn’t top this number when he was in Pittsburgh. The only Steelers player from 2000 and on in the top ten is Troy Polamalu.

This isn’t just a team-specific issue either. The current league leader in interceptions is Harrison Smith with 34, and it has taken him a dozen seasons to get to that mark. Interceptions are a flukey stat in general, and while a good defensive back is expected to nab a few a season, expecting high numbers there every season is unrealistic.

Next. Odds of Steelers trading for this star receiver are falling apart. Odds of Steelers trading for this star receiver are falling apart. dark

Current Steelers leader Minkah Fitzpatrick would need 30 more during his time with the team in order to match that number. Over a 12-season career, a player would need to average 4.75 interceptions per season to match that number. Long story short, don’t expect to see this record, or any of these other five, be topped for the Steelers anytime soon.