Definition of Steel Curtain

What does the term "Steel Curtain" mean in the world of football and the NFL? What is meant by the "Steel Curtain"?

The meaning of the American football term Steel Curtain is explained by the King of Sports.The term "Steel Curtain" refers to the dominant defensive line of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers were one of the NFL's greatest dynasties, as they won four Super Bowls (IX, X, XIII and XIV) over the course of six years.

The "Steel Curtain" included some of the NFL's greatest defensive players of all time, including "Mean" Joe Greene (Hall of Famer) and L.C. Greenwood (6-time Pro Bowler).

The "Steel Curtain" put on their greatest performance during the 1976 season, as the team was looking to win three Super Bowls in a row.

The team started the season 1-4 and lost their starting quarterback, Terry Bradshaw, to an injury in Week 5.

The "Steel Curtain" turned it on after this, allowing an unbelievably small amount of points for the rest of the regular season. Here were the results of the Steelers' games from Week 6 on in 1976:

23-6 Win
27-0 Win
23-0 Win
45-0 Win
14-3 Win
32-16 Win
7-3 Win
42-0 Win
21-0 Win

That's five shutouts, including three straight shutouts.

While the Steelers would lose the Conference Championship game to the Raiders in 1976, the defensive performance during the regular season was likely the greatest of all time, and highlighted the amazing defense that the 1970s Steelers possessed.


The nickname "Steel Curtain" came as a result of a radio contest in Pittsburgh, and combines elements of the "Iron Curtain" and the Pittsburgh Steelers' name.


Here are some highlights of the "Steel Curtain":