View Full Version : Thirty years of the 3-4 for the Steelers

06-21-2011, 08:47 AM
Thirty years of the 3-4 for the Steelers

Tuesday, 21 June 2011 07:00 Written by Ed Bouchette

Good morning,
Coach Chuck Noll made a bold move when he switched to the 3-4 defense for the 1982 season. Little did he know how long-lasting a move it would be.

The Steelers helped make the 4-3 defense famous in the 1970s with their Steel Curtain defensive line of Dwight White, Joe Greene, Ernie Holmes and LC Greenwood. It was the defense most teams had played for years and what was not to like about it for the Steelers of the '70s? Four Super Bowls in six seasons.

But to open the '82 season, Noll decided a change was necessary. White, Greene, Holmes and Greenwood were long gone. Jack Ham was in his final season and really not built in the mold of a 3-4 outside linebacker. Here's a piece of trivia: Ham had three sacks during his 12-year career and all three came in his final season of 1982, when he played in the 3-4 defense – and they came in just eight games.

Ham played left outside linebacker in the debut of the 3-4 by the Steelers at Dallas on Sept. 13, 1982. He started seven of the remaining eight games of that strike-shortened season.

Here is the starting lineup from that historic game in Dallas, won by the Steelers, 36-28:

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06-21-2011, 09:28 AM
And teams out there think they can imitate the Steelers system that they have been working with in 30 years in no time flat.

06-21-2011, 09:41 AM
It seems to be getting harder and hard to find guys to play the OLB,NT & DE for us since so many teams are making the switch because usually by the time we pick they are all gone