The Record-Setting 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers

Joe Rizzi has extensive experience as an executive leader for emergency management programs in the state of Oregon, including operations in the most populous county in Oregon as well as the state’s second-largest city. Beyond his professional responsibilities, which have ranged from matters of hazard mitigation to Emergency Coordination Center operations, Joe Rizzi is an avid supporter of Pittsburgh Steelers football.

The Pittsburgh Steelers franchise’s time in the National Football League (NFL) dates back to 1933 and the days of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 2004, a Steelers team led by 22-year-old Ben Roethlisberger set a franchise record for regular season victories. After opening the 2004 campaign with a narrow 24–21 win at home against the Oakland Raiders, the Steelers lost on the road to the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 30–13. The team would not lose again for nearly four months.

Pittsburgh won two home games and two road games to carry a 5–1 record into its bye week. The Steelers then scored an impressive victory over the eventual Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and a 27–3 rout of the Philadelphia Eagles. The team’s defense played a key role in the latter part of the regular season, limiting opponents to 7 points or fewer four times and allowing over 20 points just twice. In Week 17, Pittsburgh defeated the Buffalo Bills 29–24, surpassing the franchise record of 14 regular season wins set 26 years earlier.

In the postseason, Pittsburgh edged the New York Jets 20–17 in a division matchup that went to overtime, but fell to the Patriots in the conference championship. The 2005 squad returned to win only 11 regular season games. However, the Steelers qualified for the playoffs and went on to deliver the franchise its first Super Bowl victory in nearly three decades.