Kirk Cousins, the Vikings, and the Dynasties of Mediocrity
NFL Offseason - Two years ago, this website proudly ranked the top dynasties of all time, granting the modern-day New England Patriots the title of most successful era in NFL history. And there was much rejoicing.
One year ago, this website proudly ranked the top anti-dynasties of all time, granting the modern-day Cleveland Browns the title of least successful era in NFL history. And there was much rejoicing.
On this, the most foolish of Aprils, we must complete the trifecta. We are gathered here to discover the most average era of football in NFL history. The teams that could not escape the gravitational pull of .500 football. The adequate, the forgettable, the occasionally regrettable. No trophies to honor, no top draft picks to whiff on. These teams dedicated themselves to neutrality and sufficiency in ways that are awe-inspiring to witness.
And, in the modern era, that's arguably worse than just bottoming out. Theoretically, if you crash to 2-14, you should get a high draft pick to find your next franchise signal-caller or shutdown corner or what have you and be able to bounce back to contention. But if you're stuck in 8-9 or 9-8 purgatory? Sure, maybe you'll pick up a few seventh seeds here and there; everyone makes the playoffs in the modern NFL. But without a true bottoming out, teams don't get the opportunity to trigger the rebuild they desperately need to actually compete for championships. They're stuck in an endless loop of talking themselves into running things back one more time, because hey, get a ticket to the postseason and anything can happen, right? They waste far too many assets on uninspiring players, and while they remain relevant in December, they're rarely so in January.
Yes, Vikings and Colts fans, we're talking about your teams. Not just yours. But yours, for sure. Let's dig in.
This exercise is, of course, completely ridiculous. It's based off of a joke made during a podcast last offseason, a joke that festered—like many of our jokes tend to do. But just because it's a joke doesn't mean it can't be a rigorous joke. We won't be counting down every team in great detail like we did for the dynasty lists—we may save that for a different project later this year—but we can at least explain how we got here.
To qualify for the rankings at all, a franchise must have at least five years hovering around .500. In a 16-game season, that means our target is between 7-9 and 9-7. That gets prorated and rounded for different season lengths; it's between 7-10 and 10-7 in today's 17-game environment, 6-8 and 8-6 in a 14-game season, and so on. That does mean a team can qualify despite consistently having a winning record, but being one game over .500 for years and years still seems fairly average to me, all things considered. This is regular-season only, so if a team slips into the playoffs at 8-8 and ends up winning a Super Bowl, good for them.
It's OK if a franchise occasionally slips out of that middling range, so long as they don't spend too long outside it. In a 16-game season, you can have up to two consecutive seasons of 10-6 or 6-10—two games away from .500—and still remain eligible for the list. But three of those seasons ends a run, as do consecutive seasons that fall even further out of that range; 11-plus wins or losses in a 16-game season. If either occurs, the run ends immediately, and we roll back to the last season around .500.
Those requirements give us 60 teams for our rankings, including five which are still active today. That's about how many teams qualified for both the dynasty and anti-dynasty rankings, so the net seems appropriately cast. Now we need to rank them.
We take eight factors into account when ranking the teams:
- Duration: How long does a team hover around .500? It's more impressive if you're mediocre for 10 seasons instead of just five.
- Win Percentage: How close to .500 were you? Our qualifying teams range from .594 down to .380, with some centers of gravity being far closer to 9-7 or 7-9 than 8-8. Our ideal teams end up balancing wins and losses.
- Average and Middle-Five DVOA: Not all 8-8 teams are made equal. We're also factoring in each team's DVOA, both over the full length of the run and over the five seasons closest to zero. DVOA isn't required to qualify for the list, but it will separate the lucky from the truly average. These have double weight, each counting for 20% of the final score. We're using actual DVOA from 1981 to 2021, Andreas Shepard's estimated DVOA from 1950 to 1980, and my Simple Rating System-to-DVOA conversions for 1920 to 1949.
- DVOA and Record Variance: We're not looking for teams which end up looking average thanks to wildly swinging between being good and bad. We're looking for consistent mediocrity on a year-in, year-out basis. The 2013-2017 Lions had a DVOA between -11.2% and 9.0% every year, even when they went 11-5. They should score higher than the 2010-2015 Rams, who dipped as far as -33.1% in a 2-14 season.
- Mediocre Record and DVOA Seasons: While many of these runs include 11-5 or 4-12 years, we want to reward teams that stuck around average the longest. We're counting any season with a single-digit DVOA, as well as any season with the equivalent of seven to nine wins in a 16-game season, which we're calling "mediocre seasons." This gives extra credit to those blander franchises rather than ones that just floated around average without ever hitting it.
Take all eight datapoints, calculate how many standard deviations they are from the mean team on the list, add them all together, and you get the final rankings.
The Null Set
In previous years, we would just list the qualifiers here and slowly reveal their rankings over the course of the next month. As this is just one article, however, here's the full list of the most average teams of all time, including their final score.
|The Most Average Dynasties of All Time|
|1986-1999||Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders||14||110||113||0||0.493||1.6%||0.1%||8||10||11.12|
|1979-1984||Kansas City Chiefs||6||41||48||0||0.461||1.3%||-0.3%||6||4||6.13|
|1982-1990||New Orleans Saints||9||70||66||0||0.515||1.5%||0.8%||6||6||4.53|
|1956-1962||San Francisco 49ers||7||46||40||2||0.534||3.1%||1.5%||5||6||4.33|
|2001-2008||New Orleans Saints||8||60||68||0||0.469||-2.2%||1.4%||5||6||3.93|
|1978-1985||Green Bay Packers||8||55||63||3||0.467||-6.6%||-0.8%||4||6||3.59|
|2008-2014||San Diego Chargers||7||63||49||0||0.563||4.6%||0.9%||3||6||1.92|
|1968-1974||Green Bay Packers||7||45||48||5||0.485||1.3%||2.1%||3||4||1.52|
|1966-1971||San Diego Chargers||6||43||36||0||0.544||2.1%||-1.1%||3||4||1.44|
|2012-2016||New Orleans Saints||5||39||41||0||0.488||2.4%||2.4%||3||4||1.34|
|1925-1931||Providence Steam Roller||7||41||32||11||0.554||-5.6%||-0.5%||4||4||0.51|
|2015-2021||Washington Football Team||7||48||64||1||0.429||-7.7%||-1.4%||4||6||-0.01|
|2006-2013||New York Giants||8||73||55||0||0.570||6.1%||5.0%||4||5||-0.74|
|1994-2006||Kansas City Chiefs||13||120||88||0||0.577||14.4%||1.8%||5||8||-0.95|
|2008-2013||New York Jets||6||51||45||0||0.531||3.4%||7.8%||2||4||-2.75|
|1995-2003||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||9||80||64||0||0.556||7.7%||3.9%||3||4||-2.80|
|2010-2015||St. Louis Rams||6||36||59||1||0.380||-6.5%||-1.2%||4||4||-3.42|
|1988-1993||New York Jets||6||38||57||1||0.401||-6.7%||-2.5%||3||3||-4.09|
|1952-1957||New York Giants||6||38||32||2||0.542||4.3%||9.2%||1||4||-5.98|
|1997-2002||New York Jets||6||57||39||0||0.594||12.0%||8.8%||3||4||-6.31|
|1965-1972||New York Giants||8||49||62||1||0.442||-9.8%||-5.2%||3||5||-7.07|
|2002-2006||St. Louis Rams||5||41||39||0||0.513||-11.1%||-11.1%||2||3||-8.24|
A Brief History Lesson
Most of the teams on the list are of older vintage, but not that old. We give a special shout-out to the Buffalo All-Americans and Providence Steam Roller for qualifying from the 1920s; this is an era where teams were folding left and right and parity wasn't a thing. To stick around .500 for that long in a league where teams were lucky to last more than a season is an impressive accomplishment in and of itself. You don't see any other teams from the 1920s or 1930s, with Washington and Pittsburgh just barely squeaking in during the late 1940s, when the league was beginning to settle down long enough to the point where teams folding was no longer a concern. It's also just after the common draft began in 1936, which is important—one of the ways mediocre teams stay mediocre is by using middling draft picks. That's not a factor when any team can sign anyone they want straight out of college.
You'll also notice that the top eight teams, and 15 of the top 20, start their runs before 1993. That's the year true free agency began in the NFL, giving teams another pathway out of being average. Before that, player movement was highly restricted; only one player from 1920 to 1962 actually moved in something like free agency, and R.C. Owens jumping ship from San Francisco to Baltimore so angered owners that they made a new rule that gave the commissioner rights to unilaterally award compensation to the team losing a player. That led to years of lawsuits, and the Right of First Refusal, and Plan B Free Agency, and all sorts of things designed to stop player movement.
But in 1993, all that goes away, and we get the free agency we know and love today, where you can just go out and sign Terron Armstead or Von Miller or Chandler Jones rather than trying to find a player in the middle of the first round of the draft. That gives teams another ticket out of mediocrity, for better or for worse—whether that's bringing in new players, or seeing their starters leave town. I think this means we have seen the end of the age of extreme mediocrity, as it's just so hard to stay average with so much player movement today. It means we should give more props to Norv Turner's Washington, Lovie Smith's Bears or Jim Haslett's Saints; to maintain mediocrity for so long in the modern era is a rare skill indeed.
While finalizing this article, it was suggested that any team that played in a Super Bowl should be automatically excluded. After all, the goal of every team is to win titles, and if you're getting to the championship game, that should override surrounding mediocrity. There are arguments for and against that, but it leads to some interesting observations if we keep champion teams in, so that's what we're ultimately doing.
Seven of the 60 teams to qualify for the Mediocre Dynasty list ended up at least playing for the title. One is the 1928 Providence Steam Roller, back in an era when you could schedule your own games and would often play on back-to-back days; I don't think we can learn much from an 8-1 team topping an 11-3 team.
The other six are interesting. In the 20th century, no Mediocre Dynasty team ever reached a championship game; no Super Bowls, no NFL or AFL Championships, nothing. But since the advent of free agency, the salary cap, and easier player movement, we have seen it happen seven times: the 2000 Ravens, the 2002 Buccaneers, the 2007 and 2011 Giants, the 2008 Cardinals, the 2016 Falcons, and the 2017 Eagles. Are those individual teams mediocre? Well, the Giants would seem to qualify with their 1.4% and 7.3% regular-season DVOAs, and the Cardinals had a -4.0% DVOA when they went to the Super Bowl, so no complaints about sticking them onto the list. But those Ravens are sometimes grouped in with the best teams of all time, and the Buccaneers have the second-highest DVOA for any team on this countdown. The Falcons and Eagles teams weren't exactly scrubs, either.
I think the fact that those four teams qualified for the rankings despite a Super Bowl appearance shows how much easier it is today to go from an average team to a contender—and just how much harder it is to keep that contender together. Dan Quinn's back-to-back playoff appearances were bookended by two seasons apiece of six- to eight-win football. The Eagles' Super Bowl victory is their only double-digit-win season since 2015. The Ravens' championship floats in a sea of six-, seven- and eight-win seasons as they washed off the residual Browniness of the franchise. Even the Buccaneers' championship came after years of getting stalled out in the postseason.
These four teams' championship years stand out like sore thumbs amidst their surrounding seasons. The 2017 Eagles had a DVOA of 23.7%, ten points higher than their next-best season. The same can be said for the 2002 Buccaneers at 31.3%, while the 2000 Ravens' mark of 23.9% wasn't challenged until their very last season in their mediocre run. The Falcons take the cake; they were at 23.9% in their Super Bowl season but didn't top 5.0% in their other four years in their run. These aren't cases of very good teams finally putting things together; they're average teams who had everything click for one season. That certainly qualifies them for entry into this club, even if they get to lord their shiny trophies over the rest of the class.
I think these teams' inclusion show the state of the NFL today. You don't have to be a perennial contender to win a title; you just need the breaks to fall your way. That might be a young quarterback blossoming for Cincinnati, or an old quarterback jumping ship for Los Angeles or Tampa Bay, but lots of teams can dream that this is the year that everything gels, even if you have been otherwise mired in mediocrity. The flip side of the coin is that sometimes your hot-shot offensive coordinator leaves town, or your MVP candidate quarterback forgets how to play football, or it turns out you don't get to play against your coaches' exact old playbook in the championship next season because most teams are smarter than the 2002 Oakland Raiders, my goodness. In an era of parity, anyone can win a title, or at least jump out to a 28-3 lead.
Of course, I'm making these arguments because none of these teams finished above 30th in the mediocre dynasty rankings; their championship season is enough in each case to knock them well down the list, even if they do technically still qualify. Had the numbers chunked out to show that the two-time champion Giants were one of the five most mediocre teams of all time, well, I'd have changed methodology long before this got published!
2021's Average Quintet
The last team to end an average dynasty was the aforementioned 2015-2019 Falcons, the bottom falling out and sending Dan Quinn packing. That leaves five franchises currently in the midst of one of these mediocre runs. In ascending order…
The Denver Broncos have the shortest run of the five active teams, just starting in 2016—or mere seconds after Peyton Manning retired and the confetti from Super Bowl 50 had finished fluttering to the floor. Since then, Denver has turned to Trevor Siemian, Case Keenum, Joe Flacco, Drew Lock, and Teddy Bridgewater, backed up by a rapidly aging defense. The results have been, shall we say, less than then superb; a 39-58 record isn't good, and they have been below .500 ever since 2017. Only a pair of seven-win teams even keep them on this list, as they keep threatening to slip from bland to just plain bad. You can see why they were so eager to trade for someone at the quarterback position; Russell Wilson could well shoot them out the other side into the collection of good teams.
The Washington Commanders have been here basically since Kirk Cousins took over from Robert Griffin at quarterback (technically the run starts in Cousins' second year as a starter in 2015, but who's counting?). They have made the playoffs twice during this run, losing to Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady in the wild-card round. If it wasn't for their dreadful 2018-2019 stretch, where they were below -20.0% DVOA twice in a row, they'd rank higher. At least they're used to being in this position; Washington's 38 seasons on the average list is more than any other franchise.
And speaking of franchises who spend a lot of time on this list and also can blame Kirk Cousins, it's the Minnesota Vikings! The Vikings' current run of blandness starts in 2014 and matches the Mike Zimmer era perfectly. They're hurt a little by some moderate success—they're 72-56-1 over the past eight years, making them more 9-7 than 8-7. They even won a couple of playoff games over the Saints! But while you haven't been able to overlook Minnesota in recent years, you also haven't really had to look to hard at them, as they keep bringing back an aging roster year after unsuccessful year. They're second only to Washington in years on this list despite only being founded in 1961; they have picked up 13 years in the 21st century alone. Enjoy that $35-million Kirk Cousins extension, boys.
The Philadelphia Eagles are an odd duck, as their run includes their Super Bowl victory in 2017, which is almost perfectly counterbalanced by the 4-11-1 Carson Wentz disaster year of 2020. Scratch those two years out and the Eagles have won either seven or nine games every year since 2015; an impressive level of consistent blandness. Those two outlier years really do hurt them; they have the fifth-highest win variance on the list. But they do seem in position to rattle off a bunch more average years, which will help lower the impact of those outliers over time.
And speaking of Carson Wentz, hello Indianapolis Colts. The Colts run begins with Andrew Luck's health ends, and guides them through Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers, and, yes, Carson Wentz. Inconsistency at the quarterback position is a huge part of staying in mediocrity, and it feels like Frank Reich's team has been a quality signal-caller away from breaking out of this slide for five years now. Fifth time's a charm with Matt Ryan, surely.
The Top Six
Since we're not doing individual articles for this—I'm fairly sure my editors would kill me if I wrote a thousand words on the 1980s Vikings—we have to finish off by shining a spotlight on the six most mediocre teams of all time.
No. 6: 1986-1999 Miami Dolphins
Record: 125-98 (.561)
Average DVOA: 3.5%
Middle-Five DVOA: -0.1%
Ten single-digit DVOA seasons; Nine mediocre records
Head Coaches: Don Shula, Jimmy Johnson
Key Players: QB Dan Marino, WR Mark Clayton, WR Mark Duper, T Richmond Webb, G Keith Sims, DE Jeff Cross, LB John Offerdahl, LB Bryan Cox
When the Dolphins lost in Super Bowl XIX, no one thought it would be Dan Marino's last shot at a ring; the sophomore sensation was re-writing the record books on his way to being named MVP. But the defense let Marino down, both thoroughly and repeatedly. They finished 22nd or worse in defensive DVOA in nine of these 14 seasons, including finishing dead last four times. It's a credit to just how good Marino and those offenses were that the Dolphins were able to even reach mediocre overall numbers. They were in the top 10 in offensive DVOA every year from 1983 through 1997 … which meant they faded just in time for the defense to rebound some in 1998. So despite one of the top 10 quarterbacks of all time under center, and two great coaches, Miami never had back-to-back double-digit-win seasons from 1986 until after Marino retired. The Dolphins made the playoffs more than your average mediocre team—seven times between 1990 and 1999. They went 5-7, only getting as far as the AFC Championship Game one time.
No. 5: 1980-1993 Pittsburgh Steelers
Record: 113-103 (.523)
Average DVOA: 1.3%
Middle-Five DVOA: 2.5%
Nine single-digit DVOA seasons; Nine mediocre records
Head Coaches: Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher
Key Players: T Tunch Ilkin, C Mike Webster, LB David Little, LB Bryan Hinkle, LB Robin Cole, LB Jack Lambert, LB Mike Merriweather, CB Rod Woodson, SS Donnie Shell
Draw the Steel Curtain; the party's over. The Steelers won Super Bowl XIV after the 1979 season and next made the title game after the 1995 season. The years between were a decade of consistent decline. Over the first four years of the decade, the Steelers saw Rocky Bleier, Mean Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood, Jack Ham, Terry Bradshaw, and Mel Blount all retire, and that's just too much to replace at one time. But it wasn't just the loss of talent, it was the shift in the game, too—the expanded passing game caused by the 1978 rules change and the birth of the West Coast offense finally killed the Steelers' defense, forcing them to shift to a 3-4, and still they couldn't stop the Marinos and John Elways of the world. But they never really bottomed out; Noll and Cowher were too good to have total collapses, barring the 5-11 disaster in 1988. These Steelers were remarkably consistent in terms of DVOA, finishing between -8.9% and 14.5% in every one of these 14 seasons—right in the middle, where they belong.
No. 4: 1986-1999 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders
Record: 110-113 (.493)
Average DVOA: 1.6%
Middle-Five DVOA: 0.1%
Eight single-digit DVOA seasons; Ten mediocre records
Head Coaches: Tom Flores, Mike Shanahan, Art Shell, Mike White, Joe Bugel, Jon Gruden
Key Players: WR Tim Brown, G Steve Wisniewski, C Don Mosebar, DE Howie Long, DE Greg Townsend, DT Chester McGlockton
The mid-1980s were a tumultuous time for the Raiders, even by Raiders standards. Al Davis accused Marcus Allen of faking injuries (which led to bringing in Bo Jackson); he fought constantly with Mike Shanahan in a feud which never really was resolved; he testified against the NFL in the USFL trial; he complained about the stadium and very nearly moved the team to Sacramento; he sued the NFL on multiple occasions over stadium issues and rights to the Los Angeles market. Things weren't much more stable on the field, as the flipped from Jim Plunkett to Marc Wilson to Jay Schroeder to Steve Beuerlein to Todd Marinovich to Jeff Hostetler to Jeff George to Donald Hollas to Rich Gannon behind center. Honestly, that sounds like a recipe for disaster all the way around, but no—the Raiders sprinkled a few highlights in their sea of third-place finishes in the AFC West, including a trip to the AFC Championship Game in 1990. A pair of double-digit-win seasons (and two double-digit-loss seasons) mean the Raiders just weren't quite consistently bland enough to crack the top three.
No. 3: 1978-1991 Seattle Seahawks
Record: 112-104 (.519)
Average DVOA: -0.7%
Middle-Five DVOA: -0.9%
Ten single-digit DVOA seasons; Ten mediocre records
Head Coaches: Jack Patera, Mike McCormack, Chuck Knox
Key Players: QB Dave Krieg, RB Curt Warner, WR Steve Largent, DE Jacob Green, DE Jeff Bryant, NT Joe Nash, LB Fredd Young, CB Dave Brown, SS Kenny Easley
The Seahawks got their act together pretty quickly for an expansion team. They went from 2-12 in 1976 to 5-9 the next year to 9-7 in 1978, fully into the middle of the NFL's pack in near-record time for a brand-new team. And apparently that took a lot out of them, because that's where they'd stay for the entire 1980s. Most of the positives from this run come from Chuck Knox's tenure, starting in 1983—four playoff appearances, including reaching the AFC Championship Game in 1983. Mostly, though, the team hovered around .500 as Ground Chuck's offensive philosophy became more and more outdated as the 1980s went along; Seattle never had double-digit losses under Knox, but only hit double-digit wins twice. The one real exception to Knox's run-first rushing attack came in 1984, when Curt Warner was lost for the season in Week 1. That left Knox little alternative but to let Dave Krieg air the ball out early and often, leading to them finishing eighth in passing DVOA … and then right back down to the bottom of the league when Warner returned in 1985. Splashy additions like Brian Bosworth kept the Seahawks in the conversation as a team that would break out any year, but they never actually broke out. And when Knox left in 1992, the bottom fell out of the offense entirely. The franchise would wander in the wilderness in the 1990s until Mike Holmgren came to town.
No. 2: 1971-1985 Detroit Lions
Record: 97-118-4 (.452)
Average DVOA: -1.7%
Middle-Five DVOA: 0.3%
Nine single-digit DVOA seasons; Thirteen mediocre records
Head Coaches: Joe Schmidt, Don McCafferty, Rick Forzano, Tommy Hudspeth, Monte Clark, Darryl Rogers
Key Players: QB Greg Landry, RB Billy Sims, FB Dexter Bussey, TE Charlie Sanders, TE David Hill, T Rocky Freitas, C Ed Flanagan, DE Al Baker, DT Doug English, LB Charlie Weaver, CB Lem Barney
The 1970 season is the one that got away for the Lions. They were 10-4, winning their last five games, with a high-scoring offense and a strong defense. And then they lost to the Cowboys 5-0 in the divisional round. They wouldn't see the postseason again until the expanded strike tournament in 1982. In between was a decade of blandness—three six-win seasons, four seven-win seasons, and one eight-win season, placing them consistently in second place behind the Vikings in the NFC Central. They came close to the playoffs multiple times, losing out on a tiebreaker in 1980, losing in a Week 17 win-and-in game in 1981. But they were, at least, competitive. Even their one bad year, the 2-14 collapse in 1979 after Gary Danielson was lost during the preseason, had the silver lining of adding Billy Sims with the top draft pick the year after.
The .452 winning percentage is just a little too low to give the Lions the top spot, despite a whopping 13 out of 15 seasons being in qualifying range; they just finished 6-8 rather than 8-6 a little too frequently to be crowned king of the average. They can, however, claim the best spot for a team which DVOA has reached—perhaps if we delve back far enough, we'll get enough hard data to reevaluate those 1970s Lions. But until then, your champions are…
No. 1: 1949-1961 Pittsburgh Steelers
Record: 71-82-5 (.465)
Average DVOA: -2.6%
Middle-Five DVOA: 0.3%
Eleven single-digit DVOA seasons; Eleven mediocre records
Head Coaches: John Michelosen, Joe Bach, Walt Kiesling, Buddy Parker
Key Players: HB Ray Mathews, E Elbie Nickel, T Frank Varrichione, DE Bill McPeak, DT Ernie Stautner, LB Dale Dodrill, LB John Reger, DB Jack Butler
The 1930s and 1940s Steelers were disasters and laughingstocks. The 1970s Steelers were one of the most dominant teams of all time. In between, they were just bland as bland can be. It wasn't the Steel Curtain yet; it was the Same Old Steelers. And while that was just an off-the-cuff remark by Art Rooney after the Steelers had changed uniforms after swapping teams with the Eagles (don't ask), there's no better way to describe these teams. We only have estimated DVOA for the 1950s, but the estimations have the Steelers as duller than dishwater. Their estimated DVOAs, in ascending order: -15.2%, -14.1%, -8.9%, -4.0%, -2.4%, -2.3%, -1.0%, -0.4%, -0.3%, 1.2%, 1.8%, 5.7%, and 6.7%. That's about as bog standard as you can possibly get; they should have been in a vault in France next to the kilogram so future generations could compare their team for averageness.
And it didn't have to be that way. For most of the early 1950s, the Steelers were roughly equally skilled on both offense and defense—or, at the very least, they would fluctuate around zero fairly regularly. By the end of the decade, however, the Steelers' defense was leading the way, with estimated DVOAs of -19.6%, -11.4% and -9.6% from 1957-1959. The offense couldn't keep up, which was a shame … because the Steelers had drafted Johnny Unitas in 1955, cutting him in training camp. What might have been.