Once the backbone of a proud NFL franchise, Pittsburgh's defense in recent years had grown grayer, creakier, and slow as ketchup from a bottle.
Although they had the league's top-ranked defense in 2011 and '12 — par for the course for a franchise that produced Mean Joe Greene, Jack Lambert and Mel Blount — the Steelers slipped from 13th in yards allowed in 2013 to 18th last season. It was their worst defensive ranking since finishing 22nd in 1991, Chuck Noll's final season.
Call it a Stale Curtain.
"If you play for Pittsburgh, you've got to be in the top 10 — top five, really," safety Will Allen said. "It's the standard. You come here...