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Top Ten Steelers Tandems Of All-Time: Jack Lambert & Jack Ham (#2)

Peanut butter and jelly. Abbott and Costello. The Pittsburgh Steelers and a rapid increase in your blood pressure every Sunday. Some of the world’s truest reliable duos.

That got me to thinking. Who are the best tandems in Steelers’ history? A dynamic duo who dominated the league. If one guy didn’t make the play, the other did. With such a long and storied history, it was difficult to come up with a list. But here’s my order of the top ten in black and gold. These are all players who played the same position, weighed by individual talent and the success shared together. So you won’t see, for example, QB to WR combinations on this list because if I did, that’s basically all this list would consist of (Bradshaw to Swann, Bradshaw to Stallworth, Ben to Ward, Ben to Brown, you get the idea). And these are duos only. Buddy system here, only pairs of two, not three or more.

#2: LBs Jack Lambert & Jack Ham (1974-1982)

Couple of caveats here to get out of the way. It was a difficult decision not to put these two in the top spot and if you wanted to award them the gold medal, I’ll be the last to try and fight you on it. And I know, Ham was an OLB, Lambert a MLB in the Steelers’ 4-3 but I put these guys in modern “off-ball linebacker” terms. So it counts.

And how could you leave Ham and Lambert off the list? If any offensive line was lucky enough to block the Steel Curtain front four, they had to deal with Ham and Lambert. That’s avoiding the train tracks and then getting hit by a bus. Lose-lose.

Lambert’s lore remains today. Despite not being a big guy, he was billed as too skinny as a 2nd round pick out of Kent State in that famous ’74 draft, his toughness, fearlessness, and knock-you-into-last-Tuesday attitude made him the scariest dude on the field. Ham was a bit more reserved but his play spoke volumes. He ended it with 32 interceptions and unofficially, 25 sacks. He’s the only Steeler to be in the 20/20 club. For perspective, ended his career with as many picks as Troy Polamalu.

Both are enshrined in Canton and made the top 60 of NFL Films’ Top 100 players in history. Ham came in at #60, Lambert at 29. To me, they’re both Top 50 players of the game.

Check out this play by Ham. They don’t tackle like that anymore.

And Lambert? How can you write about him and not include him tossing Cliff Harris out of the club, giving the Steelers a boost to their Super Bowl victory over Dallas.

Combined, they made 17 Pro Bowls. 12 All-Pro teams. And have eight Super Bowl rings. Our #2 tandem in Steelers history and had they played on nearly any other franchise, probably would’ve been #1.

Top Ten Tandems

#10: DTs Ernie Stautner & Big Daddy Lipscomb (1961-1962)
#9: OGs Ramon Foster & David DeCastro (2012-Present)
#8: CBs Mel Blount & JT Thomas (1973-1981)
#7: RB/RET Lynn Chandnois & Ray Mathews (1951-1956)
#6: DEs LC Greenwood & Dwight White (1971-1980)
#5: FS/SS Ryan Clark & Troy Polamalu (2006-2013)
#4: RBs Franco Harris & Rocky Bleier (1972-1980)
#3: OLBs James Harrison & LaMarr Woodley (2007-2012)
#2: LBs Jack Lambert & Jack Ham (1974-1982)

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