TAMPA, Fla. — The Doomsday Defense. The Purple People Eaters. The Steel Curtain. Exceptional defenses generate colorful, distinctive nicknames that define a style and forge an image that guarantees they will be mentioned for generations. There’s no such catchy nickname for these Pittsburgh Steelers, except the not-so-original Steel Curtain II — which, if nothing else, proves Steelers fans love making any connection possible to the four Super Bowl winners of the 1970s. This time, the similarities between the new and old Curtains are striking, the statistics comparable, the analogies valid, the smack-you-in-the-mouth mentality the same. Call it the defense that doesn’t need a nickname. James Harrison’s nastiness resembles another former Kent State linebacker, Jack Lambert. There’s a huge, run-stuffing nose man — Casey Hampton, a modern-day version of Ernie "Fats” Holmes. Troy Polamalu makes the same game-changing plays Mel Blount did. LaMarr Woodley and Harrison, with a combined 27 sacks, pass rush with a vengeance from a 3-4 defense the way Dwight White and L.C. Greenwood did from a 4-3. There’s even the wizard defensive coordinator — Dick LeBeau, the designer of the zone blitz who draws up masterful blueprints much like the Steel Curtain’s Bud Carson, the innovator of the Cover-2. Parity and the salary cap may not allow this Steelers defense to win four Super Bowls, send four players to the Hall of Fame or get pasted across cereal boxes. But if the Steelers beat Arizona in the Super Bowl on Sunday— and they do it by controlling Larry Fitzgerald and Kurt Warner — the accomplishments of this defense almost demand that it be included among the best of the best. "That defense, whoa, that’s the measuring stick,” the Cardinals’ Karlos Dansby said. LeBeau, at 71 the NFL’s oldest assistant coach, builds defenses that are innovative, adaptive and close-knit — his players actually call him Dad. Linebacker Larry Foote has seen game plans tossed during a brief sideline huddle and LeBeau draw up a brand new approach in seconds. "We know he’ll always come up with something,” cornerback Deshea Townsend said. The Steelers finished 55 yards away from becoming the first defense since the 1970 NFL merger to allow the fewest yards, rushing yards, passing yards and points in a season.