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“It’s going to be a thrill in two ways,” said Steelers’ Gerry Mullins. “First of all, playing in the Coliseum before a crowd of 90,000 is going to bring back a lot of memories of my days at Southern Cal. And, of course, I’m going to finally go head to head with Merlin”

The Merlin that Mullins was enthusing about was Merlin Olsen, the veteran defensive tackle of fourteen years for the Rams. Playing against one of his childhood heroes would add a little extra zest to Mullins’ game as the Steelers travel to Los Angeles for their final regular season game.

Gerry Mullins media photo“The game probably doesn’t mean as much to us as it does to the Rams,” Mullins (picture left) told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We would like to win because we like to do that every time we take the field but, given the choice of winning or coming home healthy for the playoffs, I think we’d rather be healthy.

For the Rams, a lot is at stake. The home field playoff advantage is very important to them because it might mean playing a title game in warm weather instead of the snow at Minnesota.”

When not lined up at right guard, Mullins can occasionally be found playing tight end. He moves to that position on third-down, short yardage situation and in goal line offense.

“It gives me a lift to go over there,” said Mullins, who has four touchdowns as the second tight end. “People know you’re there more quickly than they do if you are an offensive lineman. Besides, I still like to catch a pass once in a while.

I’ve caught almost as many passes playing as the second tight end here as I did as the starting tight end at USC. I only caught 15 passes in two years as a starter there. When they first started throwing to me here, it came as a surprise to the other teams. Now they watch me, but it’s a big kick going from pulling guard to prime receiver.”

In the Steelers scheme of rotating seven offensive linemen, Mullins plays the first three quarters at right guard, then gives way to starting left guard Jim Clack in the final period, leaving the bench only to play tight end.

1975 game 14: The Pittsburgh Steelers (12-1) at the Los Angeles Rams (11-2)

With the Rams showing the aggression required for the win they needed and coach Noll substituting his players at will, the Steelers’ eleven game winning streak looked like ending.

After both teams went three and out, a shanked punt by Bobby Walden gave Los Angeles the ball on Pittsburgh 48. The Rams failed to capitalise and it set the tone for the first three quarters of the season’s finale.

The Steelers kicked a 20-yard field goal at the end of the first quarter and the Rams hit back in the second period with one from 26 yards.
Backup quarterback Joe Gilliam was knocked out of the game twice by the relentless Rams’ pass rush and Terry Bradshaw, instead of being rested, found himself working hard to avoid the same fate.

Gilliam’s interception in the third quarter after he had led his team to the Rams’ 13 saw the pendulum swing towards the Rams. In the fourth quarter, the Rams’ reserve quarterback Ron Jaworski scored a touchdown with his five-yard run on a perfectly executed draw play.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 3 at the Los Angeles Rams 10
the Coliseum, December 21st 1975; 38,987

Passing: Gilliam 2-11-29, Bradshaw 3-10-28

Rushing: Harris 21-126, Collier 1-8, Bleier 7-31, Harrison 3-8, Bradshaw 1-2, Fuqua 1-2

Receiving: Grossman 3-49, Swann 1- 4, Harris 1-4


The Steelers set records for the season with the most wins, touchdowns, first downs, points scored and points allowed.

Terry Bradshaw set a club record for completions with 57.7% and needs only two more touchdowns to become the franchise’s all-time leader, with Bobby Layne leading with 67.

Franco Harris gained 1,246 yards on 262 carries, moving him into second place on the team’s all-time rushing list behind John Henry Johnson. He also had 28 touchdowns.

Roy Gerela set a club record for field goals with 17 out of 21 for a 81% successful rate.

“Our pass-blocking wasn’t that good,” commented coach Noll after the game, “but I’m pretty sure their pass rush caused a lot of the problems. It was very impressive.

We were reminded that we don’t like the feeling that goes with losing. It hasn’t happened to us in a long time and maybe we needed a reminder.

We wanted to play a lot of people who don’t normally play much and we did. We wanted to come out of the game without serious injuries that might hurt us in the playoffs and we did.”

Dwight White added, “What this does is put everything back into perspective. Once in a while you need to relearn that fact that if you don’t play with 110% effort, you can lose to a good team. And in the playoffs, there won’t be anything but good teams.”

1975 AFC Central Division
        final standings

Pittsburgh     12-2  
Cincinnati    11-3  
Houston   10-4  
Cleveland   3-11




Chuck Noll media photo

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Last updated August 23rd 2014.

Byron White's 1938 season with the Pirates added July 2014.

Chuck Noll tribute added June 2014.

The Thirties Pirates updated April 2014.
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