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The Steelers 1976 season begins here>>>

STEELERS TRAVEL TO DALLAS

With the Cowboys’ still suffering a hangover from their Super Bowl defeat, the exhibition game against the Steelers would prove to be an interesting affair.  The Cowboys believed the Steelers had not been penalised for some late hits during the Super Bowl. Dallas coach Tom Landry agreed with his players’ claims that Pittsburgh had gotten away with a few missed calls. “That was the general view,” Landry offered. “It was an unusual game.”

Dallas veteran Lee Roy Jordan noted that the Steelers were not flagged once and the Cowboys only twice. “I think the officials went into the game with the attitude that they were afraid to throw anybody out of a Super Bowl game,” said Jordan. “If it’s controlled at the beginning with a couple of flags, it usually helps to keep the game in check.”

Jordan felt at times the Steelers play “went beyond the bounds of sportsmanlike conduct”, specifically Jack Lambert kicking Preston Pearson (ex Steelers) while he was on the ground and a Steelers defensive back breaking Golden Richard’s ribs by kneeing him while he was on the ground.

Despite his misgivings, Jordan was keen to emphasis there would be no vendetta. He just felt that the Cowboys would be a lot better prepared to defend themselves.

“We’re not a cheap shot team,” responded Andy Russell. “You don’t win that way. You win with good technique and the best techniques are not cheap shots.” Russell acknowledged that tempers flare in a lot of games and that if it had been a regular season game, it would have all been forgotten the next day. “It’s just that everything in the Super Bowl is under such a microscope,” he said.

“In fairness to their criticism, there were perhaps a couple of incidents when we may have hit accidentally,” Russell continued. “It wasn’t by intent. It’s just a result of good, hard play and aggressively moving towards the ball. It’s sometimes particularly difficult for a defensive back who sees a cut-off angle to stop in time. The officials made judgment calls and didn’t throw flags. They wanted to let us play and not over control the game.”

Andy Russell and Jack Ham media photo

STEELERS AIM TO EMULATE COWBOYS

Despite the rivalry that had developed between the Steelers and the Cowboys, Pittsburgh was keen to achieve the same consistency that Dallas had attained over the past decade. Since first making the playoffs in 1966, the Cowboys had gone back nine seasons out of ten and that was a goal the Steelers would like to set.

“It’s a personnel man’s dream,” enthused the head of the Steelers scouting department, Art Rooney. “They won eight games in their worst season in the last ten years.” The Steelers have followed the same path that Dallas chose by building their team through the draft.

Rooney’s first job after getting out of college was selling tickets. “I found out you couldn’t sell a loser,” he said. He realised that the Steelers needed better players to win and that took him into the scouting department in 1962.

“When I first went on the road, I’d ask advice from other scouts. I guess they look pity on a poor sap and they offered to show me their lists. I told them I didn’t want their lists. I wanted to know how they compiled them”

Shortly after Rooney became a scout, the Steelers formed the scouting combine, BLESTO, in 1964 with the Bears, Lions and Eagles. Rooney then supplemented the Blesto information for the Steelers and was joined in 1968 by Bill Nunn.


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Last updated May16th 2015.

Ben's early games with the Steelers.

The Steelers 1975 season in full.
The Steelers 1974 season in full.

Keeping the Faith with Chuck Noll added September 2014.
Chuck Noll tribute added June 2014.
Byron White's 1938 season with the Pirates added July 2014
The Thirties Pirates updated April 2014.
SteelerNationUK on tour 2013 added February 2014.
The story of Steeler Nation's visit to London added October 2013.

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