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The Steelers 1978 Season Begins Here>>>


The Steelers concerns about facing the Dolphins in the first round of the playoffs disappeared when Houston upset Miami with a 17-9 win. The result meant the Denver Broncos would be the visitors to Three Rivers Stadium.

On that matchup, Jack Lambert suggested, “If our offense moves the ball on them, our defense won’t have anything to worry about. We think we’re the best team. The team has the kind of confidence it had when we won the Super Bowls.

Joe Greene was more pragmatic believing the Steelers can’t afford to think it would be easy to stop Denver’s Craig Morton. The quarterback completed only three of his nine passes for 45 yards in the first half against the Steelers in the regular season before he was substituted.

“I like Morton as a quarterback,” acknowledged Greene. “Morton is what makes them go. He’s a smart quarterback back there. He’s not that mobile and he runs kind of funny, but he buys himself a lot of time. He doesn’t just drop back, he runs a lot of play action passes. He’s got confidence in his line.”


The Broncos kept pro football’s leading kick returner Rick Upchurch back when Denver played Pittsburgh in the season finale. Coach Red Miller didn’t want to risk Upchurch getting an injury in a game with nothing at stake.

Upchurch led the league in punt returns with a 13.7 average from 36 punts for 493 yards with one 75-yard touchdown. Upchurch is an essential part in gaining good field position for the offense.

Craig Colquitt media photoThe Steelers drafted Craig Colquitt in the third round to help their kicking game. “I’m very conscious that he’s the best,” admitted Colquitt on the danger Upchurch presents. “I’ll concentrate all week on kicking 40 yards downfield to the sideline. I’m not going to kick to him.”

Colquitt wasn’t thinking like a rookie going into the playoffs. “I think I’ve come along a lot. I think I’ve been a lot better the last few weeks. I’ve improved my mental outlook. I feel like I can go out into the playoffs and feel like a veteran. I’m a lot more relaxed and that’s absolutely necessary.

You can’t go out there with the adrenalin flowing.”


The Broncos had won two straight division titles and had gone to Super Bowl XII in January, but they always had something to prove. Although the Steelers had won the meaningless game at the end of the season, the Broncos had taken the honours in Pittsburgh and in the previous divisional playoff game.

Looking at the difference between last year’s team and this year’s, Terry Bradshaw offered, “Last year, we weren’t together as a team. We had problems. This year, we’ve always felt we’re gonna win. It’s a good feeling. But it hasn’t been easy.”

Bradshaw will lead his team out for the thirteenth time in a playoff game and has an 8-4 record in the games played. His record at home was 4-1, with the one loss to Miami when he was knocked out for more than two quarters.

The Broncos were going into the game as seven-point underdogs.


Fans queued for up to twenty-four hours to purchase tickets for the playoff game. “The only way I got myself up for this,” said one fan, “was to do a little speed. After that, it was partying all night.” Tickets were $12.25 for the Denver game.



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This site last updated October 19th 2018.

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The Steelers 1977 season in full.
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