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The Steelers 1979 season begins here>>>

Lambert the Key

Pittsburgh Press photo of RockyRocky Bleier comes up to his buddy Jack lambert and poses a question for the Steelers’ middle linebacker, who was recently named the season’s outstanding AFC defensive player.

“What do you think of the Rams?” inquires Rocky.

Lambert shrugs his broad-beamed shoulders and says, “We’re ready. We’ll do our job. You guys have to do yours.”

As Rocky reads the picture, Lambert’s bullish posture is a good sign for the Steelers. Lambert is one of the big keys, one of the Steelers who Bleier believes the most when he makes a confident observation about an upcoming game.

The Steelers are favoured by 11 points over the Rams. The Steelers are even more confident of their chances and Bleier points to Lambert, Joe Greene and Terry Bradshaw as the best indicators of the club’s confidence that it will win its fourth Super Bowl title in as many tries.

There are other tip-offs, or things to look for, which Bleier offers exclusively to the Press as the kickoff nears for the final and biggest pro football game of the year.

If Jon Kolb gets sick to his stomach before today’s game, that’s a good sign, says Bleier. Kolb expects to start at left offensive tackle – his first start after being sidelined the last three games and he’s ready to block for Bradshaw & Co.

Other good signs would be Franco Harris pacing the clubhouse at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Mel Blount talking about how’s he’s going to shut out Preston Dennard and Billy Waddy, the Rams’ young receivers, and that Lynn Swann hasn’t gotten sunburned from being under the harsh lights of TV interviews back home, where he once starred at Southern Cal.

Bleier brought a major-league looking movie camera, a gift from his wife Aleta, here to California. He’s been kidded about that. Some insist he’s filming the “Rocky Bleier Story” for TV on his own. But Bleier does have an ability to bring the Steelers scene into sharp focus. This is his eleventh season with the Steelers, his fourth Super Bowl, and he knows the team as well as anyone.

Lambert mystifies most people by his behaviour, but he is a hero to Bleier, a neighbour in Fox Chapel. Lambert is one of the most visible of the Steelers here, discoing the night away. Bobby Layne never spent more time at a bar, but Bobby wasn’t usually as well-behaved as Lambert has been at the team’s hotel.

“Maybe he’s a throwback,” observed Bleier. “He’s a player first. Nothing will affect his play when he’s on a football field. Whether he had a bad night the night before, or a bad week. You know he’ll be there. He’s so consistent so people don’t care what he does off the field.

Jack has a unique make-up and relationship with some of our players. He’ll call people anything that comes to mind, and some of it feels rough, and he says things to the black ballplayers that nobody else could get away with it, but he does. He pulls no punches with anybody.”

Bradshaw dresses near Bleier in the clubhouse and Rocky regards him as the single most important player on the Pittsburgh team. “If he’s going to be good, we’re in great shape, if he’s not, we’re in trouble,” said Bleier.

“When Terry’s nervous before a game and has some difficulties sleeping the night before and he worries, well those are good signs. On the day of the game, if he’s confident and loose, it bodes well for us.”

Jim O’Brien
Pittsburgh Press from Pasadena

 

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The Steelers 1979 season updated July 22nd 2021.

Ben's early Steelers games.

The Pittsburgh Americans' 1936 season added June 2020.

The Steelers 1978 season in full.
The Steelers 1977 season in full.
The Steelers 1976 season in full.

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

The first NFL champions the 1902 Pittsburgh Stars added June 2016

The Pittsburgh Americans added August 2015.

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