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The Steelers 1979 season begins here>>>

The Super Goal: Claim Fourth Title

The Steelers in the Super Bowl for the fourth time in six years will face the Los Angeles Rams, the surprise winners of the NFC, in the Rose Bowl in a game that might decide conclusively that Pittsburgh is, indeed, the team of the seventies.

This is the first time a team has ever played in a Super Bowl in its own territory, although it is the Steelers, not the Rams, who have been designated as the home team this year.
Because the home team designation alternates from year to year between the National and the American conferences, the Steelers got the choice of uniforms and Coach Noll has decided to dress the Steelers in their black and gold.

Ironically, the game matches the Steelers, who along with the Chargers, had the best record in the NFL at 12-4 during the regular season, against the Rams, whose 9-7 performance was the worst of all the teams to make the playoffs.

It is that record that adds spice to this Super Bowl.

It poses the question of just how good the Rams are. Are they really as tough as they appeared to be in sweeping to six victories in their last seven games? Or are they the stumbling, inefficient crew that lost four of the five starts at one stage of the season and threatened to drop out of the playoff picture?

Ray Malavasi, coach of the Rams, sees an optimistic side to that mid-season slump. That the Rams survived it he maintains, gave the team “character” and pulled it together.

Coach Noll agrees with the first assessment. It shows, he said, that the Rams were powerful enough to overcome the adversity. If there is one distinguishing characteristic to this game, it is the meeting of the quarterbacks. Terry Bradshaw (age 31), of the Steelers and Vince Ferragamo (age 25), the understudy who was pressed into service when the Rams lost their starter, Pat Haden.

For Bradshaw, it will be his fourth Super Bowl and eighteenth playoff appearance. Ferragamo, a Los Angeles area youngster who went to school at the University of California and then transferred to Nebraska, will be starting only his eighth game as a pro. Yet there are those who think the quality of the Los Angeles offensive line, which give the quarterback plenty of time to pass, will dissolve the disadvantage of inexperience.

That line, clearly, is the key to the game. If the Rams interior linemen can contain the Steelers Curtain, the Rams may make a game of it.

The Rams, however, are not expected to rely too heavily on Ferragamo’s passing. The game plan, by Malavasi’s own admission, is to establish a running game early – a tactic that has failed time and again against the Steelers – and hope for a 100-yard effort from either Wendell Tyler or Cullen Bryant, the bullish 235-pound fullback.

Not many runners have 100-yard games against the Steelers. The last three to do it in the past five seasons were O.J. Simpson, John Cappelletti and Earl Campbell.

The Steel Curtain

The famed Steel Curtain – a term that once referred to the Steelers four down linemen – has been expanded. It now consists of seven men who are interchangeable, with the development of four younger linemen – John Banaszak, Steve Furness, Gary Dunn and Tom Beasley – and veterans Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood and Dwight White. The team’s defense is a problem to opposing offensive linemen.

Another problem for the Rams, who think they can go outside with Tyler’s speed, are the Steelers’ quick, powerful cornerbacks, Mel Blount and Ron Johnson, who are instinctive enough to force on the run or tail a wide receiver. Both are extremely difficult to beat outside.

Even if they don’t move the ball as they expect to, the Rams figure their defense is the equal of the Steelers and they look for it to keep them in the ball game through four quarters.

They do this with a multiple front platoon – a basic four-three that can switch instantly into a five-two or six-one. In passing situations, the Rams sometimes have gone with seven backs in the secondary.

Of course, the Steelers do these things too.

Steelers offense

Pittsburgh can run an offense that features straight-ahead blocking, as they did in overpowering Miami and Houston, or they can execute traps that leave the defensive linemen wondering where all the blockers are coming from. Depending on how physical the Rams want to be, the Steelers will respond to it.

Offensively, the edge certainly goes to the Steelers. In sheer talent, the Rams haven’t the personnel to keep pace with the Steelers in the skill positions. There is a vast difference between Bill Waddy, Preston Dennard, Ron Smith and Drew Hill and the Steelers’ wide receivers Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Jim Smith and Theo Bell.

A similar gap exists at running back, where the Rams’ heavy-duty men, Tyler, Cullen Bryant and Lawrence McCutcheon lack the straight-ahead power of Franco Harris, Rocky Bleier and Sidney Thornton.

The Steelers have been established as 11-point favourites. The consensus among the Terrible Towel waving set is that the Black and Gold will cover that spot easily.
Most of the Super Bowl IX team have departed

The Steelers will be appearing in the fourth Super Bowl in six years, but more than half of the players who suited up for the first one in 1975 and no longer on the roster:

Jim Allen, Ed Bradley, Jim Clack, Richard Conn, Charlie Davis, Steve Davis, Rick Druschel, Glen Edwards.
Reggie Garrett, Roy Gerela, Joe Gilliam, Gordon Gravelle, Terry Hanratty, Reggie Harrison, Ernie Holmes, Marv Kellum.
Frank Lewis, Ray Mansfield, John McMakin, Preston Pearson, Dave Reavis, Andy Russell, Ron Shanklin, Bobby Walden and Jim Wolf.

Also missing are three assistant coaches: Bud Carson, Dan Radakovich and Lionel Taylor.

Game Prediction from Pittsburgh Press Murray Olderman

The Steelers will justify their ranking as one of the greatest teams ever put together by beating the rams 34-13.

They have too many offensive weapons. They also have been there before. The pressure of a Super Bowl appearance is extreme – the intense buildup for the entire preceding week, the hoopla of the game itself, with a TV audience of more than 100 million joining those inside the Rose Bowl.

The superiority of Pittsburgh will manifest itself in the second half when their experience in the big games will enable them to maintain their normal tempo while the Rams, unable to maintain a consistent attack, wilt.

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The Steelers 1979 season updated August 7th 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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