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.

The 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.


The Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers both yearn for a return to the Super Bowl, but the season ends here Saturday for one of them.

“What you did before doesn’t count. What counts is now,” acknowledged Coach Noll.

“Things kind of melt into the background when the ball’s kicked off,” said Denver Coach Robert “Red” Miller. “You have the build-up and hoopla. But, it’s all settled on the field.”

Last season, the Broncos earned their first playoff berth in eighteen years, beat Pittsburgh in the first round and eventually ran out of Orange Crush against Dallas in the Super Bowl. This season, Denver won its second straight AFC West title. Their 10-6 record included dumping Oakland twice and disputing the notion that the Broncos were one-year wonders.

“I would think that ‘fluke’ stuff from last year would be over by now. I mean, are we an established power or aren’t we?” questioned Denver guard Tom Glassic.

Last season, the Steelers laboured through contract squabbles and injuries and were beaten 34-21 in Denver. This season brought harmony and homefield advantage in the playoffs.

Pittsburgh is 4-1 in playoff games at Three Rivers Stadium and 53-12 in regular season games at home over the past nine years.

Pittsburgh yielded the fewest points in the NFL in regular season with 195. Denver allowed the second fewest with 198.

“Both teams are good defensively,” said Coach Miller. “They’re pretty close. But we aren’t as strong, nearly as strong offensively as their club.”

Each player on both teams will receive $5,000 for playing in the game. The winners will receive $9,000 for playing in the AFC title game and there will be a $18,000 cheque for each Super Bowl winner.

“I think whoever wins this game will show up three weeks later in the Super Bowl,” observed Denver linebacker Tom Jackson. The player also suggested the game wouldn’t follow the script of the last regular season clash.

Terry Bradshaw hit 10 of 14 passes in the first half. “There wasn’t a lot at stake and we didn’t play with much intensity,” added Jackson. “That won’t happen again.”

The above article was reprinted from the Public Opinion Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.


When the Steelers make the playoffs, Franco Harris hits top form. In eleven playoffs games, he has been the leading rusher for both teams ten times.

The running back became an integral part of Coach Noll’s team when Harris was drafted in 1972. The team has made the playoffs every year Harris has been on the team.

“We’re going for a third Super Bowl,” Harris said. “That’s never been done before. There’s nothing routine about that. I’d like to have us do it.”

Blanket protecting Three Rivers Stadium from the snow.


Where else do you expect to find Steelers center Mike Webster after practice than in the room adjacent to the locker room – bench pressing barbells. After all, weight lifting is to Webster what spinach is to Popeye or what the terrible Towel is to the Steelers.

Webster took a few minutes off to talk to the Latrobe Bulletin to answer questions about the technique of opening up the middle on running plays and protecting the quarterback on passing plays.

While shaking hands with Mike, you can actually feel the strength in his massive hands. “That’s what pass blocking is all about – hands and arms,” he says. “Offensive linemen in the past didn’t use them much, but since the rule change they have become superior weapons. The hands are used for leverage and the arms protect. It’s a real skill.”

Webster feels centers now get more recognition than in the past because of the 3-4 defense. “We get publicity from our head-to-head confrontations with nose tackles.”

And that is Webster’s forte. His exceptional strength makes him particularly effective against opposing nose tackles playing directly opposite him. Steelers backs ran at will in Cincinnati as Webster manhandled Wilson Whitley.

In the Steelers most memorable game in Houston, Webster matched up against All-Pro Curly Culp. When the smoke cleared and the game had ended, Culp did not make a single unassisted tackle.

“I think the career of a center will be shortened,” suggested Webster. “It’s a lot more physical going head-to-head with a nose tackle. Following a Sunday game, “It’s Thursday or Friday before I’m physically ready to play.”

Bud Korber contributed the above article for the Latrobe Bulletin


“Seems like nobody can beat the mighty Steelers,” observed Denver’s quarterback Craig Morton. “They’ve talked themselves into having already won the game. On the plane on their way back from the last game (which the Steelers won 21-17), they were praying they’d get us. Well, they got their wish. We won’t out-talk them. Nobody can do that. Maybe we can out-play them.”

It was after the last game that apparently a few Steelers poked fun at the Broncos. After a few comments made the newspapers, Denver’s coach Red Mille handed them out to his players.

“We each got our own personal copies,” acknowledged defensive end Lyle Alzado. “Guys like Joe Greene and Jack Lambert. They were saying things like the Broncos are never going to experience the viciousness and playoff intensity as they are in this game. I say bleep-bleep. I don’t like that.

They’re saying we don’t belong here. We’re 10-6 and they’re 14-2. We belong here as much as they do.”
Joe Greene attempted to pour oil on troubles waters and suggested, “Their personnel is not as good as our personnel, but they’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of it. No matter who it is (we’re playing), they’d be in trouble. Denver’s in trouble.”

Despite the animosity, Morton considers Greene to be a gentleman. “He always picks me up very nicely after he hits me.”


“We expect a little more intense football game,” acknowledged Coach Noll. “No question about it. We go into this thing with the idea that we can’t lose it. It’s as simple as that.”

The coach remembered well the 35-21 defeat handed to his team by the Broncos in the first round of the playoffs the previous year. “If I were to list everything that I’m worried about… we’re concerned with just about every phase of the game.”

With the cold weather affecting the Steelers practices leading up to the game, Coach Noll joked, “We learned how to wear long johns, how to wear mufflers. We had all kinds of caps that we were wearing. It was a good time.”

L.C. Greenwood image above from the Morning Call (Allentown).

1978 AFC Playoff Game
The Denver Broncos at the Pittsburgh Steelers

Denver put the first points on the board with a 37-yard field goal, but the Steelers then took control. Terry Bradshaw led his team 66 yards with eight plays with Franco Harris taking it in for a 1-yard touchdown. With the PAT failing, Pittsburgh took a 6-3 lead into the second quarter.

The Broncos replaced Craig Morton with Norris Weese. After a Denver defensive stand stopped the Steelers on the goal line, Harris continued to rack up the yards. A further 18-yard touchdown sweep increased the Steelers lead before Roy Gerela added two field goals from either side of a Broncos touchdown. The Steelers led 19-10 at the half.

With eight minutes remaining of the third quarter and the Broncos pressing, Joe Greene struck. He stuck his hand in front of a Denver 29-yard field goal attempt by Jim Turner. The missed field goal brought an abrupt end to the Broncos momentum.

With Denver’s energy wilting, Bradshaw and the Steelers were able to take over. Bradshaw launched touchdown passes of 45 and 38 yards to John Stallworth and Lynn Swann respectively.

Those two strikes came within 44 seconds of each other. Bradshaw led the team on a drive of 79 yards for the first. On the ensuing kickoff, the Broncos fumbled the return and Pittsburgh’s Dennis Winston recovered to set up the second score.

Harris rushed for 105 yards and Stallworth had 156 yards receiving to ensure a 33-10 Steelers victory.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 33 vs the Denver Broncos 10
Three Rivers Stadium December 30th, 1978; 48,921

Passing: Bradshaw 16-29-2TD-1INT-272
Morton 3-5-0-0-34. Weese 8-16-0-0-118, Dilts 1-1-0-0-16

Rushing: Harris 24-105-2TD, Bleier 8-26, Smith 1-4, Deloplaine 1-4, Thornton 2-4, Moser 2-6, Bradshaw 2-4

Receiving: Stallworth 10-156-1TD, Swann 2-52-1TD, Grossman 4-64

John Stallworth’s 10 completions were an NFL record for a playoff game, excluding conference championships and Super Bowls.

“We went into the game figuring they were going to take away Lynn Swann by double covering him, admitted Terry Bradshaw. “So we intended from the start to get the ball to John. I keep saying he’s as good a receiver as Swann and he showed it today. I had a lot of room and I just kept firing away at them.”

“Terry Bradshaw was incredible. We knew if he got hot we’d be in trouble and he got hot!” observed Denver’s defensive end Lyle Alzado. “That was the best offensive performance against us in the last two years. They’re a better football team, and they’ll probably win the whole thing.”

“We won this time because we have a really great team and because we really wanted to beat them,” said Franco Harris. “I think our only problem would be if we would stop ourselves. If we don’t beat ourselves, we’re going to be tough.

UPI’s game report included this paragraph:

“A year ago the Broncos crushed the Steelers 34-21 in Mile High Stadium. This year the tables were turned in rainy Three Rivers Stadium as Pittsburgh fans decked out in Steelers slickers waved their black, gold and yellow lucky charms. Bathroom linens known as 2terrible towels.”


The Steelers would play host to the Houston Oilers for the Championship game. The Oilers overwhelmed the New England Patriots 31-14. Houston was one of only two teams to beat the Steelers during the regular season in Three Rivers Stadium with a 24-17 victory.

“We’re the better team,” offered Oilers defensive end Elvin Bethea. “We’re going to win. There’s no doubt about it. I’ll go out on a limb and guarantee it with a capital G.”

Oilers cornerback Willie Alexander, who broke his jaw in the previous Steelers game, “We want to play the Pittsburgh Steelers. I know it’ll be a dogfight, but we pride ourselves on intimidating people. I feel we are better than they are.”

“I hope we have enough survivors to play in the Super Bowl if we win,” said Oilers quarterback Dan Pastorini. He broke three ribs in the second game against the Steelers and now wore a flak jacket. “I may have to wear a flak jacket all over my body,” he joked.

“Nothing personal, but we’re going to whomp the heck out of them,” predicted Oilers defensive end Jim Young.

Steelers Mike Webster observed, “Our attitude is we’re not going to be denied.”


“We don’t want to fool anybody. We just want to play well and play hard,” Coach Noll said at his press conference. With a reference to the Steelers regular season win in Houston, the coach continued, “We’re going to have to do it again. Football players win games. Blocking and tackling win games. Special designs don’t mean anything.”

On Houston’s rookie running back Earl Campbell who is averaging 160 yards a game, Noll accepted, “We’re going to have to play very well to stop him. He’s tough to bring down one-on-one. You have to get a number of people there.”

Stopping Campbell will only be part of the test for the Steelers. “The Oilers have thrown the ball well, too,” coach Noll acknowledged. “They’re using (tight end) Mike Barber a lot more. They’re getting the ball to him an increasing number of times.”

Noll said the Steelers would have to stick with a very basic defensive philosophy if they are going to win. “The basic plan is to try to stop the run and force the other team to throw the football. That’s the basic game. The offense comes in and wants to mix up the run and the pass. Our whole concentration is to stop that.

I think our team is a veteran team, an intelligent football team and it knows what it has to do to win. I don’t have to worry about those things.”


“There’s a kind of mutual admiration between the two teams,” offered the Houston Oilers Coach Bum Phillips talking about their AFC Championship foes the Steelers. “For us there is anyway. We respect their players and their coaches and their owners and their management, the Rooneys. There ain’t no man better than Mr. Rooney.”

The respect the two teams have for one another, Philips added, has always shown up in the hard, but cleanly played games between the teams. The Pittsburgh- Houston rivalry was at its best during the regular season when the teams split their division clashes. The Oilers won 24-17 at Three Rivers Stadium before the Steelers lost their only game at home 13-3.

“I thought we could win when we came up there the first time and I think we can win this one,” Phillips said. “We’re playing well right now. We’re playing as well as I’ve seen a team play in some time. We’re playing damn near as well as Pittsburgh.

But I think Pittsburgh is better than it was the years it won the championships. Their passing game is better – a heckuva lot better than when they won their championships. And their running game hasn’t suffered because they still have the same running backs.

Terry Bradshaw uses all of his receivers now instead of just going to Swann like we used to go just to Burrough. He’s going to his backs occasionally and utilising the tight end well. He’s throwing to everyone – except the opposition. He doesn’t throw to them a damn bit.

Nobody else in our division has beaten Pittsburgh up there. We’ve done it twice (in the past two season). The record speaks for itself. Even when they were world champions, there was never a time when we didn’t feel like we could beat them.”


Houston’s center Carl Mauck doesn’t agree with the bookies who made the Steelers favourites for the AFC Championship game. “Betting real money against the Oilers right now is kissing it off into the wind,” Mauck suggested.

“Handicaps are set by people using past yardsticks,” Mauck added. “Those people don’t look at what’s happening now. They use old worn out rules. Those people expect us to fold to the pressure, but we’ve gotten stronger. The Houston Oilers are happening right now. We’re redrawing the curve.

Playoff experience is overrated. A football player faces crucial situations and games all year long. Experience in the playoffs sure didn’t help Miami or New England did it?

We do seem to perform better when we think people are under-rating us or when somebody has said something that has ticked us off.


The NBC crew arrived in Pittsburgh preparing to televise the championship game in freezing conditions. “We have heating pads to put on the camera lenses,” observed one cameraman. “It gets so cold sometimes you don’t care about the game. You lose your concentration and just want the game to end.”

“There are a lot worse places to work,” acknowledged Ted Nathanson, director and producer for NBC Sports, “Chicago, New England and Minnesota.”


“The two best teams are meeting again,” said Joe Greene. “You’ve got all the excitement, all the intensity. All you can ask for is effort. You just put up the big E… All the championship games we’ve been involved in have been like Super Bowls without the fanfare.”

The game would be the first time that two AFC Central teams have played in the AFC title game. The game is so big that Walter Golby, head of Three Rivers Management Corp., let the Steelers paint the NFL and AFC insignias in the end zone. Golby won’t let the Steelers paint the field during the regular season because he fears the painting creates bald spots on the field.

1978 AFC Championship: The Pittsburgh Steelers vs the Houston Oilers

Playing in the rain and cold, the Oilers were never happy in the conditions while the Steelers defense thrived. On the game’s opening play, Jack Ham dumped Houston’s star running back Earl Campbell for a two-yard loss and stamped his authority on the game. The Oilers only gained one yard before punting.

Beginning a drive on their 43, Terry Bradshaw used Franco Harris and Lynn Swann to move the chains with a 7-yard touchdown run from Harris putting the first points on the board. When Ham recovered a Campbell fumble on Houston’s 17, Rocky Bleier finished the short series with a touchdown run of 15 yards.

In the second quarter, Houston could only manage a 19-yard field goal after a fumble from Harris gifted them good field position on the Steelers 19.

Houston struggled on offense and three consecutive Oiler fumbles in less than a minute were seized upon by the Steelers offense. Lynn Swann with a 29-yard catch, John Stallworth with a 17-yard completion and Roy Gerela’s Franco Harris 37-yard field goal increased the Steelers lead to 31-3 at the half.

In the third quarter, Ham continued his supreme performance with an interception that saw the Steelers add another field goal, this one from 22 yards.

The only additional scoring was a safety from the Oilers when linebacker Ted Washington tackled Bleier in the end zone.

Bradshaw, who had been suffering with flu, was pulled ten minutes before the end of the game and replaced by Mike Kruczek.

The fans celebrated by pulling a goal post down. 

The Steelers dominated their opponents with 379 total yards to 142 and with a time of possession of 33:10.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 34 vs the Houston Oilers 5
Three Rivers Stadium January 7th, 1979; 49,917

Passing: Bradshaw 11-19-2TD-2INT-200
Pastorini 12-26-0TD-5INT-96

Rushing: Bleier 10-45-1TD, Harris 20-51-1TD, Bradshaw 7-29, Deloplaine 3-28, Thornton 3-22, Moser 3-7, Kruczek 1-(-3)  

Receiving: Swann 4-98-1TD, Grossman 2-43, Stallworth 1-17-1TD, Bleier 4-42

Terry Bradshaw broke the NFL playoff passing record of Ken Stabler with 2,432 yards and Franco Harris extended the NFL playoff touchdown record to 12.

Jack Ham ended the game with four tackles, a sack, an interception and two fumble recoveries.

Theo Bell set a playoff record with six punt returns for 91 yards. Coach Noll praised the wide receiver, “Bell’s runbacks were a big factor in setting up field position.”

Talking about the previous Steelers Super Bowl teams, Terry Bradshaw suggested, “This team has the ability to be equal to the second one. Our second one was far superior to the first. This one has the potential to be a lot more exciting than the second one.”

“I don’t see how anybody can beat them in the Super Bowl,” said Houston’s quarterback Dan Pastorini.

“A game like this sends you away with a bad taste in your mouth,” suggested Houston’s Coach Bum Phillips. “But overall we had a great season.”


The defending champions Dallas Cowboys won the right to face the Steelers in Super Bowl XIII by shutting out the Los Angeles Rams 28-0 in the NFC Championship game.

After a scoreless first half, Dallas turned a pair of third quarter interceptions by veteran Charles Waters into two touchdowns. They added two touchdowns in the last three minutes including a 68-yard interception return. “The defense did it,” suggested Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach.

“It was a good, alert, tough and aggressive game by our defense,” said Bob Breunig, a 225-pound middle linebackers for the Dallas. “Our pass rush was just individual effort by our defensive line,” Breunig added. “It was timing. We did gamble some with safety blitzes and sometimes they worked and sometimes they didn’t.”

Both the Steelers and the Cowboys own two Lombardi trophies and the winner in Miami would become the first team to win three.

On getting to the Super Bowl, Mike Webster admitted, “This is the biggest thrill of my football life.” Webster had only been a part time player when the Steelers beat the Cowboys in Super Bowl X.

“To get to a Super Bowl is a thrill in itself,” suggested L.C. Greenwood. “This is a business, but it’s a real thrill.”

Dwight White offered, “You don’t play four exhibition games, 16 regular season games and two playoffs games; you don’t do all that to come this far and lose.”

“We’re happy we’re there,” acknowledged Coach Noll. “I think it’s a fun week. There’s no other week in the season like it.”

Looking back on the season, Coach Noll said, “I think our guys had the feeling going into the season that they wanted it very badly. I think sitting out of it a couple of years, being out of it, whets your appetite even more.”

Second year safety Tony Dungy was also in a reflecting mood. “I keep thinking of something Coach Noll said to us two years ago. I remember it was back on the very first day I came here for rookie camp and the coach said, ‘There’s not much difference between the teams in the NFL. So, what we want to do is perfect all the little things so we can be the best.’

That really struck home. Even though we were all rookies, he wasn’t talking about making the team or anything like that; he was talking about winning the whole thing. That really told me something about the Steeler organisation, about how committed it was to winning and being the best.”


In a national poll of 84 sportswriters and broadcasters ( three from each NFL city), Terry Bradshaw was named the Associated Press’ Most Valuable Player for 1978.

Bradshaw edged Houston’s running back Earl Campbell by 36 votes to 33. “Terry’s play and statistics speak for themselves,” said Coach Noll. “He is deserving of any award. The players voted him MVP for two successive seasons and now this honour proves what a great player he is.”

Dick Hoak, Pittsburgh’s backfield coach, added, “Terry has always been an underrated football player. He’s big, he’s strong, he throws as well as anyone and he has matured to become an outstanding quarterback.”

Scalpers were advertising $30 tickets for the game at $200. Flights and four nights in a hotel were being advertised for $389 without a ticket.


“I feel so damn good about this football team,” acknowledged Joe Greene. “I’m just proud to be part of this team. I don’t know if I can carry this emotional high for two weeks. But I won’t worry about it. I catch myself smiling. It feels so good, so good.” Greene added the difference in this team and the previous Steeler title teams is “maturity.”

“If you weigh all the areas, you come out about the same, but the difference is maturity. You grow a helluva lot between 28 and 32. We’re a seasoned team. We’re a little more seasoned, a team with deeper roots.

The Steelers are dangerous. I’m infatuated with us. I’m in awe of our offensive line. I just enjoy watching the guys perform. I’m gonna have fun with he Dallas Cowboys. I’m not predicting victory (but he leaves no doubt he knows what’s gonna happen), but if you can’t talk in the colossal bowl, when can you?”

Tony Dungy, the second-year defensive back added some realism when he said, “I’ve watched all 12 on TV. Chuck Noll’s first talk at the start of the year is that we’ll be shown how to make the Super Bowl. But it is unbelievable that it is here.”


It’s part of the tradition of Super Bowl week when the teams face the media.

“Why do they call you dumb, Terry?” one reporter asked. “I wish I had a few quotes to pass out,” Bradshaw replied. “How would you like to have someone question your intelligence.”

Asked why he doesn’t always wear his Super Bowl ring, Coach Noll replied, “When you shake someone’s hand with it on, it can make you go down to your knees. And pain is something I don’t live with well.”


“I’ve always been a fan of the Steelers,” admitted Tony Dorsett. “I’m still a an of the Steelers. In 1975 I was gung-ho for them. But Dallas was one of my teams, too.

Dorsett, a Pittsburgh native who spent four years at Pitt university said,”This year the shoe’s on the other foot. I hope they play good, but I hope we play a little better.” As a rookie last year, Dorsett gained 1007 yards rushing and led the Cowboys to their second Super Bowl victory. This year, playing in 16 games in the expanded season, he set team records for rushes (290) and yards gained in a season (1,325).

“Last year, I was a little more pumped up, but I get butterflies before every game,” Dorsett acknowledged. “This is going to be a game between a high-powered offense (Dallas) and a hard-nosed defense. The game could bust open, but I don’t think it will.”


At the 1977 NFL winter meeting, the teams voted 21-7 for each team in the Super Bowl to get 20% of the tickets while the host city would get 24%. Each team that didn’t make it would receive an allocation of 1% while the league office get the remaining 10%.


Randy White leads the Dallas defensive front four. In the NFC Championship game, he put the Rams’ running back John Cappelletti out of commission with a separated shoulder with a first-quarter tackle.

In the third period, he side-lined quarterback Pat Haden with a broken thumb. Haden’s hand hit White’s helmet as the defensive player forced an interception tackling him.

The Cowboys’ triumph gave them an eight-game winning streak to take into the Super Bowl.

“Pittsburgh has a solid offensive line, and Bradshaw helps it out with quite a bit of audibilising on the line,” said White. “He gets you in a situation and calls the best plays to run in that situation.

They run a lot of trap plays and influence plays, but you can’t get conservative, you can’t sit back and wait for a play because you might only see it once in a game.

The line has given Bradshaw time to throw and that’s one of the keys to their success. He’s been picking teams apart with his passing game.”


“Winning football is not a game of ups and downs,” Coach Noll once said when explaining his philosophy of winning. “If you have to be ‘up’ to win one game, you’ll be ‘down’ for another, and that’s the game you lose.

The secret of winning,” he added, “is to develop a team that achieves a high level of performance and plays consistently to it.”

The Cowboys are perceived by many to be the most organised, best managed team in football. It was also a description that could be applied to the Steelers.

Where Pittsburgh intimidates, Dallas uses finesse,” offered George Young, the Dolphins pro scout who has charted both the Steelers and Cowboys. “Where Pittsburgh is blood and guts, a go-get-em team, Dallas is more robotised.”


Big screen TVs were in demand as Steeler fans prepared for the big game. The TVs rent for $400 a day during normal times, but that goes up to $600 for the Super Bowl. One downtown firm didn’t have any left to rent, but fans were so desperate to watch the game on a large screen, they club together to purchase one at $2,400. When the Super Bowl is over, they put their names in a hat and draw the winner out.

Rhea’s Bakeries is selling all the Super Bowl cakes it can bake. “I’ve never seen so much enthusiasm over a football team.” The most popular cake is the Terrible Towel model that sells for $10.95.


Ron Johnson was on the threshold of becoming the first rookie to start at corner for a Super Bowl champion. He hasn’t been burnt yet, but believes the Cowboys are going to a take a shot at it. “I really expect that early in the game they’ll be coming towards me.”

Dallas Coach Tom Landry, “Bradshaw’s playing quarterback the way God meant it to be played.” Bradshaw: “Does Tom know God?”

Dallas GM Tex Schramm suggests Sunday’s game is, “the biggest pressure game for us since Super Bowl VI (Cowboys 24-3 win over Miami) because there’s been so much talk about the AFC’s supremacy.

The Miami News ran the above photo left of Jon Kolb with the caption, "Steeler Jon Colb, 6-foot-2, 262 pounds signs an autograph for 7-year old Lana Colton, not so big.


Henderson indicating Dallas to win their thirdThe smile crept across Jack Lambert’s lips and soon his face was creased in something of a grin or as close to one as you’ll get from the linebacker.

Hollywood Henderson (photo left indicating Dallas to win their third Lombardi trophy), Lambert’s opposite number on the Cowboys, had celebrated his arrival in Miami with an outrageous pre-game popoff. Henderson called the Steelers old, tired, without depth. “We’’ shut them out and I’m going to have the final say,” he said. “We’ll going to beat them by a couple of touchdowns.”

Aiming a comment at Terry Bradshaw, Henderson added, “He isn’t too sharp. We’ll be able to trick him by disguising our defenses.”

“I’d like to see somebody try to intimidate the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Lambert. “That really would be interesting.”

Chuck Noll observed, “He must have a need for publicity. We don’t worry about that. I have enormous respect for the Cowboys. Dallas is a great team offensively and defensively. We’ll have to play flawless ball because they do everything so well.”

Coach Noll noted that a two-year absence from football’s biggest game had provided the Steelers with an added incentive during the season. “My team had the desire to get back in it,” he admitted.

Lynn Swann said he was the target of the Cowboys in Super Bowl X. “They tried to intimidate me here three years ago and I wound up MVP.”

“There’s intimidation only in the sense that you go against a club that won’t beat itself, a club you have to go out and beat,” acknowledged Joe Greene. “We are physical and so are they. Which team hits harder? You just can’t say. The way Lambert tackles, the way Mel Blount covers a wide receiver… those things are intimidating. It’s a mental thing, not physical.”

“If a player can be intimidated, he doesn’t belong in this business,” said Mel Blount. “I haven’t played against anybody like that in nine years in this league. Every game is physical. For a big game like the Super Bowl, the intensity is higher though.”


“I wasn’t sure about this club before the playoffs, but now I think this might be a better ball club. Our performance in the last couple of weeks convinced me. We’re more mature and improved in some positions.

You’d have to say Lynn Swann and John Stallworth are better. As much as I respect Ray Mansfield, he never made All-Pro. Mike Webster is in a class by himself.

Bradshaw has had his best season ever. Our offensive line is as good as any. We might have lost a little forcefulness in the front four defensively, but we can still dominate a game as we showed against Denver. I really have a good feeling about this ball club.


“I don’t think I have a reputation for fumbling,” suggested the Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett. “Those things happen. I can give you excuses, but I won’t. Things weren’t going right for the team. Sometimes you lose your concentration. Sometimes you get hit from behind when you are spinning or switching the ball from one hand to the other.

Here, I’m making excuses when I said I wouldn’t.”

The Steelers L.C. Greenwood’s thoughts on Dorsett. “The first thing you’ve got to do is get him down. Then, if we can get to the football, we’ll try and do that. We won’t necessarily worry about him. We can’t put all our concentration on one player. It’s eleven people on each side of the field you know.”


A full player’s share for the winning team will be $18,000 and $9,000 for the losing team. For the entire playoff format, a member of the Super Bowl winning team will have earned $32,000.

The Pittsburgh Steelers vs the Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys took the opening kickoff and raced into Steelers territory on the back of three Tony Dorsett runs for 38 yards. A well disguised double reverse saw Drew Pearson fumble the handoff that John Banaszak recovered for the Steelers for an early turnover.

The Steelers went 53 yards on seven plays including a super 12-yard catch by John Stallworth while Bradshaw was under pressure to get the pass away. Bradshaw converted two third downs before lobbing a 28-yard touchdown pass to Stallworth for the first score.

Two Steelers sacks stopped the Cowboys next series. The Steelers took over on their 31, but Bradshaw threw an interception and the Cowboys were back on offense although Pittsburgh's defense held them to three and out.

On the Steelers next possession, Bradshaw lost the ball when trying to avoid Ed “Too Tall” Jones. This time, the Cowboys took advantage of the turnover. With the last play of the first quarter, Roger Staubach hit Tony Hill on the sideline for a 26-yard touchdown and the game was tied 7-7.

As the defenses dominated, it was another Steelers turnover over that broke the stalemate. The Dallas defense was beginning to apply more and more pressure on Bradshaw. On a third down, Bradshaw scrambled to pick up a ball that had popped loose after the snap. Bradshaw was grabbed by Henderson and Mike Hegman who stole the ball and ran 37 yards for a Dallas touchdown.

The ensuing kickoff saw Pittsburgh begin their possession from the 20. On the third play of the series, Bradshaw found Stallworth on the 35. Stallworth spun free from Aaron Kyle and raced through the Dallas defense for a 75-yard touchdown.

Despite the big offensive plays, both defenses were applying pressure on the quarterbacks. Joe Greene forced a Staubach fumble which Dallas recovered. The Steelers held them to three and out. On Pittsburgh’s next possession, a Bradshaw sack saw their drive come to a halt. The field goal unit came on, but the 51-yard attempt hit the upright.

With the Cowboys pressing on the Steelers 32, Staubach was forced into a throw with Dwight Wight in his face. Mel Blount stepped in front of the intended receiver for the interception. With an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty added to the end of the play, the Steelers began a drive on their 44 with 1:41 remaining in the half.

Using the two-minute drill, Bradshaw hit Lynn Swann with passes of 29 and 21 yards to move the ball to the Cowboys 16.  Three plays later, Bradshaw rolled right and lobbed a high pass into the end zone and a leaping Rocky Bleier plucked it out of the air. The 7-yard touchdown catch gave the Steelers a 21-14 lead at the half.

Bradshaw threw for 253 (229) yards in the first half to set a new Super Bowl record while the Steelers held their opponents to 102 yards of total offense. Stallworth caught three passes for 115 yards only to miss the second half because of leg cramps.

Rocky Bleier hauls in Terry Bradshaw's pass for a touchdown


The Steelers were held to only one first down in the third quarter as the offense initially failed to adjust to Stallworth’s absence. Dallas were more successful moving the ball. Staubach led the Cowboys to the Steelers’ 10, but a wide-open Jackie Smith in the end zone slipped and dropped the pass. Dallas settled for a 27-yard field goal reducing their deficit to four points, but that dropped catch was a game changer.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Steelers began a drive from their 14. Bradshaw connected with Larry Grossman and Swann while Harris complemented the air attack with short runs. A disputed pass interference call placed the ball on the Cowboys 23. Three plays later, Franco Harris burst through the middle of the Dallas defense assisted by a block from Ray Pinney for a 22-yard touchdown.

The Steelers grip on the game tightened after Randy White fumbled the kickoff taking a hit from Tony Dungy. Dennis Winston recovered and one play later, Bradshaw threw over the top of the defensive backs to find Swann with an 18-yard touchdown pass that increased the Steelers lead to 35-17.

Needing three scores in six minutes, Dallas thrilled their fans and the neutrals with a fight back that began on their eleven. They overcame a Staubach sack that lost yards before Dorsett moved the chains with Billy Dupree finishing with a 7-yard touchdown catch.

After the Cowboys onside kick went through Tony Dungy’s hands, Dennis Thurman recovered for Dallas. With a short field in front of him, Staubach led an aerial assault that Butch Johnson’s 9-yard touchdown catch completed to bring the Cowboys within four.

With just 22 seconds left to complete the miracle, the Cowboys onside kick fell into the solid hands of Rocky Bleier and Bradshaw could take a knee to see time expire. The Steelers took the 35-31 victory and became the first team to win three Super Bowls to continue Chuck Noll’s legacy.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 35 vs the Dallas Cowboys 31
January 21, 1979, Orange Bowl;

Passing: Bradshaw 17-30-318-1INT-4TDs
Staubach 17-30-228-1INT-3TDs

Rushing: Harris 20-68-1TD, Bleier 2-3, Bradshaw 2-(-5)
Dorsett 16-96, Staubach 4-37, Laidlaw 3-12, Pearson 1-6, Newhouse 8-3

Receiving: Stallworth 3-115-2TDs, Swann 7-124-1TD, Harris 1-22, Grossman 3-29, Theo Bell 2-21, Bleier 1-7-1TD
Hill 2-49-1TD, D. Pearson 4-73, Johnson 2-30-1TD, Dorsett 5-44, Dupree 2-17-1TD, P. Pearson 2-15,

New Super Bowl records:
Most passing yards – 318 – Terry Bradshaw
Most touchdown passes – 4 – Terry Bradshaw

Terry Bradshaw had his first career 300-yard passing game.

“I wasn’t sure we were in control until I fell on the ball at the end of the game,” Bradshaw admitted.

“I loved it. I can’t believe it,” offered Joe Greene. “It’s kind of unreal, three of ‘em. It took the best to beat the best. They were probably the best competition we’ve had in the Super Bowl. It was truly a Colossal Bowl.”

“They showed me some class,” acknowledged Tony Dorsett. “They’re champions, true champions.”

“Bradshaw and Noll have to go down in the history books as two of the greatest football men in the game,” said Mike Webster. “The Pittsburgh Steelers of the past seven years have to rank with the best teams ever. I don’t think we have peaked. I think we can run better than we did this year and that will make the passing better.”

“I don’t think this team has peaked yet,“ suggested Coach Noll. “I’m looking forward to bigger and better things. I feel we have the capacity offensively to do anything we set out minds to do. I didn’t think they could cover us man-to-man and I still don’t.”

Click on image for a bigger photo

Super Bowl XIII review by Ron Martz of the St. Petersburg Times:

“Finally they played a Super Bowl that was worth all the pre-game hype and was as spectacular as its halftime show. Super Bowl XIII was stylish and sensational, filled with goofs and great plays. It was sixty minutes of the kind of football that the twelve previous games had failed to deliver as the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys battered one another all over the ballyard to the delight of millions.

In the end, it was obvious that the black-shirted Pittsburghers were superior to their computerised cousins from Dallas in a 35-31 affair that sent the pro football championship of the galaxy back to the steel mills for the third time.

But while Super Bowl XIII proved that these season-ending extravaganzas can indeed be super, it also disproved a number of football myths, many of which are mouthed with nauseating regularity.

Myth #1: Terry Bradshaw is dumb.

Hopefully this myth will finally be entombed and forgotten forever. Bradshaw proved that he is no dummy by becoming the first quarterback to win three Super Bowl games without a loss.

“I don’t think I had anything to prove, except that I never did play well against Dallas,” Bradshaw said. “I guess I always tried too hard not to lose to Dallas. I was very conservative. But this year I’ve learned that you don’t play well unless you relax and let your abilities go to work for you. I was going to play my game today. I wasn’t going to let the Super Bowl dictate to me. I was going with what got us here.”

And that leads to myth #2: The best teams are those whose coaches call the plays from the sidelines.

Bradshaw is one of the few quarterbacks in the NFL who calls his own plays and he is one of the most successful, year in and year out. In Super Bowl XIII he showed he was much more in control of the game than Dallas’ computerised sideline assistants.

Dallas made all the dumb calls. Like the reverse deep in Pittsburgh territory early in the game that ended in a Drew Pearson fumble recovered by the Steelers.

Bradshaw made all the right calls. “It was a guessing game out there,” said the Cowboys safety Charlie Waters. “And Bradshaw made all the right guesses. Every time we would guess one thing, he would guess another, and he would be right. He really called a great game.”

Dallas players can only turn and watch as Bradshaw gets his pass away


“It was just too damned long,” Coach Noll commented on the Super Bowl’s halftime show. “And what happened was that it took us too long to get warmed up again. I sort of feel like I’m an advocate of the game. But what’s happening is that it’s gotten to the point where show business is competing with the game. The game is what draws people into the stadium, not the halftime shows.”

“We’re used to about fifteen minutes and then going right back out on the field. This thing dragged on and on,” he said of the Caribbean carnival. A production which employed hundreds of singers, dancers and musicians and lasted well over half an hour.

“We had guys who were kind of champing at the bit to get out of there, to get after it,” Noll added. “The adrenalin goes for only so long. But I guess it was something that couldn’t be helped.

We came out in the second half (leading 21-14) and Dallas made some adjustments defensively. It took us a while to get a feel for what they were doing. They’d been a lot of man-to-man coverage in the first half. Then they went more to the zones.”

Terry Bradshaw finished with 17 completions from 30 passes to set a Super Bowl record of 318 yards and four touchdowns. After hitting 11 of 18 for 253 yards and three touchdowns in the first thirty minutes, he attempted just three passes with one completion for 9 yards in the first 13 minutes of the third quarter as Pittsburgh’s offense spluttered to a crawl.

“I didn’t think we went conservative particularly,” suggested Coach Noll. “We wanted to get the ball moving on the ground, but the Cowboys were doing a good job against the run. We ended up in the first part of the second half with minus yardage when we were trying to run the ball.”

Coach Noll was already looking ahead to the next season. “I think this football team hasn’t reached its potential yet,” Noll said. “I really believe that. I think every area on our football team has proven itself and any help we can get in the draft in the way of competition I think will serve to spur the veterans we have right now.

I think a winning tradition is important and I think it feeds on itself. It’s an added incentive and it helps the young people coming into an organisation.”


Sports Illustrated hosted a celebration at the Duquesne Club to honour the Steelers third Super Bowl victory. To a background of slides from the game, SI publisher Kelson Sutton happily announced the Steelers had appeared on the cover of SI fifteen times, nine more than the Cowboys.

Defensive coordinator George Perles acted as emcee and was happy to admit, “In our seven years of winning, I’ve never enjoyed one more than this. You may have noticed that we don’t play prevent defense very well, but for those people who wanted us to hold them to six, seven, or eleven points, we’re sorry. But it never crossed our minds.

This is really a team. I mean that offensive line – someone sacks Bradshaw and they get as mad as hell. The biggest problem we had on defense was just keeping up with the offense. They would just get so far ahead of us.

You couldn’t believe some of the defense we were playing. It’s stuff you see in high school. It used to be that the defense had to win the game. Now it’s the offense scoring in eight seconds and the defense having to run out the clock.

When you’ve got Bradshaw and those receivers doing what they do, you can’t fight that. All you can do is complement it. The offense has taken our whole program and turned it around.”


Perles reflected on the perceived turning point in Super Bowl XIII when the Cowboys, who had been moving the chains, attempted a trick play only to fumble. The Steelers recovered and Perles believed, “That had as much to do with them losing as anything. They had us on the run, but they gave us a chance to get back and regroup.

I really think their whole philosophy is wrong. I really think they get more satisfaction out of fooling someone than knocking their block off. I personally think they are the biggest bunch of hypocrites that ever hit the pike.

I know one thing. When they come to Pittsburgh to play us in the regular season, it’s gonna be hard for them to swallow. We’re probably lose to them in the exhibition season. But kick the crap out of them in the regular season.”

“Chuck did a great job,” Perles acknowledged when talking about Coach Noll. “One year he comes up with ‘Whatever It Takes.” Then it was the distractions. Now he comes up with ‘we haven’t reached our peak.’ That’s gotta be inscribed on the ring. This guy might be the brightest son of a buck to ever come down the pike. He’s got the players talking about a fourth ring and we haven’t even enjoyed this one.”


“The trouble is you forget about this (the Pro Bowl) after a while,” admitted Roger Staubach. “The Super Bowl is something you remember a long time. This was a fun game, but it was very competitive on the field and it was very nice to win. If we had lost, it would have been tough.”

Staubach led the NFC to a 13-7 win, completing 9 of 15 passes for 125 while Terry Bradshaw was 7 from 17 for 54 yards. The Coliseum played host to 38,333 fans for the end of season game.


Steve Furness was suffering in the cold, snowy suburb of Washington, Pa, unable to enjoy the fruits of the Steelers Super Bowl victory. He was recovering from a broken leg suffered in the final two minutes.

“It’s the pits,” Furness said. “I’ve only been out of the house once in the last week.” He and his wife had to cancel a planned holiday in the sun and were not even due to return home after the game.

Looking back to moment he was injured, Furness said, “I had beaten my man and I was rushing to passer when I saw Preston (Pearson) in the corner of my eye. He had stayed in and when I saw him, I hoped he wouldn’t take me low because he knew me. He didn’t, but the guy I had beaten did a corkscrew roll on my leg from the side.

It was a pretty lousy thing. Those guys don’t usually take shots like that. It’s something you expect from the Cleveland offensive linemen.” He knew it was broken the minute he fell. The only consolation was that he knew he’d won another Super Bowl.

“When I was being carried off, I remembered once talking to O.J. Simpson who said how he’d done everything in football except play in a Super Bowl. And this was my third one. I knew I had the money and the ring again.”

Furness was proud of the way the defense went through the playoffs as a team. “The defense had something to prove,” he said. “I can still remember the start of the Denver game when the Broncos were moving the ball. Jack Lambert was like in a rage in the huddle. He told us to forget the press, forget the fans and just play football.  He was really irritated. Everyone looked at each other. It really inspired them.”

Turning to the Steelers offense, Furness said it was like a dream. “I remember a year or two ago when Terry was throwing interceptions and we’d be standing on the sidelines with our hands over our eyes. But it was just remarkable to watch him this year. We just had a quiet confidence. It’s like a fairy tale. You never think it’s going to happen that way, but it happened for us.”

Dwight White, Joe Greene, Steve Furness and L.C. Greenwood


Chuck Noll is known for avoiding the limelight. His only interest is winning football games. His humility puts his assistant coaches in the shadow and Noll is one of the few successful head coaches who has never seen his assistants move up to a top job.

After winning three Lombardi trophies, Noll decided to reward his coaching staff. He promoted George Perles (picture left) from defensive coordinator to assistant head coach. He became the first assistant head coach in Steelers history and Noll confirmed Perles would be involved with the offense and special teams and help with administrative work.

Woody Widenhofer was moved from linebacker and secondary coach into the vacant defensive coordinator position. Dick Walker, who was a defensive assistant in his first season last year became the secondary coach.

The day-to-day duties of the three coaches wasn’t expected to change much. Noll’s intention was to recognise their contribution to the team’s success.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette suggested there was a perception around the league that Noll does more actual coaching than most head coaches do. He handles jobs that some teams have assistants to oversee – offensive coordinator, quarterback coach and special team’s coach. Noll’s other three coaches are backfield coach Dick Hoak, line coach Rollie Dotsch and receivers coach Tom Moore.

Perles doesn’t agree with that concept and acknowledges Noll delegates a lot of responsibility.


To enable NBC to have some sports to show on a Sunday afternoon after the end of the football season, they held a “Super Teams” event in Hawaii. The Steelers and the Cowboys competed to face the winner of the Yankees and Dodgers in a “final.”

The Steelers lost 5-2, only winning the tandem bike race and volleyball. The teams showed enough competitive spirit that when Tony Dorsett beat Lynn Swann in the obstacle race, the Cowboys bench reacted as though they had won the Super Bowl.


The Steelers increased their ticket price from $9.15 to $11 although the organisation only received $9.77 because the city collects 98 cents in amusement tax and 25 cents as a stadium charge. After going in the red for the 1977 season, the Steelers returned to the black after a successful 1978.


Tom Flores was named the new head coach of the Oakland Raiders to replace John Madden who retired because he was suffering from an ulcer. “I’ll do everything to continue the championship quality of the Oakland Raiders,” said Flores.


Steelers tight end Bennie Cunningham, who suffered a knee injury in October, underwent surgery for cartilage damage at the Divine Providence Hospital.


While the Steelers were promoting some of their assistant coaches, they were losing their director of pro scouting Tim Rooney. The son of the Steelers founder Art Rooney, Tim had been with the team six years leading the organisation’s scouting department.

Rooney became the administrative assistant to Monte Clark, who had just finished his first season as Detroit’s head coach and general manager with a 7-9 record.

“It’s a great opportunity for him,” suggested Dan Rooney of his cousin.

Tim Rooney had given some careful thought about leaving Pittsburgh. “I tried not to make it an emotional decision,” he admitted. “I tried to ask myself questions like, ‘Is the organisation right? Is the coach right? Can they win? What is their philosophy?’”

Having found all the right answers, Rooney admitted, “I’m really excited about it. I’ll be gaining more experience.

The thing about our organisation in Pittsburgh was that it was successful and young. It’s very easy to stay because of the security and the fun of living in your hometown, but I had to say to myself, ‘Do I want to take the chance to widen my horizons?’ I couldn’t say no.”

Tom Modrak, who was employed as an area scout by BLESTO (the scouting organisation), replaced Tim Rooney. Modrak had previously worked for the Steelers as a part-time scout.

Steeler Director of Player Personnel Dick Haley took over Tim Rooney’s administrative duties and would deal with other teams on personnel matters. Haley had joined the Steelers in 1971 from BLESTO.

Haley would also be responsible for contacting other teams when the Steelers were attempting to stockpile draft choices for extra players.


Pittsburgh’s Multiple Sclerosis Society honoured Jack Ham as its “Athlete of the Year.” Andy Russell was the emcee for the event and when he introduced Coach Noll said, “I have all the respect in the world for Chuck Noll because this is the guy who taught us to win. He came here when things were really bad.

We had sort of a racial problem back then, but Chuck said to us at training camp, ‘There aren’t any black or white guys in this camp – you’re all green.’ Then he said, ‘Now all you dark green guys get over there…’”

Coach Noll noted that Ham was quite deserving of the honour thye player received saying, “I think Jack Ham typifies our organisation. I think what sets this team apart is teamwork, a thing that’s now kind of missing in our society. One guy does his share and another guy does his. You can’t spend your time quibbling over whose share is what.”


The downfall of former Steelers quarterback Joe Gilliam continued when he pleaded guilty in Nashville to a charge of possessing heroin. The charge went back to 1976 when Gilliam was arrested after police found a packet of heroin in his jacket pocket.
Gilliam was sentenced to four months in a city jail.



In March 1979, the Pittsburgh Press published an interview they held with the NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle.

Q: What are your feelings on the 16-game regular season schedule and four-game pre-season format after one year?

Profootball Hall of Fame imageRozelle: Most of the comments on it have been good. Some clubs had real difficulties selling preseason games and particularly for those it has been a big help.

The thing I liked about the 16-game schedule the most was the type of schedule it allows us to implement. So much was made about stacking the schedule, but I think going to 16 enabled us to set up a much fairer format.

You had three quarters of the schedule the same as the other teams in your division, which we’ve never had before. Just through regular cycle changes we’ve had some horrible inequities over the years – like a team winning its division and having a much easier schedule the following year just through rotation than the team which finished last in the division.

This way I think there’s more fairness to it. It helps us have more good games both at the gate and for television with more good games at the end. We had those first-place teams playing other firsts and fourths. But there’s still debate among the league about whether you’d want to play those first and fourths or the second and thirds. There’s not much inequity.

Q: Some critics think that mediocrity rather than parity has been reached and that having a 9-7 teams in the playoffs is not the best thing. Has the NFL’s product been diluted at all in your opinion?

Rozelle: I thought that in the 1978 season Pittsburgh and Dallas pretty well proved their superiority. And, if you were in Atlanta or Philadelphia, it was damn exciting. As it was in Houston. They had those teams performing pretty damn well. I saw the Atlanta-Dallas game and they had Dallas in trouble. No, it doesn’t concern me.

Q: What about the addition of Sunday night and Thursday night telecasts? They weren’t overly successful, were they?

Rozelle: Because our Monday nights were so strong, it was said that they didn’t do too well on Sunday nights. But, actually the combination of the three Sundays and Thursday last year were only one rating point below the Monday night average for the season. It’s just that they didn’t go through the roof. This year, we’ll probably try one Sunday and three Thursdays to reverse it and see how it goes. Under our contract with ABC-TV we have the right to go up to six with some rather sizeable payments, but we’re going to hold it to four.

Q: What is the financial situation of the league? Were there any teams in the red last year?

Rozelle: I would say that there were none in the red last years. We had some teams losing money prior, but television corrected that, at least for this period. The TV contract ensured all of the clubs of making a profit in the four-year period of which we have three more years to go.

Q: You have said that 30 teams would be an ideal number for scheduling purposes. Is there any possibility of expansion in the near future?

Rozelle: Not in the immediate future. For at least two years minimum. We’ve been pretty lucky on expansion since Dallas came in 1960 as the thirteenth team. We’ve been able to space it out where you don’t end up with an inordinate number of struggling teams at the same time.
I’m very much pleased with the progress of Seattle and Tampa Bay because a lot of people felt that with the added number of teams participating in the draft it would make it more difficult than in the old days. But, apparently good management, coaching and scouting can still give a club the tools to do it.


For the first time since his auto accident in November 1978, Randy Reutershan would be returning to Pittsburgh. He told the PPG, “I can treat life normally. I’m very lucky.”

Despite suffering a severe head injury, Reutershan was hoping to resume he football career. “My doctor told me he didn’t think playing football would be any problem, but he is leaving it up to the Steelers doctors. He said it wasn’t his decision.”

The Steelers organisation said they would obtain a copy of his medical records and give him an examination this spring to determine if he can play.”

After being drafted in the sixth round of the 1978 draft, Reutershan’s aggression on special teams made an impression that earned him a job. He had no intention of changing his style. “I’m not going to hold back at all. I’ll treat it as if nothing had happened. If something happens, I’m not going to worry about it.”


The NFL owners voted 28-0 to hold Super Bowl XVI in Pontiac, Michigan. “It’s the first time I can remember that the owners ever voted unanimously on anything,” said Art Rooney Sr.

The Pittsburgh Press offered three reasons why the owners turned their backs on the warmer shores of the west coast and Florida:

First, the Pontiac people did an unbelievable job with their presentation, arriving with the Mayor of Detroit and the governor of Michigan and a presentation booklet that contained everything but the average price of two eggs, sausage and toast in a Detroit restaurant.

Secondly, Miami owner Joe Robbie is currently feuding with the Orange Bowl Stadium authority.

Thirdly and most importantly, the old guard of the NFL – owners such as Rooney, Art Modell, George Halas and Ralf Wilson (an AFL pioneer) campaigned hard for the Pontiac. Modell made the strongest please of the voting session pointing out the northern cities were the foundation for the newer, warm-weather franchises. Had the old franchises not withstood the sparse years, the NFL wouldn’t be the dynamic league it evolved into.


The NFL changed the rule on the injured reserve list. Teams are now allowed to bring back three players who had been replaced on injured reserve. The injury must be sufficiently serious to keep a player out for four weeks and the player must have missed four regular season games before he can return to the active roster.

The NFL gave some attention to players’ safety. Players on the receiving team were prohibited from blocking below the waist during kickoffs, punts, and field-goal attempts. Quarterbacks received additional protection with the introduction of a rule where the play is blown dead when a defender has the quarterback in his grasp.

The owners voted 28-0 not to allow instant replay.

Lynn Johnson photo of Terry BradshawBRADSHAW UNDERGOES SURGERY

Bradshaw was back in Pittsburgh at the end of March for surgery on his elbow that he injured in the second Cleveland game when he fell on it. “It didn’t bother my throwing,” he explained. “It only bothered me when I fell on it.”

Bradshaw was not keen on the new in the grasp rule introduced to protect quarterbacks. “If it protects me, I’ll appreciate it. But they’ll be times when I can get loose that they’ll blow the whistle too. They’ll never stop injuries unless they put us in plastic cages.

The rules prohibit a quarterback from breaking away from a tackle. I know that I could break away from tacklers 50 percent of the time. The game’s exciting, why change it?”

“It’s changed my whole life and my whole career,” acknowledged Terry Bradshaw. “It’s the greatest thing that ever happened to me other than meeting my wife.” Bradshaw was the first quarterback in NFL history to win three Super Bowls and he was now reaping the reward with offers to endorse everything from chewing tobacco to hairpieces.

Bradshaw had presented his offensive linemen with oil portraits. “A watch can break down, but a painting lasts a lifetime and you can hang it forever,” he said.

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