1968 Pittsburgh Steelers season

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1968 Pittsburgh Steelers season
Head coach Bill Austin
Home field Pitt Stadium
Results
Record 2–11–1
Division place 4th NFL Century
Playoff finish did not qualify
Pro Bowlers
AP All-Pros Roy Jefferson (2nd team)
Timeline
Previous season Next season
< 1967 1969 >

The 1968 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the team's 36th in the National Football League.

1968 continued the team's descent in the NFL's basement, finishing with a league-worst 2–11–1 record and the dismissal of head coach Bill Austin at the end of the season, leading to the eventual hiring of Chuck Noll.

The season is notable in that the Steelers had their last tied game before the NFL adopted the overtime rule in regular season games in 1974 in Week 9 against the St. Louis Cardinals in a 28–28 stalemate; that game actually was the deciding game in the NFL Century Division that season, as the Cardinals had swept the Cleveland Browns but ended up finishing the season 9–4–1, 1/2 game behind the 10–4 Browns. Since that game, the Steelers have only had two tied games, both happening after the overtime rule took effect.

In addition, the Steelers lost to the Baltimore Colts at home 41–7 in Week 3, as the Colts would go on to play in Super Bowl III, in which they were upset by the AFL's New York Jets. After that loss, the Steelers would go another 40 years before losing to the Colts at home again, winning 12 straight (including three postseason meetings, among them the now-famous 1995 AFC Championship game as well as the 1975 Divisional Playoff Game that saw the introduction of the Terrible Towel) before losing to the now-Indianapolis Colts 24–20 on November 10, 2008.[1]

Offseason[edit]

No major player transactions happened in the offseason, although the team would draft Notre Dame running back Rocky Bleier with their last pick (16th round) in the 1968 draft. Bleier's drafting by the team was mainly at the insistence of Steelers owner Art Rooney, who thought Bleier was Catholic for attending Notre Dame, even though Bleier was actually Presbyterian. Bleier would play ten games for the Steelers before being drafted again—this time by the military to fight in Vietnam. Despite being wounded the following summer, Bleier would go on to be a major contributor to the Steelers' success in the 1970s.

The most notable offseason change happened with the team's uniforms. After just two seasons, the team ditched the so-called "Batman"-themed uniforms and adopted a modified version of their pre-1966 black design for both jerseys. The team brought back the Northwestern-style stripes on the sleeves, but put a white stripe in between each gold stripe on the black jerseys and black trim on each of the stripes on the white jerseys. The team also adopted white numbers on the home jerseys (the lone carryover from the "Batman" jerseys), while the team retained the gold pants from the "Batman" uniforms as well as the team's helmet, which was adopted in 1963. Save for briefly wearing white pants with the white jerseys in the early 1970s as well as some minor modifications in 1997, these uniforms remain in use as of 2009.

Regular season[edit]

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Time (ET) Result
1 September 15, 1968 New York Giants L 34–20
2 September 22, 1968 at Los Angeles Rams L 45–10
3 September 29, 1968 Baltimore Colts L 41–7
4 October 5, 1968 at Cleveland Browns L 31–24
5 October 13, 1968 at Washington Redskins L 16–13
6 October 20, 1968 New Orleans Saints L 16–12
7 October 27, 1968 Philadelphia Eagles W 6–3
8 November 3, 1968 at Atlanta Falcons W 41–21
9 November 10, 1968 at St. Louis Cardinals T 28–28
10 November 17, 1968 Cleveland Browns L 45–24
11 November 24, 1968 San Francisco 49ers L 45–28
12 December 1, 1968 St. Louis Cardinals L 20–10
13 December 8, 1968 at Dallas Cowboys L 28–7
14 December 15, 1968 at New Orleans Saints L 24–14

Game summaries[edit]

Week 1 (Sunday September 15, 1968): New York Giants[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Giants 7 21 0 6 34
Steelers 13 7 0 0 20

at Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 45,698
  • Referee: Bernie Ulman
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

Week 2 (Sunday September 22, 1968): Los Angeles Rams[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 3 7 0 0 10
Rams 7 24 7 7 45

at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 49,647
  • Referee: George Rennix
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

Week 3 (Sunday September 29, 1968): Baltimore Colts[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Colts 3 21 3 14 41
Steelers 0 0 0 7 7

at Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 44,480
  • Referee: Jim Tunney
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

Week 4 (Saturday October 5, 1968): Cleveland Browns[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 3 7 0 7 17
Browns 7 10 7 14 38

at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 81,865
  • Referee: Fred Swearingen
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

Week 5 (Sunday October 13, 1968): Washington Redskins[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 10 0 3 13
Redskins 6 3 7 0 16

at D.C. Stadium, Washington, DC

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 50,659
  • Referee: Norm Schachter
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

Week 6 (Sunday October 20, 1968): New Orleans Saints[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Saints 3 7 3 3 16
Steelers 0 6 6 0 12

at Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 32,303
  • Referee: Bud Brubaker
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • New Orleans – FG Durkee 23 0–3
  • New Orleans – Wheelwright 1 run (Durkee kick)0–10
  • Pittsburgh – Gros 2 run (kick failed)6–10
  • Pittsburgh – Hoak 71 run (kick failed)12–10
  • New Orleans – FG Durkee 37 12–13
  • New Orleans – FG Durkee 31 12–16

Week 7 (Sunday October 27, 1968): Philadelphia Eagles[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Eagles 0 3 0 0 3
Steelers 0 0 0 6 6

at Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 26,908
  • Referee: Jim Tunney
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Philadelphia – FG Baker 38 0–3
  • Pittsburgh – FG Lusteg 34 3–3
  • Pittsburgh – FG Lusteg 15 6–3
  • This game was dubbed the "O.J. Bowl" as it was rumored that the losing team would get to draft O.J. Simpson. He would eventually be drafted by the Buffalo Bills.

Week 8 (Sunday November 3, 1968): Atlanta Falcons[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 14 7 13 7 41
Falcons 0 0 7 14 21

at Atlanta Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 47,727
  • Referee: George Rennix
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – Jefferson 27 pass from Shiner (Lusteg kick)7–0
  • Pittsburgh – Jefferson 61 pass from Shiner (Lusteg kick)14–0
  • Pittsburgh – Shy 3 run (Lusteg kick)21–0
  • Pittsburgh – Jefferson 9 pass from Shiner (Lusteg kick)28–0
  • Pittsburgh – Gros 1 run (kick blocked)34–0
  • Atlanta – Ogden 29 pass from Berry (Etter kick)34–7* Atlanta – Harris 55 pass from Berry (Etter kick)34–14
  • Pittsburgh – Jefferson 38 pass from Nix (Lusteg kick)41–14
  • Atlanta – Long 24 pass from Berry (Etter kick)41–21

Week 9 (Sunday November 10, 1968): St. Louis Cardinals[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 14 7 7 0 28
Cardinals 0 0 21 7 28

at Busch Memorial Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 45,432
  • Referee: Norm Schachter
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – Hoak 30 pass from Shiner (Lusteg kick)7–0
  • Pittsburgh – Jefferson 80 punt return (Lusteg kick)14–0
  • Pittsburgh – Gros 21 pass from Shiner (Lusteg kick)21–0
  • St. Louis – Williams 71 pass from Hart (Bakken kick)21–7
  • St. Louis – Williams 11 pass from Hart (Bakken kick)21–14
  • St. Louis – Conrad 80 pass from Hart (Bakken kick)21–21
  • Pittsburgh – Jefferson 52 pass from Shiner (Lusteg kick)28–21
  • St. Louis – Roland 1 run (Bakken kick)28–28

Week 10 (Sunday November 17, 1968): Cleveland Browns[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Browns 14 10 0 14 38
Steelers 7 3 0 21 31

at Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 41,572
  • Referee: Fred Swearingen
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Cleveland – Kelly 7 run (Cockroft kick)0–7
  • Pittsburgh – Wilburn 10 pass from Shiner (Lusteg kick)7–7
  • Cleveland – Green 62 pass from Nelsen (Cockroft kick)7–14
  • Pittsburgh – FG Lusteg 13 10–14
  • Cleveland – Green 11 pass from Nelsen (Cockroft kick)10–21
  • Cleveland – FG Cockroft 27 10–24
  • Cleveland – Morin 2 pass from Nelsen (Cockroft kick)17–24
  • Pittsburgh – May 27 interception (Lusteg kick)24–24
  • Cleveland – Warfield 36 pass from Ryan (Cockroft kick)24–31
  • Pittsburgh – Wilburn 19 pass from Shiner (Lusteg kick)31–31
  • Cleveland – Harraway 33 pass from Ryan (Cockroft kick)31–38

Week 11 (Sunday November 24, 1968): San Francisco 49ers[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
49ers 14 21 3 7 45
Steelers 7 7 0 14 28

at Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 21,408
  • Referee: Tommy Bell
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • San Francisco – Willard 1 run (Davis kick)0–7
  • Pittsburgh – Jefferson 10 pass from Shiner (Lusteg kick)7–7
  • San Francisco – Willard 3 run (Davis kick)7–14
  • San Francisco – Crow 54 pass from Brodie (Davis kick)7–21
  • Pittsburgh – Kotite 20 pass from Shiner (Lusteg kick)14–21
  • San Francisco – Lewis 16 pass from Brodie (Davis kick)14–28
  • San Francisco – Alexander 66 interception return (Davis kick)14–35
  • San Francisco – FG Davis 15 14–38
  • Pittsburgh – Kotite 4 pass from Shiner (Lusteg kick)21–38
  • Pittsburgh – Jefferson 5 pass from Shiner (Lusteg kick)28–38
  • San Francisco – Belk 6 interception return (Davis kick)28–45

Week 12 (Sunday December 1, 1968): St. Louis Cardinals[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Cardinals 3 0 0 17 20
Steelers 7 3 0 0 10

at Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 22,682
  • Referee: Bernie Ulman
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – Hoak 1 run (Lusteg kick)7–0
  • St. Louis – FG Bakken 22 7–3
  • Pittsburgh – FG Lusteg 24 10–3
  • St. Louis – Smith 34 run (Bakken kick) 10–10
  • St. Louis – FG Bakken 16 10–13
  • St. Louis – Edwards 1 run (Bakken kick)10–20

Week 13 (Sunday December 8, 1968): Dallas Cowboys[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 7 0 0 7
Cowboys 7 14 0 7 28

at Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 55,069
  • Referee: Bud Brubaker
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Dallas – Baynham 5 pass from Meredith (Clark kick)0–7
  • Dallas – Hayes 90 punt return (Clark kick)0–14
  • Dallas – Hayes 53 pass from Meredith (Clark kick)0–21
  • Pittsburgh – Hilton 37 pass from Shiner (Lusteg kick)7–21
  • Dallas – Rentzel 65 pass from Meredith (Clark kick)7–28

Week 14 (Sunday December 15, 1968): New Orleans Saints[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 7 0 0 7 14
Saints 7 14 0 3 24

at Tulane Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 66,131
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • New Orleans – Lorick 22 pass from Kilmer (Durkee kick)0–7
  • Pittsburgh – Jefferson 55 pass from Shiner (Lusteg kick)7–7
  • New Orleans – McCall 25 pass from Kilmer (Durkee kick)7–14
  • New Orleans – Brown 53 punt return (Durkee kick)7–21
  • New Orleans – FG Durkee 31 7–24
  • Pittsburgh – Wilburn 17 pass from Nix (Lusteg kick)14–24

Standings[edit]

NFL Century
W L T PCT PF PA STK
Cleveland Browns 10 4 0 .714 394 273 L1
St. Louis Cardinals 9 4 1 .692 325 289 W4
New Orleans Saints 4 9 1 .308 246 327 W1
Pittsburgh Steelers 2 11 1 .154 244 397 L5

References[edit]