1970 Pittsburgh Steelers season

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1970 Pittsburgh Steelers season
Head coach Chuck Noll
Owner Art Rooney
Home field Three Rivers Stadium
Results
Record 5–9
Division place 3rd AFC Central
Playoff finish did not qualify
Pro Bowlers
AP All-Pros none
Team MVP Joe Greene
Timeline
Previous season Next season
< 1969 1971 >

The 1970 Pittsburgh Steelers improved from a league-worst 1–13 record the previous year, finishing with a 5–9 record and third place in the newly formed AFC Central. It was the NFL's weakest division that season, as the Steelers finished three games behind the division-winning Cincinnati Bengals--a team that was only in its third year of existence that season.

Personnel[edit]

Staff[edit]

1970 Pittsburgh Steelers staff
Front office
  • President – Arthur J. Rooney
  • Vice President – John R. McGinley
  • Vice President – Daniel M. Rooney
  • Director of Player Personnel – Arthur J. Rooney, Jr.
  • Public Relations Director – Ed Kiely
  • Ticket Manager – Joseph H. Carr
  • Traveling Secretary – James A. Boston
  • Publicity Director – Joe Gordon
  • Office Manager – Terrence Jacobs
  • Ticket Office Assistant – Arthur Laughlin
  • Assistant Director of Player Personnel – Bill Nunn

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches
  • Defensive Line – Walter Hackett
  • Defensive Backfield – Charlie Sumner


Strength and conditioning

  • Strength Coach – Louis Riecke
  • Team Physician, Orthopedic – Dr. John Best
  • Team Physician, M.D. – Dr. David S. Huber
  • Team Dentist – Dr. Robert Gray
  • Trainer – Ralph Berlin
  • Assistant Trainer – Robert Milie
  • Equipment Manager – Anthony Parisi
  • Field Manager – Jack Hart

[1]

Roster[edit]

1970 Pittsburgh Steelers final roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists



Practice squad

[2] [3] [4]


Rookies in italics
49 Active, 0 Inactive, 5 Practice squad

Offseason[edit]

Changes that occurred the year before continued for 1970.

As a result of the NFL-AFL merger being finalized for the 1970 season, three teams from the "old" NFL were moved to the newly formed AFC alongside the former AFL teams. The Steelers agreed to be one of them after their archrivals, the Cleveland Browns, volunteered to join the AFL franchises in the AFC. The Browns mainly joined because of the possibility of an intrastate rivalry with the AFL's Cincinnati Bengals (now known as the Battle of Ohio), largely due to the animosity at the time between Browns owner Art Modell and Bengals owner & coach Paul Brown, who was fired from the Browns by Modell after the 1962 season. The Steelers joined the AFC in order to keep the Browns-Steelers rivalry alive on a regular basis, due to the proximity of the cities of Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

Another change came in the draft. For the first time since 1956, the Steelers owned the number one selection in the draft after winning a coin toss with the Chicago Bears for the top pick, as the two teams had identical 1–13 records in 1969. (The Steelers would have won the tiebreaker under the modern NFL tiebreaker rules anyway, since the Bears' one win was against the Steelers in week 8 of that season.)

1970 Pittsburgh Steelers draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 1 Terry Bradshaw *   QB Louisiana Tech #12
2 28 Ron Shanklin  WR North Texas #25
3 53 Mel Blount *   CB Southern #47
4 80 Ed George  T Wake Forest
5 105 Jon Staggers  DB Missouri #2
6 132 Manuel Barrera  LB Kansas State
6 155 Clarence Kegler  T South Carolina State
7 157 Terry Brennan  T Notre Dame
8 184 Dave Smith   WR Indiana (Pa.) #88
9 209 Carl Crennel  LB West Virginia
10 236 Isaiah Brown  DB Stanford
11 261 Calvin Hunt  C Baylor Though Drafted by the Steelers,

Hunt debuted for the Eagles in 1970

12 288 Rick Sharp  DT Washington #73
13 313 Billy Main  RB Oregon State
14 340 Bert Askson  LB Texas Southern #76
15 365 Glen Keppy  DT Wisconsin–Platteville
16 392 Frank Yanossy  DT Tennessee
17 417 Harry Key  TE Mississippi Valley State
      Made roster    †   Pro Football Hall of Fame    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career

In the 1970 NFL Draft, only two Hall of Famers were selected in all 17 Rounds and 442 Picks. One being 1st Round, 1st Pick selection Terry Bradshaw, and the second being 3rd Round, 53rd Pick Mel Blount. Bradshaw would later become a Hall of Fame Inductee in 1989, and Blount became an inductee in 1989 as well. Also, both players were part of the 70s Steeler Dynasty. In his 14 year professional career, Bradshaw got off on a bumpy start from 1970-1975. Bradshaw threw a career high 24 interceptions and only 6 touchdown passes. In wasn't until 1976 when Bradshaw's career had began to peak. Blount's career was an overall consistent one. In 1975, he intercepted 11 passes for 121 yards.

In 1966, the NFL agreed on a merger with the rival AFL (American Football League). In 1970, the merger became final, as a result of the merger, the AFC (American Football Conference) featuring all the AFL teams and the NFC (National Football Conference) featuring all the "old" NFL teams. Two teams from the NFL were asked to join the AFL in the AFC, the Baltimore Colts, and the Cleveland Browns (the Browns owner, Art Modell asked the NFL Commissioner, Pete Rozelle if he could join to play the Cincinnati Bengals in the Battle of Ohio). Upon hearing this, Art Rooney (Steelers Owner) asked Rozelle if he could join to keep the Steelers-Browns rivalry alive. So, the Steelers would begin playing in the AFC and would leave the Eagles rivalry and many others they had playing the NFC teams. Also, the Steelers moved into the then state-of-the-art, Three Rivers Stadium and left Pitt Stadium. The new Three Rivers was one of the many "cookie-cutter" stadiums across the league and became an icon to Pittsburgh.

The opening of Three Rivers ended their relatively brief stay at Pitt Stadium, where they had only been playing at on a full-time basis for six years. Before that, the Steelers played most of their home games at Forbes Field, with occasional games being played at Pitt Stadium to take advantage of the larger capacity. The Steelers later returned the favor to the University of Pittsburgh in 2000 when the Pitt Panthers football team moved into Three Rivers for one season as an interim home before Heinz Field was ready in 2001. Pitt would also play their Backyard Brawl games against West Virginia in years Pitt hosted the game during the existence of Three Rivers.

WTAE-TV sportscaster Myron Cope joined the Steelers radio network as color commentator for the 1970 season. Cope remained a fixture of the Steelers radio network through the 2004 season and became beloved by fans due to his enthusiasm and catchphrases behind the announcing booth. In 1975, Cope invented the Terrible Towel, originally conceived as a gimmick in the Steelers playoff game against Baltimore and now a staple among Steelers fans.

Regular season[edit]

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result
1 September 20, 1970 Houston Oilers L 19–7
2 September 27, 1970 at Denver Broncos L 16–13
3 October 3, 1970 at Cleveland Browns L 15–7
4 October 11, 1970 Buffalo Bills W 23–10
5 October 18, 1970 at Houston Oilers W 7–3
6 October 25, 1970 at Oakland Raiders L 31–14
7 November 2, 1970 Cincinnati Bengals W 21–10
8 November 8, 1970 New York Jets W 21–17
9 November 15, 1970 Kansas City Chiefs L 31–14
10 November 22, 1970 at Cincinnati Bengals L 34–7
11 November 29, 1970 Cleveland Browns W 28–9
12 December 6, 1970 Green Bay Packers L 20–12
13 December 13, 1970 at Atlanta Falcons L 27–16
14 December 20, 1970 at Philadelphia Eagles L 30–20

Game summaries[edit]

Week 1 (Sunday September 20, 1970): Houston Oilers[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Oilers 7 7 2 3 19
Steelers 0 0 0 7 7

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 45,538
  • Referee: Walt Fitzgerald
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

Steelers play first regular season game at new stadium. Terry Bradshaw makes NFL debut a bad one going 4 for 16 for 40 yds. Terry Bradshaw would also be caught for safeties in his first three games. The team would start their season 0–1.

Week 2 (Sunday September 27, 1970): Denver Broncos[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 10 3 0 13
Broncos 7 0 9 0 16

at Mile High Stadium, Denver, Colorado

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 50,705
  • Referee: Jack Vest
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

With the loss, the Steelers fell to 0–2.

Week 3 (Saturday October 3, 1970): Cleveland Browns[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 7 0 0 7
Browns 2 0 13 0 15

at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 84,349
  • Referee: George Rennix
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

With the loss, the Steelers fell to 0–3.

Week 4 (Sunday October 11, 1970): Buffalo Bills[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 3 0 7 0 10
Steelers 3 7 3 10 23

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 42,140
  • Referee: Bernie Ulman
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

The Steelers would get their very first win in the "new" NFL improving to 1–3.

Week 5 (Sunday October 18, 1970): Houston Oilers[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 7 0 0 7
Oilers 3 0 0 0 3

at the Houston Astrodome, Houston, Texas

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 42,799
  • Referee: Bob Finley
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

With the win, the Steelers improved to 2–3 and split the regular season series with the Oilers.

Week 6 (Sunday October 25, 1970): Oakland Raiders[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 7 7 0 14
Raiders 7 17 7 0 31

at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 54,423
  • Referee: Norm Schachter
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

In the first in what would become many regular and postseason games between these 2 teams, the Steelers would lose the very first game to the Raiders as the team dropped to 2–4.

Week 7 (Monday November 2, 1970): Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bengals 0 7 3 0 10
Steelers 0 7 0 14 21

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 38,968
  • Referee: Fred Swearingen
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

The Steelers won the very first game between them and the Bengals and the teams' record improved to 3–4.

Week 8 (Sunday November 8, 1970): New York Jets[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Jets 3 0 7 7 17
Steelers 7 7 7 0 21

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 50,028
  • Referee: Walt Fitzgerald
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

With the win, the Steelers improved to 4–4.

Week 9 (Sunday November 15, 1970): Kansas City Chiefs[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Chiefs 3 7 7 14 31
Steelers 0 0 7 7 14

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 50,081
  • Referee: John McDonough
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

With the loss, the Steelers fell to 4–5.

Week 10 (Sunday November 22, 1970): Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 0 7 0 7
Bengals 6 7 7 14 34

at Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 59,276
  • Referee: Jack Reader
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

In their first ever game in Cincinnati, the Steelers would lose it by 27 points as the team dropped to 4–6.

Week 11 (Sunday November 29, 1970): Cleveland Browns[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Browns 3 3 3 0 9
Steelers 7 7 7 7 28

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 50,214
  • Referee: Ben Dreith
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

With the win, the Steelers improved to 5–6 and finished 3–3 in their division.

Week 12 (Sunday December 6, 1970): Green Bay Packers[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Packers 6 0 7 7 20
Steelers 3 0 6 3 12

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 46,418
  • Referee: Norm Schachter
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

Week 13 (Sunday December 13, 1970): Atlanta Falcons[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 6 10 0 0 16
Falcons 7 3 10 7 27

at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 54,162
  • Referee: Jack Vest
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

Week 14 (Sunday December 20, 1970): Philadelphia Eagles[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 7 7 3 6 23
Eagles 6 14 0 7 27

at Franklin Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 55,252
  • Referee: Bob Finley
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – Fuqua 72 run (Watson kick) PIT 7–0
  • Philadelphia – Hawkins 21 pass from Snead (kick failed) PIT 7–6
  • Philadelphia – Dirks recovered blocked kick in end zone (Moseley kick) PIT 13–7
  • Pittsburgh – Fuqua 85 run (Watson kick) PIT 14–13
  • Philadelphia – Ballman 19 pass from Snead (Moseley kick)PHI 20–14
  • Pittsburgh – FG Watson 21 PHI 20–17
  • Pittsburgh – FG Watson 17 T 20–20
  • Pittsburgh – FG Watson 18 PIT 23–20
  • Philadelphia – Watkins 1 run (Moseley kick) PHI 27–23

Standings[edit]

AFC Central
W L T PCT PF PA STK
Cincinnati Bengals 8 6 0 .571 312 255 W-7
Cleveland Browns 7 7 0 .500 286 265 W-1
Pittsburgh Steelers 5 9 0 .357 210 272 L-3
Houston Oilers 3 10 1 .231 217 352 L-3

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1970 Pittsburgh Steelers Media Guide. 
  2. ^ 1970 Pittsburgh Steelers Media Guide. 
  3. ^ 1971 Pittsburgh Steelers Preseason Prospectus. 
  4. ^ "http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/pit/1970_roster.htm".