1983 Pittsburgh Steelers season

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1983 Pittsburgh Steelers season
Head coach Chuck Noll
General manager Dick Haley
Owner Art Rooney
Home field Three Rivers Stadium
Results
Record 10–6
Division place 1st in AFC Central
Playoff finish Lost Divisional Playoffs (Raiders) 38–10
Pro Bowlers PK Gary Anderson
LB Jack Lambert
C Mike Webster
AP All-Pros Jack Lambert (1st team)
Mike Webster (1st team)
Gary Anderson (2nd team)
Team MVP Gary Anderson
Timeline
Previous season Next season
< 1982 1984 >

By the start of the 1983 season, the Steelers had endured many retirements, they had been forced to adapt to many changes. The Steel Curtain was no more, both from the standpoint of personnel, what with Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood, Dwight White and Ernie Holmes all retired, but also from the fact the scheme had been switched from a 4-3 to the 3-4. But nothing was as dramatic as what they were about to live through for the first time in a very long time. Life without Terry Bradshaw.

In another year, Jack Lambert’s career would be ended by a dislocated big toe, but at this point in franchise history the most important appendage to them was Bradshaw’s right arm. More specifically, his right elbow.

Sometime in the months that would follow the 1983 NFL season, a doctor would perform surgery on that very valuable elbow, but in September 1983, the medical plan agreed to by the Steelers and Bradshaw called for rest and treatment. Several times over the season, the false hope for Bradshaw’s return to the starting lineup would crystallize, but then inevitably it evaporated. Deadlines passed. More deadlines were set. They passed as well. And on and on it went.

The sporting press in Pittsburgh dutifully would attend each practice session from the start of the 1983 season and report the one thing everyone wanted to know, and it usually read like this: Bradshaw didn’t throw today.

Coach Chuck Noll never was one who spent any time worrying – or even talking – about injured players, and so when the Steelers opened their regular season at Three Rivers Stadium against the Denver Broncos and rookie sensation John Elway, it was Cliff Stoudt starting at quarterback and fourth-year pro Mark Malone as the No. 2.

The 1983 Steelers had some talent, but they also had their flaws, and when they turned the ball over and/or were highly penalized they were unable to make the kinds of plays necessary to overcome those things. When they did that – three interceptions vs. Green Bay, five interceptions vs. Detroit on Thanksgiving Day, three fumbles and two interceptions vs. Cincinnati, two interceptions combined with 11 penalties in Cleveland – they lost decisively.

When the Steelers didn’t beat themselves, they were good enough to win 10 games, finish 10-6 and claim the AFC Central Division title over the 9-7 Cleveland Browns. The clincher came in the penultimate game of the regular season, against the New York Jets in what was the final NFL game to be played at Shea Stadium. But to Steelers fans, this was a game that always will be remembered as Terry Bradshaw’s final appearance at quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

That it would be Bradshaw’s last NFL game wasn’t known at the time, but what was known was the Steelers needed a hero because they needed a win. They were a team that started 9-2 but found itself mired in a three-game losing streak that had it reeling at 9-5 and facing back-to-back road trips – at New York and then at Cleveland.

In New York, Bradshaw dragged his 36-year-old right arm out for one grand finale in the media capital of the world. Clearly not himself, Bradshaw still mustered what he had and authored a final great performance.

Bradshaw played two complete series and directed touchdown drives of 77 yards in eight plays and 72 yards in nine plays. He completed 5-of-8 for 77 yards and the two scores – 17 yards to Gregg Garrity and 10 yards to Calvin Sweeney. Above all else, he inspired the team to a 34-7 win that clinched the division championship and a second straight appearance in the playoffs.

But unfortunately for the Steelers, Terry Bradshaw’s 10th trip to the playoffs was only to be as a spectator. He still looked hale and hearty standing there on the sideline of the Los Angeles Coliseum in his uniform, but the self-described gunslinger had no more bullets.[1]

Personnel[edit]

Staff[edit]

1983 Pittsburgh Steelers staff
Front office
  • Chairman of the Board – Arthur J. Rooney
  • President – Daniel M. Rooney
  • Vice President – John R. McGinley
  • Vice President – Arthur J. Rooney, Jr.
  • Controller – Dennis P. Thimons
  • Assistant Controller – Dan Ferens
  • Traveling Secretary – James A. Boston
  • Public Relations Director – Ed Kiely
  • Publicity Director – Joe Gordon
  • Assistant Publicity Director – John Evenson
  • Director of Ticket Sales – Geraldine Glenn
  • Director of Player Personnel – Dick Haley
  • Assistant Director of Player Personnel – William Nunn, Jr.
  • Pro Talent Scout – Tom Modrak
  • Talent Scout – West Coast – Bob Schmitz
  • College Talent Scout – Joe Krupa

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches


Strength and conditioning

  • Conditioning Coach – Jon Kolb
  • Physician, M.D. – Dr. David S. Huber
  • Physician, M.D. – Dr. Anthony P. Yates
  • Physician, Orthopedic – Dr. Paul Steele
  • Neurological Surgery Consultant – Dr. Joseph C. Maroon
  • Dentist – Dr. George P. Boucek
  • Opthalmologist – Dr. Phillip Buzzelli
  • Trainer – Ralph Berlin
  • Assistant Trainer – Gary Stragar
  • Equipment Manager – Anthony Parisi
  • Field Manager – Rodgers Freyvogel
  • Film Director – Bob McCartney
  • Photographers – Harry Homa, Bill Amatucci

[1]

Roster[edit]

1983 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
51 Active, 4 Inactive, Practice squad

Offseason[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Location Time (ET) TV Result Record
1 Sun. Sep. 4 Denver Broncos Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 pm NBC L 14–10 0–1
2 Sun. Sep. 11 at Green Bay Packers Lambeau Field 1:00 pm NBC W 25–21 1–1
3 Sun. Sep. 18 at Houston Oilers Astrodome 1:00 pm NBC W 40–28 2–1
4 Sun. Sep. 25 New England Patriots Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 pm NBC L 28–23 2–2
5 Sun. Oct. 2 Houston Oilers Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 pm NBC W 17–10 3–2
6 Mon. Oct. 10 at Cincinnati Bengals Riverfront Stadium 9:00 pm ABC W 24–14 4–2
7 Sun. Oct. 16 Cleveland Browns Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 pm NBC W 44–17 5–2
8 Sun. Oct. 23 at Seattle Seahawks Kingdome 4:00 pm NBC W 27–21 6–2
9 Sun. Oct. 30 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 pm CBS W 17–12 7–2
10 Sun. Nov. 6 San Diego Chargers Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 pm NBC W 26–3 8–2
11 Sun. Nov. 13 at Baltimore Colts Memorial Stadium 2:00 pm NBC W 24–13 9–2
12 Sun. Nov. 20 Minnesota Vikings Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 pm CBS L 17–14 9–3
13 Thu. Nov. 24 at Detroit Lions Pontiac Silverdome 12:30 pm NBC L 45–3 9–4
14 Sun. Dec. 4 Cincinnati Bengals Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 pm NBC L 23–10 9–5
15 Sat. Dec. 10 at New York Jets Shea Stadium 12:30 pm NBC W 34–7 10–5
16 Sun. Dec. 18 at Cleveland Browns Cleveland Municipal Stadium 1:00 pm NBC L 30–17 10–6

Game summaries[edit]

Week 1 (Sunday September 4, 1983): vs. Denver Broncos[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 0 7 0 7 14
Steelers 0 7 3 0 10

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 pm EDT
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 58,233
  • Referee: Jerry Seeman
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Bob Costas (play by play), Bob Trumpy (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

Week 2 (Sunday September 11, 1983): at Green Bay Packers[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 7 6 3 9 25
Packers 7 7 0 7 21

at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin

  • Game time: 1:00 pm EDT
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 58,144
  • Referee: Fred Silva
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Bob Costas (play by play), Bob Trumpy (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – F. Harris 3 run (Anderson kick)
  • Green Bay – Lofton 71 pass from Dickey (Stenerud kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Stoudt 1 run (kick blocked)
  • Green Bay – Lofton 73 pass from Dickey (Stenerud kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 30
  • Pittsburgh – Pollard 1 run (Anderson kick)
  • Green Bay – Lofton 13 pass from Dickey (Stenerud kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Safety, Kohrs tackled Dickey in end zone

Week 3 (Sunday September 18, 1983): at Houston Oilers[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 6 6 14 14 40
Oilers 7 0 0 21 28

at Astrodome, Houston, Texas

  • Game time: 1:00 pm EDT
  • Game weather: Dome
  • Game attendance: 44,150
  • Referee: Jim Tunney
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Marv Albert (play by play), John Brodie (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

Week 4 (Sunday September 25, 1983): vs. New England Patriots[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Patriots 7 7 7 7 28
Steelers 7 6 0 10 23

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – Sweeney 3 pass from Stoudt (Anderson kick)
  • New England – Weishuhn 27 run with lateral of interception by Nelson (J. Smith kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 20
  • New England – Ramsey 4 pass from Grogan (J. Smith kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 34
  • New England – Collins 4 run (J. Smith kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 28
  • Pittsburgh – Abercrombie 26 pass from Stoudt (Anderson kick)
  • New England – Starring 76 pass from Grogan (J. Smith kick)

Week 5 (Sunday October 2, 1983): vs. Houston Oilers[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Oilers 0 3 7 0 10
Steelers 0 7 0 10 17

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Scoring Drives:

Week 6 (Monday October 10, 1983): at Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

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

at Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – Woods 38 fumble return (Anderson kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 35
  • Cincinnati – Johnson 1 run (Breech kick)
  • Cincinnati – J. Griffin 41 interception return (Breech kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Johnson 34 interception return (Anderson kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Clayton 70 interception return (Anderson kick)

Week 7 (Sunday October 16, 1983): vs. Cleveland Browns[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Browns 3 7 7 0 17
Steelers 20 14 0 10 44

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Scoring Drives:

Week 8 (Sunday October 23, 1983): at Seattle Seahawks[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 7 17 0 3 27
Seahawks 0 0 7 14 21

at Kingdome, Seattle, Washington

Scoring Drives:

Week 9 (Sunday October 30, 1983): vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Buccaneers 6 3 3 0 12
Steelers 0 0 0 17 17

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 pm EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 57,468
  • Referee: Ben Dreith
  • TV announcers: (CBS) Jim Kelly (play by play), John Dockery (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

  • Tampa Bay – FG Capece 26
  • Tampa Bay – FG Capece 49
  • Tampa Bay – FG Capece 27
  • Tampa Bay – FG Capece 28
  • Pittsburgh – Capers 11 pass from Stoudt (Anderson kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 42
  • Pittsburgh – Pollard 2 run (Anderson kick)

Week 10 (Sunday November 6, 1983): vs. San Diego Chargers[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Chargers 0 3 0 0 3
Steelers 17 3 3 3 26

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 pm EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 58,191
  • Referee: Jerry Seeman
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Bob Costas (play by play), Bob Trumpy (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

Week 11 (Sunday November 13, 1983): at Baltimore Colts[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 7 10 0 7 24
Colts 3 3 7 0 13

at Memorial Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland

Scoring Drives:

Week 12 (Sunday November 20, 1983): vs. Minnesota Vikings[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings 7 0 10 0 17
Steelers 7 0 0 7 14

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 pm EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 58,417
  • Referee: Jim Tunney
  • TV announcers: (CBS) Jim Kelly (play by play), John Dockery (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – Cunningham 3 pass from Stoudt (Anderson kick)
  • Minnesota – McCullum 30 pass from Dils (Ricardo kick)
  • Minnesota – Galbreath 6 pass from Dils (Ricardo kick)
  • Minnesota – FG Ricardo 39
  • Pittsburgh – Stoudt 4 run (Anderson kick)

Week 13 (Thursday November 24, 1983): at Detroit Lions[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 3 0 0 3
Lions 17 7 7 14 45

at Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan

  • Game time: 12:30 pm EST
  • Game weather: Dome
  • Game attendance: 77,724
  • Referee: Gene Barth
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Dick Enberg (play by play), Merlin Olsen (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

  • Detroit – Sims 2 run (Murray kick)
  • Detroit – FG Murray 27
  • Detroit – Norris 13 pass from Hipple (Murray kick)
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 38
  • Detroit – Sims 2 run (Murray kick)
  • Detroit – Martin 81 punt return (Murray kick)
  • Detroit – Norris 4 yd pass from Eric Hipple (Murray kick)
  • Detroit – Chadwick 5 pass from Danielson (Murray kick)

Week 14 (Sunday December 4, 1983): vs. Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bengals 14 3 3 3 23
Steelers 0 3 0 7 10

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Scoring Drives:

  • Cincinnati – Johnson 1 run (Breech kick)
  • Cincinnati – Johnson 16 run (Breech kick)
  • Cincinnati – FG Breech 19
  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 48
  • Cincinnati – FG Breech 27
  • Pittsburgh – F. Harris 29 pass from Stoudt (Anderson kick)
  • Cincinnati – FG Breech 32

Week 15 (Saturday December 10, 1983): at New York Jets[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 7 13 7 7 34
Jets 0 0 7 0 7

at Shea Stadium, Flushing, NY

Week 16 (Sunday December 18, 1983): at Cleveland Browns[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 3 7 0 7 17
Browns 9 14 7 0 30

at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

  • Game time: 1:00 pm EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 72,313
  • Referee: Ben Dreith
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Bob Costas (play by play), Bob Trumpy (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 34
  • Cleveland – Belk 64 pass from Sipe (kick failed)
  • Cleveland – FG Bahr 30
  • Cleveland – Holt 3 pass from Sipe (Bahr kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Stoudt 3 run (Anderson kick)
  • Cleveland – Feacher 4 pass from Sipe (Bahr kick)
  • Cleveland – Holt 1 pass from Sipe (Bahr kick)
  • Pittsburgh – F. Harris 2 pass from Malone (Anderson kick)

Standings[edit]

AFC Central
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA
Pittsburgh Steelers(3) 10 6 0 .625 4–2 8–4 355 303
Cleveland Browns 9 7 0 .563 3–3 7–5 356 342
Cincinnati Bengals 7 9 0 .438 4–2 4–8 346 302
Houston Oilers 2 14 0 .125 1–5 1–11 288 460

Playoffs[edit]

Game summary[edit]

AFC Divisional Playoff (Sunday January 1, 1984): at Los Angeles Raiders[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 3 0 7 0 10
Raiders 7 10 21 0 38

at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California

  • Game time: 4:00 pm EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 90,380
  • Referee: Gene Barth
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Dick Enberg (play by play), Merlin Olsen (color commentator)

Against a first-round opponent as formidable as the 1983 Raiders – who would go on to win the Super Bowl in a rout of the Washington Redskins – the Steelers would find themselves woefully short on weapons. Bradshaw’s situation had drawn the most attention, but the 1983 Steelers also were without John Stallworth for the bulk of the season. Franco Harris averaged just 3.6 yards a carry, and after Calvin Sweeney, who led the team with 39 catches, no other wide receiver had even as many as 20.

If anything, the Steelers went to the West Coast for a playoff game against the Raiders on the strength of their defense, a unit that rolled up 50 sacks and 45 takeaways. Cliff Stoudt would finish with 12 touchdown passes as the starting quarterback in 15 games; the Steelers defense scored seven touchdowns itself.

Any hope the Steelers had to upset the 12-4 Raiders rested with its defense, but looming over everything was the specter of the turnovers.

The game was played on Sunday, Jan. 1, and it wasn’t much of one for long, and the fact it wasn’t can be traced to two poor decisions by the Steelers, the first by their coach and the second by their quarterback.

Taking the opening kickoff, the Steelers marched 78 yards in eight plays, but Chuck Noll took the oomph factor out of the whole thing by opting for a field goal on fourth-and-inches from the Raiders goal line. The Steelers defense then forced a Raiders punt, and after Ray Guy pinned the Steelers offense deep in its territory, Stoudt was next in line to make a poor decision.

His out-pattern to Calvin Sweeney on first down was intercepted by Raiders cornerback Lester Hayes and returned 18 yards for a touchdown, and the impact on the respective teams was far more than the seven points it added to the scoreboard.

Hayes’ interception simultaneously inflated the Raiders and deflated the Steelers. The Raiders scored 10 more points before the end of the half, and then 17 more in their first three possessions of the second half.

When the 38-10 debacle was over, the Raiders were on their way to the third Super Bowl championship in their history, while the Steelers were about to embark on life without Terry Bradshaw. This time, permanently.[2]

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – FG Anderson 17
  • Los Angeles Raiders – Hayes 18 interception return (Bahr kick)
  • Los Angeles Raiders – Allen 4 run (Bahr kick)
  • Los Angeles Raiders – FG Bahr 45
  • Los Angeles Raiders – King 9 run (Bahr kick)
  • Los Angeles Raiders – Allen 49 run (Bahr kick)
  • Pittsburgh – Stallworth 58 pass from Stoudt (Anderson kick)
  • Los Angeles Raiders – Hawkins 2 run (Bahr kick)

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1983 Pittsburgh Steelers Media Guide. 
  2. ^ 1983 Pittsburgh Steelers Media Guide. 
  3. ^ 1984 Pittsburgh Steelers Media Guide. 
  4. ^ "http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/pit/1983_roster.htm".