1947 Pittsburgh Steelers season

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1947 Pittsburgh Steelers season
Head coachJock Sutherland
Home fieldForbes Field
Results
Record8–4
Division place2nd NFL Eastern
Playoff finishLost Divisional Playoffs (Eagles) 21–0

The 1947 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the franchise's 15th season in the National Football League (NFL). The team improved on its 1946 record by winning eight games and losing four. This record tied for the lead in the Eastern Division and qualified the Steelers for the franchise's first playoff berth.[1][2][3] It was the Steelers' only postseason appearance before 1972.

It was Jock Sutherland's second and final year as head coach; he died the following April[4][5] after being found wandering around in a field in Kentucky. Once flown back to Pittsburgh, he was diagnosed as having two brain tumors. He only lived a few more days.

Pre-Season Changes[edit]

In 1946, the Steeler offense and defense featured the NFL MVP in the person of Bill Dudley. The West Virginia grad and Army veteran led the NFL in rushing, interceptions, punt returns and all-purpose yards. Despite being wildly popular with fans and fellow players, Dudley and Coach Sutherland could not get along. Ultimately, Dudley asked Art Rooney, Sr. to trade him and the owner reluctantly agreed.

Dudley was traded to the Detroit Lions for Bob Cifers and Paul White. Additionally, the Steelers received the Lions' 1948 first round draft pick. Both White and Cifers had a demonstrable positive effect on the team. Cifers played brilliantly and was one of the top punters in the NFL that year. [6]


Regular season[edit]

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result
1 September 21 Detroit Lions W 17–10
2 September 29 Los Angeles Rams L 48–7
3 October 5 @ Washington Redskins L 27–26
4 October 12 @ Boston Yanks W 30–14
5 October 19 Philadelphia Eagles W 35–24
6 October 26 @ New York Giants W 38–21
7 November 2 @ Green Bay Packers W 18–17
8 November 9 Washington Redskins W 21–14
9 November 16 New York Giants W 24–7
10 November 23 @ Chicago Bears L 49–7
11 November 30 @ Philadelphia Eagles L 21–0
12 December 7 Boston Yanks W 17–7

Playoffs[edit]

Week Date Venue Opponent Result
Division December 21 Forbes Field Philadelphia Eagles L 21–0

The 1947 team was the most successful team in club history to date. It was the Steelers' first playoff appearance, the first time winning more than four games consecutively, and the club posted a franchise-best 8–4 record. Though the Steelers lost the playoff,[3][7][8] fans and players were excited for their future.

However, fate would interrupt again when head coach Jock Sutherland took a trip to visit family in Kentucky. He ran off the road and was found wondering in a muddy field. Flown back to Pittsburgh, Sutherland died four days later on April 11, 1948, due to complications from a brain tumor.[4][5] It was a sudden and disheartening end to a successful period in team history. The Steelers did not play in the postseason again until 1972.

Game summaries[edit]

Week 1[edit]

Sunday, September 21: Detroit Lions

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

at Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 34,691
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

Week 2[edit]

Monday, September 29: Los Angeles Rams

1 2 3 4 Total
Rams 6 14 7 21 48
Steelers 0 7 0 0 7

at Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 35,658
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

Week 3[edit]

Sunday, October 5): Washington Redskins

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 3 7 14 2 26
Redskins 0 7 13 7 27

at Griffith Stadium, Washington, DC

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 36,565
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

Week 4[edit]

Sunday, October 12: Boston Yanks

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 7 7 7 9 30
Yanks 0 0 0 14 14

at Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 18,894
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

Week 5[edit]

Sunday, October 19: Philadelphia Eagles

1 2 3 4 Total
Eagles 10 14 0 7 31
Steelers 7 7 0 21 35

at Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 33,538
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

Week 6[edit]

Sunday, October 26: New York Giants

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 7 17 7 7 38
Giants 0 7 7 7 21

at Polo Grounds, New York, New York

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 41,736
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

Week 7[edit]

Sunday, November 2: Green Bay Packers

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 3 6 7 2 18
Packers 10 0 0 7 17

at Wisconsin State Fair Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 30,073
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

Week 8[edit]

Sunday, November 9: Washington Redskins

1 2 3 4 Total
Redskins 0 7 0 7 14
Steelers 7 7 7 0 21

at Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 36,257
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

Week 9[edit]

Sunday, November 16: New York Giants

1 2 3 4 Total
Giants 0 0 7 0 7
Steelers 3 0 0 21 24

at Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 35,000
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

Week 10[edit]

Sunday, November 23: Chicago Bears

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 7 0 0 7
Bears 7 14 7 21 49

at Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

Scoring Drives:

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 34,142
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

Week 11[edit]

Sunday, November 30: Philadelphia Eagles

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 0 0 0 0
Eagles 7 0 0 14 21

at Shibe Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 37,218
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

Week 12[edit]

Sunday, December 7: Boston Yanks

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

at Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 31,398
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

Post season[edit]

Game summary[edit]

Week 14[edit]

Sunday, December 21: Philadelphia Eagles

1 2 3 4 Total
Eagles 7 7 7 0 21
Steelers 0 0 0 0 0

at Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 2:00 pm EST
  • Game weather: 39 °F (4 °C)
  • Game attendance: 35,729
  • Referee:

Scoring Drives:

Source:[2][3][7][8]

All-Pro Honors[edit]

Standings[edit]

NFL Eastern Division
W L T PCT DIV PF PA STK
Philadelphia Eagles 8 4 0 .667 6–2 308 242 W1
Pittsburgh Steelers 8 4 0 .667 6–2 240 259 W1
Boston Yanks 4 7 1 .364 3–4–1 168 256 L2
Washington Redskins 4 8 0 .333 3–5 295 367 W1
New York Giants 2 8 2 .200 1–6–1 190 309 L1

Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Biederman, Les (December 15, 1947). "Steelers, Eagles in playoff Sunday". Pittsburgh Press. p. 24.
  2. ^ a b Biederman, Les (December 21, 1947). "Eagles given edge over Steelers". Pittsburgh Press. p. 28.
  3. ^ a b c Biederman, Les (December 22, 1947). "Steelers disappoint in grid playoff". Pittsburgh Press. p. 28.
  4. ^ a b Sell, Jack (April 12, 1948). "Jock Sutherland is dead at 59". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 1.
  5. ^ a b "Sutherland rites tomorrow; Steelers to be pallbearers". Pittsburgh Press. April 12, 1948. p. 1.
  6. ^ Starless: The 1947 Pittsburgh Steelers, Steve Massey, 2018
  7. ^ a b "Philadelphia Eagles defeat Steelers for right to play Cards next Sunday". Milwaukee Journal. December 22, 1947. p. 10, part 2.
  8. ^ a b "Philadelphia Eagles win Eastern division of National grid league". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. December 22, 1947. p. 8.
  9. ^ Pro Football Reference 1947 All Pro Team