1972 Pittsburgh Steelers season

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1972 Pittsburgh Steelers season
Head coach Chuck Noll
Owner Art Rooney
Home field Three Rivers Stadium
Results
Record 11–3
Division place 1st AFC Central
Playoff finish Won Divisional Playoffs (Raiders) 13–7
Lost AFC Championship (Dolphins) 21–17
Pro Bowlers
AP All-Pros
Team MVP Franco Harris

The 1972 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the team's 40th in the National Football League.

The team posted a record of 11–3 in 1972, and won their first-ever AFC Central Division title. It was the team's third-ever postseason appearance, its first postseason appearance in ten seasons (the Playoff Bowl for third place in the league), and only its second playoff game since 1947. This season is famous for the Immaculate Reception, where the Steelers beat the Oakland Raiders in the playoffs 13-7 on a last second touchdown by Franco Harris.

The rebuilding of the franchise that began in 1969 with the hiring of Chuck Noll finally came to fruition in his fourth year. After winning only one game in his first year in 1969 the team that showed steady improvement broke through in 1972 and made the playoffs for the first time since 1947. The division title was the first in team history, as was the appearance in the AFC Championship game which they lost to the undefeated Miami Dolphins 21-17. It was the first of 8 straight playoff appearances for the Steelers that led to 4 Super Bowl Championships.

Offseason[edit]

NFL Draft[edit]

1972 Pittsburgh Steelers draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 13 Franco Harris *   RB Penn State
2 38 Gordon Gravelle  OT BYU
3 63 John McMakin  TE Clemson
4 80 Lorenzo Brinkley  DB Missouri
4 88 Ed Bradley  LB Wake Forest
5 113 Steve Furness  DE Rhode Island
6 143 Dennis Meyer  DB Arkansas State
7 159 Joe Colquitt  DE Kansas State
7 168 Robert Kelly  DB Jackson State
8 193 Stahle Vincent  RB Rice
9 217 Don Kelley  DB Clemson
10 243 Bob Brown  DT Tampa
11 273 Joe Gilliam  QB Tennessee State
12 298 Ron Curl  OT Michigan State
13 323 Ernie Messmer  OT Villanova
14 348 Tommy Durrance  RB Florida
15 368 John Hulecki  OG UMass
15 373 Charles Harrington  OG Witchita State
16 403 Nate Hawkins  WR UNLV
17 428 Ron Linehan  LB Idaho
      Made roster    †   Pro Football Hall of Fame    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career

[1]

Roster[edit]

1972 Pittsburgh Steelers final roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists



Practice squad

Head coach
Assistant coaches


Rookies in italics
Active, Inactive, Practice squad

Depth chart[edit]

Staff[edit]

Preseason[edit]

Schedule[edit]

Game summaries[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result
1 September 17, 1972 Oakland Raiders W 34–28
2 September 24, 1972 at Cincinnati Bengals L 15–10
3 October 1, 1972 at St. Louis Cardinals W 25–19
4 October 8, 1972 at Dallas Cowboys L 17–13
5 October 15, 1972 Houston Oilers W 24–7
6 October 22, 1972 New England Patriots W 33–3
7 October 29, 1972 at Buffalo Bills W 38–21
8 November 5, 1972 Cincinnati Bengals W 40–17
9 November 12, 1972 Kansas City Chiefs W 16–7
10 November 19, 1972 at Cleveland Browns L 26–24
11 November 26, 1972 Minnesota Vikings W 23–10
12 December 3, 1972 Cleveland Browns W 30–0
13 December 10, 1972 at Houston Oilers W 9–3
14 December 17, 1972 at San Diego Chargers W 24–2

Game summaries[edit]

Week 1: vs. Oakland Raiders[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Raiders 0 7 0 21 28
Steelers 14 3 10 7 34
  • References: [1]

The Steelers were able to start off against the Raiders at home scoring 17 unanswered points (2TDs/PATs and a FG) and eventually ended up defeating the team by 6 for a 34–28 victory and a 1–0 start.

Week 2: at Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 10 0 0 10
Bengals 3 0 6 6 15
  • References: [2]

Week 3: at St. Louis Cardinals[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 3 12 0 10 25
Cardinals 0 6 6 7 19
  • References: [3]

Week 4: at Dallas Cowboys[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 6 7 0 0 13
Cowboys 3 7 7 0 17
  • References: [4]

Week 5: vs. Houston Oilers[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Oilers 7 0 0 0 7
Steelers 0 10 7 7 24
  • References:[5]

Week 6: vs. New England Patriots[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Patriots 0 0 3 0 3
Steelers 10 7 13 3 33
  • References: [6]

Week 7: at Buffalo Bills[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 17 7 14 38
Bills 0 0 7 14 21
  • References: [7]

Week 8: vs. Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bengals 0 0 14 3 17
Steelers 10 16 7 7 40

Week 9: Kansas City Chiefs[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Chiefs 0 7 0 0 7
• Steelers 0 0 3 13 16

Scoring Drives:

  • Kansas City – Kearney 65 interception return (Stenerud kick) – Chiefs 7–0
  • Pittsburgh – FG Gerela 25 – Chiefs 7–3
  • Pittsburgh – FG Gerela 10 – Chiefs 7–6
  • Pittsburgh – FG Gerela 49 – Steelers 9–7
  • Pittsburgh – Harris 7 run (Gerela kick) – Steelers 16–7

Week 10: Cleveland Browns[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 3 7 7 7 24
• Browns 10 10 3 3 26

Scoring Drives:

Week 11: Minnesota Vikings[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings 3 0 0 7 10
• Steelers 7 0 3 13 23

Scoring Drives:

  • Minnesota – FG Cox 24 – Vikings 3–0
  • Pittsburgh – Harris 12 run (Gerela kick) – Steelers 7–3
  • Pittsburgh – FG Gerela 17 – Steelers 10–3
  • Minnesota – Voigt 5 pass from Tarkenton (Cox kick) – Tie 10–10
  • Pittsburgh – Bradshaw 1 run (kick blocked) – Steelers 16–10
  • Pittsburgh – Lewis 17 pass from Bradshaw (Gerela kick) – Steelers 23–10

Week 12: Cleveland Browns[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Browns 0 0 0 0 0
• Steelers 3 7 7 13 30

Franco Harris breaks Jim Brown's record for consecutive 100 yd games.

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – FG Gerela 19 – Steelers 3–0
  • Pittsburgh – Harris 1 run (Gerela kick) – Steelers 10–0
  • Pittsburgh – Harris 11 run (Gerela kick) – Steelers 17–0
  • Pittsburgh – McMakin 78 pass from Bradshaw (Gerela kick) – Steelers 24–0
  • Pittsburgh – FG Gerela 44 – Steelers 27–0
  • Pittsburgh – FG Gerela 37 – Steelers 30–0

Week 13: Houston Oilers[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• Steelers 3 0 6 0 9
Oilers 0 3 0 0 3
  • Date: December 10
  • Location: Houston Astrodome
  • Game attendance: 36,528
  • Referee: John McDonough

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – FG Gerela 24 – Steelers 3–0
  • Houston – FG Butler 34 – Tie 3–3
  • Pittsburgh – FG Gerela 39 – Steelers 6–3
  • Pittsburgh – FG Gerela 13 – Steelers 9–3

Week 14: San Diego Chargers[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• Steelers 7 7 3 7 24
Chargers 2 0 0 0 2

The Pittsburgh Steelers clinched their first AFC Central Division title (the day before the game Frank Sinatra is inducted into Franco's Italian Army).

Scoring Drives:

  • San Diego – Safety, Costa tackled Bradshaw in end zone – Chargers 2–0
  • Pittsburgh – Harris 2 run (Gerela kick) – Steelers 7–2
  • Pittsburgh – Fuqua 2 run (Gerela kick) – Steelers 14–2
  • Pittsburgh – FG Gerela 24 – Steelers 17–2
  • Pittsburgh – Shanklin 17 pass from Bradshaw (Gerela kick) – Steelers 24–2

Standings[edit]

AFC Central
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
Pittsburgh Steelers 11 3 0 .786 4–2 9–2 343 175 W4
Cleveland Browns 10 4 0 .714 5–1 9–2 268 249 W2
Cincinnati Bengals 8 6 0 .571 3–3 6–5 299 229 W1
Houston Oilers 1 13 0 .071 0–6 1–10 164 380 L11

Postseason[edit]

Game summaries[edit]

Divisional: vs. Oakland Raiders[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Raiders 0 0 0 7 7
Steelers 0 0 3 10 13

AFC Championship: vs. Miami Dolphins[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• Dolphins 0 7 7 7 21
Steelers 7 0 3 7 17

References[edit]