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 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

The 1983 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the franchise’s 51st season in the National Football League. They were good enough to win ten games 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.

Offseason[edit]

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. However, 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 season, 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 after 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 crystallized and then 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:

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.

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.

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
  • Ophthalmologist – 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

Preseason[edit]

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Game Site Kickoff (ET) TV Result Record
1 Saturday, July 30 vs. New Orleans Saints Fawcett Stadium (Canton, Ohio) 2:00 p.m. ABC W 27–14 1–0
2 Saturday, August 6 vs. New England Patriots Neyland Stadium (Knoxville, Tennessee) 7:30 p.m. WPXI W 27–16 2–0
3 Friday, August 12 New York Giants Three Rivers Stadium 8:00 p.m. ABC L 22–13 2–1
4 Saturday, August 20 at Dallas Cowboys Texas Stadium 9:00 p.m. NBC W 24–7 3–1
5 Thursday, August 25 at Philadelphia Eagles Veterans Stadium 7:30 p.m. WPXI W 10–3 4–1

Regular season[edit]

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Game Site Kickoff (ET) TV Result Record
1 Sunday, September 4 Denver Broncos Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 p.m. NBC L 14–10 0–1
2 Sunday, September 11 at Green Bay Packers Lambeau Field 1:00 p.m. NBC W 25–21 1–1
3 Sunday, September 18 at Houston Oilers Astrodome 1:00 p.m. NBC W 40–28 2–1
4 Sunday, September 25 New England Patriots Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 p.m. NBC L 28–23 2–2
5 Sunday, October 2 Houston Oilers Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 p.m. NBC W 17–10 3–2
6 Monday, October 10 at Cincinnati Bengals Riverfront Stadium 9:00 p.m. ABC W 24–14 4–2
7 Sunday, October 16 Cleveland Browns Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 p.m. NBC W 44–17 5–2
8 Sunday, October 23 at Seattle Seahawks Kingdome 4:00 p.m. NBC W 27–21 6–2
9 Sunday, October 30 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 p.m. CBS W 17–12 7–2
10 Sunday, November 6 San Diego Chargers Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 p.m. NBC W 26–3 8–2
11 Sunday, November 13 at Baltimore Colts Memorial Stadium 2:00 p.m. NBC W 24–13 9–2
12 Sunday, November 20 Minnesota Vikings Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 p.m. CBS L 17–14 9–3
13 Thursday, November 24 at Detroit Lions Pontiac Silverdome 12:30 p.m. NBC L 45–3 9–4
14 Sunday, December 4 Cincinnati Bengals Three Rivers Stadium 1:00 p.m. NBC L 23–10 9–5
15 Saturday, December 10 at New York Jets Shea Stadium 12:30 p.m. NBC W 34–7 10–5
16 Sunday, December 18 at Cleveland Browns Cleveland Municipal Stadium 1:00 p.m. NBC L 30–17 10–6

Week 1: vs. Denver Broncos[edit]

Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers
1 2 34Total
Broncos 0 7 0714
Steelers 0 7 3010

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Date: September 4, 1983
  • Game time: 1:00 pm EDT
  • Game weather: 80 °F or 26.7 °C (Drizzle)
  • Game attendance: 58,233
  • Referee: Jerry Seeman
  • TV announcers (NBC): Bob Costas (play by play), Bob Trumpy (color commentator)
  • [5]

Week 2: at Green Bay Packers[edit]

Pittsburgh Steelers at Green Bay Packers
1 2 34Total
Steelers 7 6 3925
Packers 7 7 0721

at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin

  • Date: September 11, 1983
  • Game time: 1:00 pm EDT
  • Game weather: 60 °F (15.6 °C), wind 11 miles per hour (18 km/h; 9.6 kn)
  • Game attendance: 58,144
  • Referee: Fred Silva
  • TV announcers (NBC): Bob Costas (play by play), Bob Trumpy (color commentator)
  • [6]

Week 3: at Houston Oilers[edit]

Pittsburgh Steelers at Houston Oilers
1 2 34Total
Steelers 6 6 141440
Oilers 7 0 02128

at Astrodome, Houston, Texas

  • Date: September 18, 1983
  • 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)
  • [7]

Week 4: vs. New England Patriots[edit]

New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers
1 2 34Total
Patriots 7 7 7728
Steelers 7 6 01023

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Date: September 25, 1983
  • Game time: 1:00 pm EDT
  • Game weather: 71 °F or 21.7 °C (Mostly Cloudy)
  • Game attendance: 55,282
  • Referee: Jerry Markbreit
  • TV announcers (NBC): Dick Enberg (play by play), Merlin Olsen (color commentator)
  • [8]

Week 5: vs. Houston Oilers[edit]

Houston Oilers at Pittsburgh Steelers
1 2 34Total
Oilers 0 3 7010
Steelers 0 7 01017

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Date: October 2, 1983
  • Game time: 1:00 pm EDT
  • Game weather: 73 °F or 22.8 °C (Cloudy)
  • Game attendance: 56,901
  • Referee: Dick Jorgensen
  • TV announcers (NBC): Don Criqui (play by play), Ahmad Rashād (color commentator)
  • [9]

Week 6: at Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
1 2 34Total
Steelers 7 3 01424
Bengals 0 14 0014

at Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati

  • Date: October 10, 1983
  • Game time: 9:00 pm EDT
  • Game weather: 56 °F (13.3 °C), wind 10 miles per hour (16 km/h; 8.7 kn)
  • Game attendance: 56,086
  • Referee: Pat Haggerty
  • TV announcers (ABC): Frank Gifford (play by play), Don Meredith & O.J. Simpson (color commentators)
  • [10]

Week 7: vs. Cleveland Browns[edit]

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
1 2 34Total
Browns 3 7 7017
Steelers 20 14 01044

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Date: October 16, 1983
  • Game time: 1:00 pm EDT
  • Game weather: 73 °F or 22.8 °C (Mostly Cloudy)
  • Game attendance: 59,263
  • Referee: Bob McElwee
  • TV announcers (NBC): Charlie Jones (play by play), Bob Griese (color commentator)
  • [11]

Week 8: at Seattle Seahawks[edit]

Pittsburgh Steelers at Seattle Seahawks
1 2 34Total
Steelers 7 17 0327
Seahawks 0 0 71421

at Kingdome, Seattle

Week 9: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers[edit]

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Pittsburgh Steelers
1 2 34Total
Buccaneers 6 3 3012
Steelers 0 0 01717

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Date: October 30, 1983
  • Game time: 1:00 pm EST
  • Game weather: 57 °F or 13.9 °C (Cloudy)
  • Game attendance: 57,468
  • Referee: Ben Dreith
  • TV announcers (CBS): Jim Kelly (play by play), John Dockery (color commentator)
  • [13]

Week 10: vs. San Diego Chargers[edit]

San Diego Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers
1 2 34Total
Chargers 0 3 003
Steelers 17 3 3326

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Date: November 6, 1983
  • Game time: 1:00 pm EST
  • Game weather: 57 °F or 13.9 °C (Partly Cloudy)
  • Game attendance: 58,191
  • Referee: Jerry Seeman
  • TV announcers (NBC): Bob Costas (play by play), Bob Trumpy (color commentator)
  • [14]

Week 11: at Baltimore Colts[edit]

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Colts
1 2 34Total
Steelers 7 10 0724
Colts 3 3 7013

at Memorial Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland

  • Date: November 13, 1983
  • Game time: 2:00 pm EST
  • Game weather: 38 °F (3.3 °C), wind 9 miles per hour (14 km/h; 7.8 kn)
  • Game attendance: 57,319
  • Referee: Jerry Markbreit
  • TV announcers (NBC): Merle Harmon (play by play), Jim Turner (color commentator)
  • [15]

Week 12: vs. Minnesota Vikings[edit]

Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers
1 2 34Total
Vikings 7 0 10017
Steelers 7 0 0714

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Date: November 20, 1983
  • Game time: 1:00 pm EST
  • Game weather: 63 °F or 17.2 °C (Light Rain)
  • Game attendance: 58,417
  • Referee: Jim Tunney
  • TV announcers (CBS): Jim Kelly (play by play), John Dockery (color commentator)
  • [16]

Week 13: at Detroit Lions[edit]

Pittsburgh Steelers at Detroit Lions
1 2 34Total
Steelers 0 3 003
Lions 17 7 71445

at Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan

  • Date: November 24, 1983
  • 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)
  • [17]

Week 14: vs. Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers
1 2 34Total
Bengals 14 3 3323
Steelers 0 3 0710

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Date: December 4, 1983
  • Game time: 1:00 pm EST
  • Game weather: 44 °F or 6.7 °C (Fog & Light Drizzle)
  • Game attendance: 55,832
  • Referee: Red Cashion
  • TV announcers (NBC): Charlie Jones (play by play), Bob Griese (color commentator)
  • [18]

Week 15: at New York Jets[edit]

1 2 34Total
Steelers 7 13 7734
Jets 0 0 707

at Shea Stadium, Flushing, New York

In New York, Terry 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.

However, unfortunately for the Steelers, Terry Bradshaw’s tenth trip to the playoffs would be only 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.[19]

Week 16: at Cleveland Browns[edit]

1 2 34Total
Steelers 3 7 0717
Browns 9 14 7030

at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

  • Date: December 18, 1983
  • Game time: 1:00 pm EST
  • Game weather: 18 °F (−7.8 °C), wind 11 miles per hour (18 km/h; 9.6 kn), wind chill 6 °F or −14.4 °C
  • Game attendance: 72,313
  • Referee: Ben Dreith
  • TV announcers (NBC): Bob Costas (play by play), Bob Trumpy (color commentator)
  • [20]

Standings[edit]

AFC Central
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
Pittsburgh Steelers(3) 10 6 0 .625 4–2 8–4 355 303 L1
Cleveland Browns 9 7 0 .563 3–3 7–5 356 342 W1
Cincinnati Bengals 7 9 0 .438 4–2 4–8 346 302 L1
Houston Oilers 2 14 0 .125 1–5 1–11 288 460 L1

Playoffs[edit]

AFC Divisional Playoff: at Los Angeles Raiders[edit]

Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Raiders
1 2 34Total
Steelers 3 0 7010
Raiders 7 10 21038

at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles

  • Date: January 1, 1984
  • Game time: 4:00 pm EST
  • Game weather: 61 °F (16.1 °C), wind 6 miles per hour (9.7 km/h; 5.2 kn)
  • Game attendance: 90,380
  • Referee: Gene Barth
  • TV announcers (NBC): Dick Enberg (play by play), Merlin Olsen (color commentator)
  • [21]

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, January 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]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1983 Pittsburgh Steelers Media Guide.
  2. ^ 1983 Pittsburgh Steelers Media Guide.
  3. ^ 1984 Pittsburgh Steelers Media Guide.
  4. ^ "1983 Pittsburgh Steelers". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2014-12-23.
  5. ^ Pro Football Reference Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers – September 4th, 1983
  6. ^ Pro Football Reference Pittsburgh Steelers at Green Bay Packers – September 11th, 1983
  7. ^ Pro Football Reference Pittsburgh Steelers at Houston Oilers – September 18th, 1983
  8. ^ Pro Football Reference New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers – September 25th, 1983
  9. ^ Pro Football Reference Houston Oilers at Pittsburgh Steelers – October 2nd, 1983
  10. ^ Pro Football Reference Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals – October 10th, 1983
  11. ^ Pro Football Reference Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers – October 16th, 1983
  12. ^ Pro Football Reference Pittsburgh Steelers at Seattle Seahawks – October 23rd, 1983
  13. ^ Pro Football Reference Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Pittsburgh Steelers – October 30th, 1983
  14. ^ Pro Football Reference San Diego Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers – November 6th, 1983
  15. ^ Pro Football Reference Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Colts – November 13th, 1983
  16. ^ Pro Football Reference Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers – November 20th, 1983
  17. ^ Pro Football Reference Pittsburgh Steelers at Detroit Lions - November 24th, 1983
  18. ^ Pro Football Reference Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers - December 4th, 1983
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ Pro Football Reference Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns – December 18th, 1983
  21. ^ Pro Football Reference Divisional Round - Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Raiders - January 1st, 1984