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View Full Version : A flashback in time for you guys...



Deb
07-28-2007, 11:05 AM
hope it's okay.....found it on someone's myspace
link (http://www.sportingnews.com/archives/superbowl/9.html)




http://i.tsn.com/i/o/s.gif http://i.tsn.com/i/o/vault/superbowl/superbowl_09.jpg
http://i.tsn.com/i/o/s.gif Courtesy of Pittsburgh Steelers http://i.tsn.com/i/o/s.gif
Franco Harris Super Bowl 9:
Rooney Gets His Wish

January 12, 1975 For 42 years mild-mannered Art Rooney had watched his Pittsburgh Steelers compete in the National Football League. As four decades slipped by, he lived in the hope that he could bring a professional football championship to his native city.


At the close of every season, however, the little man with the big heart and the ever-present cigar looked back in disappointment as his team finished down the track. Eleven times they finished last, 10 times they were fourth and six times they came in second. For a man who had made his initial stake in one implausible weekend bonanza at the race track, it was beginning to appear as though the "little people" had deserted forever the non-complaining gentleman who was friend to everybody.


There had been a glimmer of hope in 1972 when the Steelers finished first in their division, their first championship of any kind, only to lose to Miami in the American Football Conference championship game.
And the following year, after qualifying as a wild card team, the Steelers were eliminated by the Raiders in the first round of the playoffs.
Now they were back, bidding for football's brightest bauble, the Vince Lombardi Trophy emblematic of the Super Bowl championship. They had won 10 games, lost three and tied one during the 1974 AFC season before they eliminated Buffalo, 32-14, in the playoffs and then did away with Oakland, 24-13, in the conference title game as Terry Bradshaw engineered three fourth-quarter touchdowns.


The change in Rooney's football fortunes had commenced in 1969 when he hired Chuck Noll as head coach. A native of Cleveland and a graduate of Dayton University, Noll had been a defensive back with the Cleveland Browns for seven years, after which he served as an assistant coach for the San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Colts.
In Noll's three seasons at Baltimore, the Colts had lost only seven games. Noll's familiarity with a winning tradition was a big factor when Dan Rooney, son of the Steelers' owner, interviewed Chuck for the Pittsburgh job.
"I liked his attitude and the way he evaluated our team," reported the young Rooney. Everything he told me about our team was right on target."
Noll entertained no illusions about life with the Steelers. The team had a 2-11-1 record in 1968. In the five preceding years, they had won only 18 games and enjoyed a winning record in only four of the last 19 years. Clearly, the task facing Noll was monumental.


"The Steelers gave me everything I asked for," revealed Noll, noting that the organization, archaic in many facets of its operation prior to his arrival, took one gigantic leap forward by shifting its offices from a tired downtown hotel into spanking new Three Rivers Stadium.


Noll was only 37, but he demonstrated a solid maturity from his first day on the job. The Steelers needed help virtually everywhere and Noll might have succumbed to public clamor by starting his rebuilding program with Terry Hanratty, Notre Dame quarterback and a native of nearby Butler, Pa., as his first choice in the NFL draft.


A one-time defensive player himself, Noll recognized, however, that the Steelers' foremost need was defensive strength and, after conferring with scouting supervisor Art Rooney Jr., he chose instead Joe Greene, 6-4, 270-pound defensive tackle from North Texas State.
Hanratty was No. 2 choice, followed by defensive end L.C. Greenwood of Arkansas AM&N and offensive tackle Jon Kolb from Oklahoma State. The foundation was laid, solidly and wisely.


Noll won his first game as a head coach, defeating Detroit, 16-13, but after that the news was all bad as the Steelers lost 13 games in a row.
"We weren't being blown off the field, we were losing because of our mistakes," Noll summarized later.


The next season, 1969, playing now in the realigned Central Division of the AFC, the Steelers won five games and lost nine. In '71, they were 6-8 and the next season 11-3 as they won the division title.
Following up his initial success in the player draft, Noll selected Bradshaw, the Louisiana Tech quarterback, as first choice in the 1970 draft. Cornerback Mel Blount also was selected that year. Noll selected Jack Ham, Ernie Holmes, Dwight White and Mike Wagner in '72. When the Steelers arrived in New Orleans for their January 12, 1975, Super Bowl engagement with the Minnesota Vikings at Tulane Stadium, seven of their 11 starting defensive players had been acquired via the draft.


Despite the Steelers' 10-3-1 record, their 1974 season had been neither smooth nor straight.
Franco Harris, the third-year running back out of Penn State, gained only 125 yards in the first three games and then sat out the next two with an injury. When he returned to the lineup for the sixth game, Harris was ready to explode. In the last nine games of the regular schedule, he gained 881 yards, finishing with 1,006.


Like Harris, Bradshaw struggled in the early season. The young quarterback was on the bench at season's start as Joe Gilham played a hot passing hand. In six preseason games, Gilliam completed 65 percent of his passes and accounted for 12 touchdowns.


On the sideiines, Bradshaw muttered about the necessity of a balanced attack that blended running and passing.


Eventually, Bradshaw was tapped for regular duty. Immediately, he demonstrated that time on the bench was not without its rewards. The Loulsianian emerged as a take-charge quarterback, prepared to lead the Steelers through the playoffs and into their first Super Bowl.


The Minnesota Vikings, making their third Super Bowl appearance and second in as many years, had won their sixth division title in seven years and then brushed aside St. Louis and Los Angeles en route to New Orleans.
Foremost among the Vikings once more was Fran Tarkenton, the scrambler, who had averaged 5.7 yards on 21 carries and tossed 17 touchdown passes behind a line that allowed only 17 sacks. One of Tarkenton's adversaries would be Greene, who had acquired the unwelcomed and undeserved moniker of "Mean Joe" because of his pursuit of Tarkenton in a hounds-and-hare chase some years earlier.


Tarkenton was with the New York Giants at the time and, as Greene remembered, "I kept chasing him and when I finally hit him I didn't realize he had thrown the ball five minutes before. I got flagged for it and got escorted off the field.


"I had been called 'Mean Joe' before, but this made it even stronger. I prefer Joe," concluded Greene, christened Charles Edward.
In the days preceding the Steelers-Vikings clash, the condition of Tarkenton's shoulder caused some concern among the NFC champions, although Coach Bud Grant conceded that "Francis always has a good game when his arm is sore. He's like all the great ones when they get nicked or have a temperature. They work twice as hard."

DIESELMAN
07-28-2007, 02:21 PM
Thanks Deb! Another great read..:bigthumb:




Tarkenton put it more succinctly. "They deserved to win. They did it. We didn't."
When the victorious Steelers poured into their surprisingly-subdued clubhouse, they found Owner Art Rooney already on hand. "I came down early to make sure my hair was combed," wisecracked the 73-year-old
patriarch.
Bleier, the Vietnam hero with the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, was the first to greet the owner. "Thanks for giving me the chance to play," whispered Bleier from behind an embrace.
"Thanks for being part of the championship team," rejoined Rooney. The tears of both were genuine.
Russell presented the game ball to Rooney, exclaiming, "This one's for The Chief. It's been a long time coming." "Thank you," murmured Rooney. "I'm proud of you and I'm grateful to you."


The Chief=Class act
70's Steelers=Class act

Stlrs4Life
07-28-2007, 04:31 PM
Those were the good ole days! Gosh, I would do just about anything to get back to them days. And not just Steeler wise either, I mean life in general.