|1974 Pittsburgh Steelers season|
|Head coach||Chuck Noll|
|General manager||Daniel M. Rooney|
|Home field||Three Rivers Stadium|
|Division place||1st AFC Central|
|Playoff finish||Won Divisional Playoffs (Bills) 32-14|
Won AFC Championship (at Raiders) 24-13
Won Super Bowl IX (vs. Vikings) 16-6
|Team MVP||Glen Edwards|
|Team ROY||Jack Lambert|
The 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the franchise's 42nd in the National Football League. They improved to a 10-3-1 record and culminated in a Super Bowl championship. The team became the first in the Steelers' 42-year history to win a league title following the franchise's greatest playoff run to that point.
After 2 playoff appearances, the Steelers appeared to be in great shape after finishing the preseason as the only undefeated team in the NFL. After two straight games, the Steelers scored over 50 points and were 1-0-1. However, the Steelers couldn't beat the Raiders at home. Steelers starting quarterback at the time, Joe Gilliam's play continually deteriorated. By Week 7, the Steelers were 4-1-1 and Gilliam was benched for Terry Bradshaw during a win against the Falcons. Bradshaw won the next two games, but after a loss in Cincinnati, Noll benched Bradshaw again. This time he was benched in favor of Terry Hanratty (who was selected in the 1969 Draft). Hanratty however, played horribly in Cleveland. The offense was in a struggle, but the Steelers had won those tough games behind the still maturing Steel Curtain defense. When Bradshaw was brought back into the lineup, the Steelers beat the Browns and the Saints (a game that Bradshaw ran more than he passed). After a loss to Houston, the Steelers would play the most important game of the season in New England. With a win against the Patriots, the Steelers would clinch the AFC Central and appear in their third straight playoff appearance. But they didn't have to worry. The Steelers dominated them and then beat the Bengals and awaited the playoffs.
In the Divisional Round Playoff Game, the Steelers would play the Bills. Sports Illustrated's Dan Jenkins felt that Pittsburgh was "the only team to reach the playoffs without a quarterback". However, the Steelers would dominate Buffalo and hold O.J. Simpson to 49 yards rushing (it was O.J.'s only playoff game appearance).
In the 1974 AFC Championship Game, the Steelers would play an old foe, the Raiders. Each year, the rivalry was escalating: in 1972, the Steelers won in Pittsburgh; in 1973, the Raiders returned the favor in Oakland. However, the Steelers were ready for anything the Raiders could throw at them. Using the new "Stunt 4-3 defense" the Steelers held the Raiders to 29 yards rushing as the Steelers themselves ran for over 200 yards in Oakland. After a Franco Harris touchdown run, the Steelers clinched their first Super Bowl appearance in club history (and their first league championship appearance).
In Super Bowl IX, the Steelers and the Vikings had a hard time in the rough conditions at old Tulane Stadium. After many exchanges of punts, the Steelers finally scored a safety on a bobbled handoff by Fran Tarkenton. The score at the half was 2-0. The Steel Curtain continually dominated the Vikings. While coach Bud Grant tried to run at the strength of the Steel Curtain, they were shut down. The only points Minnesota managed to squeeze off was a blocked punt (the extra point was blocked). After the MVP performance by Franco Harris, the Steelers came away with a 16-6 victory over the Vikings. It was the first league title in Steelers history.
During the 1974 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers would draft WR Lynn Swann in Round 1, LB Jack Lambert in Round 2, WR John Stallworth in Round 4, and C Mike Webster in Round 5. All four would later be inducted into the Pro-Football Hall of Fame. By 2014, the 1974 Steelers are the only team in history to select four such players in one single draft alone.
|1974 Pittsburgh Steelers draft|
|1||21||Lynn Swann +||WR||USC||given #88|
|2||46||Jack Lambert +||LB||Kent State||1974 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, given #58|
|4||82||John Stallworth +||WR||Alabama A&M||given #82|
|4||100||Jimmy Allen||DB||UCLA||given #45|
|5||125||Mike Webster +||C||Wisconsin||Alternated with Ray Mansfield for the rest of Ray's career, given #52|
|6||149||Jim Wolf||DE||Prairie View A&M||given #62|
|6||150||Rick Druschel||Guard||North Carolina State||given #46|
|7||165||Allen Sitterle||T||North Carolina State|
|7||179||Scott Garske||TE||Eastern Washington|
|9||223||Tommy Reamon||RB||Missouri||played for the WFL in 1974|
|9||229||Charlie Davis||DT||TCU||given #77|
|10||243||Jim Kregel||G||Ohio State|
|13||333||Frank Kolch||QB||Eastern Michigan|
|15||387||Larry Hunt||DT||Iowa State|
|17||437||Larry Moore||DE||Angelo State|
|Pro Football Hall of Fame Made at least one Pro Bowl during careerMade roster|
In the 1974 Preseason, the Steelers became 6-0 and were the only undefeated team in the NFL. However, most of the talk was centered around the NFL's first successful black quarterback, Joe Gilliam. Chuck Noll did start Gilliam in the preseason and after it ended, Chuck Noll would start him for the 1974 season. Gilliam's stellar performance in the '74 preseason did however spark the quarterback controversy in Pittsburgh.
|1||Sat. August 3||Tulane Stadium||@||New Orleans Saints||W 26-7||1-0|
|2||Mon, August 12||Three Rivers Stadium||Chicago Bears||W 50-21||2-0|
|3||Sat. August 17||Veterans Stadium||@||Philadelphia Eagles||W 33-30 (OT)||3-0|
|4||Sat. August 24||Three Rivers Stadium||New York Giants||W 17-7||4-0|
|5||Fri. August 30||RFK Stadium||@||Washington Redskins||W 21-19||5-0|
|6||Thu. September 5||Texas Stadium||@||Dallas Cowboys||W 41-15||6-0|
|1||Sun. September 15||Three Rivers Stadium||Baltimore Colts||W 30-0||1-0||NBC|
|2||Sun. September 22||Mile High Stadium||@||Denver Broncos||T 35-35 (OT)||1-0-1||NBC|
|3||Sun. September 29||Three Rivers Stadium||Oakland Raiders||L 0-17||1-1-1||NBC|
|4||Sun. October 6||Astrodome||@||Houston Oilers||W 13-7||2-1-1||NBC|
|5||Sun. October 13||Arrowhead Stadium||@||Kansas City Chiefs||W 34-24||3-1-1||KDKA|
|6||Sun. October 20||Three Rivers Stadium||Cleveland Browns||W 20-16||4-1-1||NBC|
|7||Mon. October 28||Three Rivers Stadium||Atlanta Falcons||W 24-17||5-1-1||ABC|
|8||Sun. November 3||Three Rivers Stadium||Philadelphia Eagles||W 27-0||6-1-1||CBS|
|9||Sun. November 10||Riverfront Stadium||@||Cincinnati Bengals||L 10-17||6-2-1||NBC|
|10||Sun. November 17||Cleveland Municipal Stadium||@||Cleveland Browns||W 26-16||7-2-1||NBC|
|11||Mon. November 25||Tulane Stadium||@||New Orleans Saints||W 28-7||8-2-1||ABC|
|12||Sun. December 1||Three Rivers Stadium||Houston Oilers||L 10-13||8-3-1||NBC|
|13||Sun. December 8||Schaefer Stadium||@||New England Patriots||W 21-17||9-3-1||NBC|
|14||Sat. December 14||Three Rivers Stadium||Cincinnati Bengals||W 27-3||10-3-1||NBC|
|Divisional||Sun. December 22||Three Rivers Stadium||Buffalo Bills||W 32-14||11-3-1||NBC|
|Conference||Sun. December 29||Oakland Coliseum||Oakland Raiders||W 24-13||12-3-1||NBC|
|Super Bowl IX||Sun. January 12||Old Tulane Stadium||Minnesota Vikings||W 16-6||13-3-1||NBC|
Defense & Fumbles