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1970 Pittsburgh Steelers season: Wikis

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1970 Pittsburgh Steelers season
Head coach Chuck Noll
Home field Three Rivers Stadium
Results
Record 5-9
Place 3rd AFC Central
Playoff finish did not qualify
Pro Bowlers Joe Greene
Roy Jefferson
Bobby Walden
Team MVP Joe Greene
Timeline
Previous season Next season
1969 1971

The 1970 Pittsburgh Steelers looked to improve from their league-worst 1-13 record from the previous year.

While work would still need to be done, the Steelers did improve somewhat on the field, finishing with a 5-9 record and third place in the newly-formed AFC Central. It was the NFL's weakest division that season, as the Steelers only finished three games behind the division-winning Cincinnati Bengals--a team that was only in their third year of existence that season.

Contents

Offseason

The big changes that occurred the year before continued for 1970.

As a result of the NFL-AFL merger being finalized for the 1970 season, three teams from the "old" NFL were moved to the newly-formed AFC alongside the former AFL teams. The Steelers agreed to be one of them after their archrivals, the Cleveland Browns, volunteered to join the AFL franchises in the AFC. The Browns mainly joined because of the possibility of an intrastate rivalry with the AFL's Cincinnati Bengals (now known as the Battle of Ohio), largely due to the animosity at the time between Browns owner Art Modell and Bengals owner & coach Paul Brown, who was infamously fired from the Browns by Modell after the 1962 season. The Steelers joined the AFC in order to keep the Browns-Steelers rivalry alive on a regular basis, due to the proximity of the cities of Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

Another change came in the draft. For the first time since 1956, the Steelers owned the number one selection in the draft after winning a coin toss with the Chicago Bears for the top pick, as the two teams had identical 1-13 records in 1969. (The Steelers would've won the tiebreaker by modern NFL tiebreaker rules anyways, since the Bears' one win was against the Steelers in week 8 of that season.) Despite having selected Butler, Pennsylvania native Terry Hanratty the year before, the Steelers went with the consensus number one pick and selected Louisiana Tech quarterback Terry Bradshaw with the top pick. Later in the draft, the Steelers would select Southern University cornerback Mel Blount with their third round pick. Both Bradshaw and Blount would be key members of the Steelers' Super Bowl teams, and are now members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The final change for 1970 was planned years in advance, even if the Steelers didn't get the number one pick or if they had decided to stay with the "old" NFL teams to form the NFC: their home venue. The Steelers moved into the brand-new Three Rivers Stadium at the start of the season, the latest of the so-called "cookie-cutter" stadiums to open at the time. The Steelers lost to the Houston Oilers 19-7 in the first football game in the stadium, which had just opened that summer for the National League's Pittsburgh Pirates.

The opening of Three Rivers ended their relatively brief stay at Pitt Stadium, where they had only been playing at on a full-time basis for six years. Before that, the Steelers played most of their home games at Forbes Field, with occasional games being played at Pitt Stadium to take advantage of the larger capacity. The Steelers later returned the favor to the University of Pittsburgh in 2000 when the Pitt Panthers football team moved into Three Rivers for one season as an interim home before Heinz Field was ready in 2001. Pitt would also play their Backyard Brawl games against West Virginia in years Pitt hosted the game during the existence of Three Rivers.

WTAE-TV sportscaster Myron Cope would join the Steelers radio network as color commentator for the 1970 season. Cope would remain a fixture of the Steelers radio network through the 2004 season and would become beloved by fans due to his enthusiasm and catchphrases behind the announcing booth. In 1975, Cope would invent the Terrible Towel, originally conceived as a gimmick in the Steelers playoff game against Baltimore but now a staple among Steelers fans.

Regular season

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Schedule

Week Date Opponent Result
1 September 20, 1970 Houston Oilers L 19-7
2 September 27, 1970 at Denver Broncos L 16-13
3 October 3, 1970 at Cleveland Browns L 15-7
4 October 11, 1970 Buffalo Bills W 23-10
5 October 18, 1970 at Houston Oilers W 7-3
6 October 25, 1970 at Oakland Raiders L 31-14
7 November 2, 1970 Cincinnati Bengals W 21-10
8 November 8, 1970 New York Jets W 21-17
9 November 15, 1970 Kansas City Chiefs L 31-14
10 November 22, 1970 at Cincinnati Bengals L 34-7
11 November 29, 1970 Cleveland Browns W 28-9
12 December 6, 1970 Green Bay Packers L 20-12
13 December 13, 1970 at Atlanta Falcons L 27-16
14 December 20, 1970 at Philadelphia Eagles L 30-20

Game summaries

Week 1 (Sunday September 20, 1970): Houston Oilers

1 2 3 4 Total
Oilers 7 7 2 3 19
Steelers 0 0 0 7 7

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 45,538
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

Steelers play first regular season game at new stadium.Terry Bradshaw makes NFL debut a bad one going 4 for 16 for 40 yds.Terry Bradshaw would also be caught for safeties in his first three games.

Week 2 (Sunday September 27, 1970): Denver Broncos

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 10 3 0 13
Broncos 7 0 9 0 16

at Mile High Stadium, Denver, Colorado

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 50,705
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

Week 3 (Saturday October 3, 1970): Cleveland Browns

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 7 0 0 7
Browns 2 0 13 0 15

at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 84,349
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Cleveland - Safety, Bradshaw tackled in end zone by Snidow CLE 2-0
  • Pittsburgh - Bradshaw 22 run (Mingo kick) PIT 7-2
  • Cleveland - Morrison 53 pass from Phipps (kick failed)CLE 8-7
  • Cleveland - Barnes 38 pass interception return (Cockroft kick) CLE 15-7

Week 4 (Sunday October 11, 1970): Buffalo Bills

1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 3 0 7 0 10
Steelers 3 7 3 10 23

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 42,140
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh - FG Mingo 28 PIT 3-0
  • Buffalo - FG Guthrie 52 T 3-3
  • Pittsburgh - Smith 6 pass from Hanratty (Mingo kick) PIT 10-3
  • Buffalo - Simpson 4 run (Guthrie kick) T 10-10
  • Pittsburgh - FG Mingo 49 PIT 13-10
  • Pittsburgh - Pearson 2 run (Mingo kick) PIT 20-10
  • Pittsburgh - FG Mingo 43 PIT 23-10

Week 5 (Sunday October 18, 1970): Houston Oilers

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 7 0 0 7
Oilers 3 0 0 0 3

at the Houston Astrodome, Houston, Texas

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 42,799
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

Week 6 (Sunday October 25, 1970): Oakland Raiders

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 7 7 0 14
Raiders 7 17 7 0 31

at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 54,423
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

Week 7 (Monday November 2, 1970): Cincinnati Bengals

1 2 3 4 Total
Bengals 0 7 3 0 10
Steelers 0 7 0 14 21

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 38,968
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Cincinnati - Crabtree 2 pass from Carter (Muhlmann kick) CIN 7-0
  • Pittsburgh - Hughes 27 pass from Hoak (Mingo kick) T 7-7
  • Cincinnati - FG Muhlmann 43 CIN 10-7
  • Pittsburgh - Hughes 72 pass from Hanratty (Mingo kick) PIT 14-10
  • Pittsburgh - Bankston 2 run (Mingo kick)PIT 21-10
  • First Monday night football game played at Three Rivers Stadium.

Week 8 (Sunday November 8, 1970): New York Jets

1 2 3 4 Total
Jets 3 0 7 7 17
Steelers 7 7 7 0 21

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 50,028
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

Week 9 (Sunday November 15, 1970): Kansas City Chiefs

1 2 3 4 Total
Chiefs 3 7 7 14 31
Steelers 0 0 7 7 14

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 50,081
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

Week 10 (Sunday November 22, 1970): Cincinnati Bengals

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 0 7 0 7
Bengals 6 7 7 14 34

at Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 59,276
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

Week 11 (Sunday November 29, 1970): Cleveland Browns

1 2 3 4 Total
Browns 3 3 3 0 9
Steelers 7 7 7 7 28

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 50,214
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh - Shanklin 8 pass from Hanratty (Watson kick) PIT 7-0
  • Cleveland - FG Cockroft 16 PIT 7-3
  • Cleveland - FG Cockroft 38 PIT 7-6
  • Pittsburgh - Beatty 30 interception return (Watson kick) PIT 14-6
  • Cleveland - FG Cockroft 46 PIT 14-9
  • Pittsburgh -Shanklin 81 pass from Bradshaw (Watson kick) PIT 21-9
  • Pittsburgh - Fuqua 57 pass from Bradshaw (Watson kick) PIT 28-9

Week 12 (Sunday December 6, 1970): Green Bay Packers

1 2 3 4 Total
Packers 6 0 7 7 20
Steelers 3 0 6 3 12

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 46,418
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Green Bay - Krause 100 kickoff return (kick failed) GB 6-0
  • Pittsburgh - FG Watson 15 GB 6-3
  • Pittsburgh - Smith 87 pass from Bradshaw (kick failed) PIT 9-3
  • Green Bay - McGeorge 13 pass from Starr (Livingston kick) GB 13-9
  • Pittsburgh - FG Watson 45 GB 13-12
  • Green Bay - Hilton 65 pass from Starr (Livingston kick) GB 20-12

Week 13 (Sunday December 13, 1970): Atlanta Falcons

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 6 10 0 0 16
Falcons 7 3 10 7 27

at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 54,162
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Atlanta - Malone 5 pass from Johnson (Vinyard kick) ATL 7-0
  • Pittsburgh - Fuqua 10 run (kick failed) ATL 7-6
  • Pittsburgh - FG Watson 21 PIT 9-7
  • Atlanta - FG Vinyard 35 ATL 10-9
  • Pittsburgh - Fuqua 1 run (Watson kick) PIT 16-10
  • Atlanta - FG Vinyard 17 PIT 16-13
  • Atlanta - Mitchell 12 run (Vinyard kick)ATL 20-16
  • Atlanta - Flatley 18 pass from Johnson (Vinyard kick) ATL 27-16

Week 14 (Sunday December 20, 1970): Philadelphia Eagles

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 7 7 3 6 23
Eagles 6 14 0 7 27

at Franklin Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 55,252
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh - Fuqua 72 run (Watson kick) PIT 7-0
  • Philadelphia - Hawkins 21 pass from Snead (kick failed) PIT 7-6
  • Philadelphia - Dirks recovered blocked kick in end zone (Moseley kick) PIT 13-7
  • Pittsburgh - Fuqua 85 run (Watson kick) PIT 14-13
  • Philadelphia - Ballman 19 pass from Snead (Moseley kick)PHI 20-14
  • Pittsburgh - FG Watson 21 PHI 20-17
  • Pittsburgh - FG Watson 17 T 20-20
  • Pittsburgh - FG Watson 18 PIT 23-20
  • Philadelphia - Watkins 1 run (Moseley kick) PHI 27-23

Standings

AFC Central
W L T PCT PF PA STK
Cincinnati Bengals 8 6 0 .571 312 255 W-7
Cleveland Browns 7 7 0 .500 286 265 W-1
Pittsburgh Steelers 5 9 0 .357 210 272 L-3
Houston Oilers 3 10 1 .231 217 352 L-3

References

AFC East Central West East Central West NFC
Baltimore Cincinnati Denver Dallas Chicago Atlanta
Boston Cleveland Kansas City NY Giants Detroit Los Angeles
Buffalo Houston Oakland Philadelphia Green Bay New Orleans
Miami Pittsburgh San Diego St. Louis Minnesota San Francisco
NY Jets Washington
1970 NFL DraftNFL PlayoffsPro BowlSuper Bowl V

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