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1976 Pittsburgh Steelers season: Wikis

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1976 Pittsburgh Steelers season
Head coach Chuck Noll
Home field Three Rivers Stadium
Results
Record 10-4
Place 1st in AFC Central
Playoff finish Lost to the Oakland Raiders in the AFC Championship game
Pro Bowlers Mel Blount
Terry Bradshaw
Glen Edwards
Joe Greene
L.C. Greenwood
Jack Ham
Franco Harris
Jack Lambert
Andy Russell
Lynn Swann
Mike Wagner
Team MVP Jack Lambert
Timeline
Previous season Next season
1975 1977

The 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers started the season looking to become the first team in the Super Bowl era to win three-straight league championships (and first since the 1929-1931 and 1965-1967 Green Bay Packers). However, many thought that would be in doubt after the team started 1-4 and saw quarterback Terry Bradshaw injured in the week 5 loss to the Cleveland Browns after a vicious sack by Joe "Turkey" Jones that has since become immortalized in NFL Films as part of the Browns-Steelers rivalry.

Despite the setbacks, the Steelers would turn it around behind the strength of the Steel Curtain and its dual threat at running back in Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier, who each rushed for over 1000 yards, finishing 10-4 and posting five shutouts. Rookie quarterback Mike Kruczek wound up going 6-0 starting in place of Bradshaw, largely due to the strength of the ground game. This would also stand as an NFL record for best start for a rookie quarterback until 2004--when the Steelers own Ben Roethlisberger more than doubled that record and went 13-0 as a starter his rookie season.

However, injuries to both Bleier and Harris in the playoffs caught up to them resulting in losing to the Oakland Raiders for the AFC Championship. Even with the Black & Gold coming up short, many Steelers fans--including the Rooney family themselves--consider the 1976 Steelers the best team in franchise history, even better than all six world championship teams.

Contents

Regular season

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Schedule

Week Date Opponent Time (ET) TV Result
1 Sunday September 12 at Oakland Raiders 4:00 PM NBC L 31-28
2 Sunday September 19 Cleveland Browns 1:00 PM NBC W 31-14
3 Sunday September 26 New England Patriots 1:00 PM NBC L 30-27
4 Monday October 4 at Minnesota Vikings 9:00 PM ABC L 17-6
5 Sunday October 10 at Cleveland Browns 1:00 PM NBC L 18-16
6 Sunday October 17 Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 PM NBC W 23-6
7 Sunday October 24 at New York Giants 1:00 PM NBC W 27-0
8 Sunday October 31 San Diego Chargers 1:00 PM NBC W 23-0
9 Sunday November 7 at Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 PM NBC W 45-0
10 Sunday November 14 Miami Dolphins 1:00 PM NBC W 14-3
11 Sunday November 21 Houston Oilers 1:00 PM NBC W 32-16
12 Sunday November 28 at Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 PM NBC W 7-3
13 Sunday December 5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00 PM NBC W 42-0
14 Saturday December 11 at Houston Oilers 1:00 PM NBC W 21-0

Game summaries

Week 1 (Sunday September 12, 1976): at Oakland Raiders

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 7 7 14 28
Raiders 7 0 24 0 31

at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California

  • Game time: 4:00 PM EDT
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 51,371
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers: (NBC)

Scoring Drives:

Week 2 (Sunday September 19, 1976): vs. Cleveland Browns

1 2 3 4 Total
Browns 0 14 0 0 14
Steelers 0 0 17 14 31

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 PM EDT
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 49,169
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers: (NBC)

Scoring Drives:

Week 3 (Sunday September 26, 1976): vs. New England Patriots

1 2 3 4 Total
Patriots 6 3 14 7 30
Steelers 7 6 7 7 27

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 PM EDT
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 47,379
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers: (NBC)

Scoring Drives:

Week 4 (Monday October 4, 1976): at Minnesota Vikings

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 6 0 0 0 6
Vikings 0 7 0 10 17

at Metropolitan Stadium, Bloomington, Minnesota

Scoring Drives:

Week 5 (Sunday October 10, 1976): at Cleveland Browns

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 7 3 0 6 16
Browns 3 3 9 3 18

at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

  • Game time: 1:00 PM EDT
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 76,411
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers: (NBC)

Scoring Drives:

Week 6 (Sunday October 17, 1976): vs. Cincinnati Bengals

1 2 3 4 Total
Bengals 3 0 3 0 6
Steelers 0 13 0 10 23

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 PM EDT
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 48,311
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers: (NBC)

Scoring Drives:

Week 7 (Sunday October 24, 1976): at New York Giants

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 10 0 17 27
Giants 0 0 0 0 0

at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

  • Game time: 1:00 PM EDT
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 69,783
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers: (NBC)

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh - Harris 1 run (Gerela kick)7-0
  • Pittsburgh - FG Gerela 21 10-0
  • Pittsburgh - Harris 1 run (Gerela kick)17-0
  • Pittsburgh - FG Gerela 28 20-0
  • Pittsburgh - Lewis 16 run (Gerela kick)27-0
  • This was the first of 5 wins by shutout.

Week 8 (Sunday October 31, 1976): vs. San Diego Chargers

1 2 3 4 Total
Chargers 0 0 0 0 0
Steelers 0 3 0 20 23

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 PM EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 45,484
  • Referee: Tommy Bell
  • TV announcers: (NBC)

Scoring Drives:

Week 9 (Sunday November 7, 1976): at Kansas City Chiefs

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 7 3 21 14 45
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0

at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

  • Game time: 1:00 PM EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 71,516
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers: (NBC)

Scoring Drives:

Week 10 (Sunday November 14, 1976): vs. Miami Dolphins

1 2 3 4 Total
Dolphins 0 0 3 0 3
Steelers 0 7 0 7 14

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 PM EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 48,945
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers: (NBC)

Scoring Drives:

Week 11 (Sunday November 21, 1976): vs. Houston Oilers

1 2 3 4 Total
Oilers 0 10 0 6 16
Steelers 10 5 10 7 32

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 PM EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 47,947
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers: (NBC)

Scoring Drives:

Week 12 (Sunday November 28, 1976): at Cincinnati Bengals

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

at Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Game time: 1:00 PM EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 55,142
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers: (NBC)

Scoring Drives:

Week 13 (Sunday December 5, 1976): vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1 2 3 4 Total
Buccaneers 0 0 0 0 0
Steelers 7 21 14 0 42

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time: 1:00 PM EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 43,385
  • Referee:
  • TV announcers: (NBC)

Scoring Drives:

Week 14 (Saturday December 11, 1976): at Houston Oilers

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 7 7 7 21
Oilers 0 0 0 0 0

at Astrodome, Houston, Texas

  • Game time: 12:30 PM EST
  • Game weather: Dome
  • Game attendance: 44,743
  • Referee: Fred Silva
  • TV announcers: (NBC)

Scoring Drives:

Standings

AFC Central
W L T PCT PF PA STK
Pittsburgh Steelers 10 4 0 .714 342 138 W-9
Cincinnati Bengals 10 4 0 .714 335 210 W-1
Cleveland Browns 9 5 0 .643 267 287 L-1
Houston Oilers 5 9 0 .357 222 273 L-2

Postseason

Game summaries

AFC Divisional Playoff (Sunday December 19, 1976): at Baltimore Colts

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 9 17 0 14 40
Colts 7 0 0 7 14

at Memorial Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 59,296
  • Referee: Pat Haggerty
  • TV announcers: (NBC)

Scoring Drives:

Notes: Pittsburgh gained an NFL record 524 total yards, Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier were lost to injuries.

AFC Championship (Sunday December 26, 1976): at Oakland Raiders

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 7 0 0 7
Raiders 3 14 7 0 24

at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California

  • Game time: 4:00 PM EST
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 53,821
  • Referee: Tommy Bell
  • TV announcers: (NBC) Curt Gowdy (play by play), Don Meredith (color commentator)

Scoring Drives:

References

AFC East Central West East Central West NFC
Baltimore Cincinnati Denver Dallas Chicago Atlanta
Buffalo Cleveland Kansas City NY Giants Detroit Los Angeles
Miami Houston Oakland Philadelphia Green Bay New Orleans
New England Pittsburgh San Diego St. Louis Minnesota San Francisco
NY Jets Tampa Bay Washington Seattle
1976 NFL DraftNFL PlayoffsPro BowlSuper Bowl XI

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