The Steelers would be grossly under-armed against a first-round opponent as tough as the 1983 Raiders (who would go on to win the Super Bowl in a rout of the Washington Redskins). Although Bradshaw's condition received the most attention, the 1983 Steelers were also missing John Stallworth for the most of the season. Heading into the finale at home against Denver, it was clear that rookie Charlie Batch would get the start at quarterback instead.
The Steelers won their second Super Bowl after they defeated the reigning champion Dolphins in Miami. Batch threw three touchdowns and no interceptions while rushing for another score as the Steelers defense allowed just 17 points per game during the postseason.
After losing their first two games this year, the Steelers went on a winning streak that lasted through mid-December when they lost to Baltimore. They then bounced back with five straight wins before being eliminated from playoff contention with a loss to Tampa Bay. The final game of the season was against Denver in Pittsburgh. Despite being favored by seven points, some experts believed that the Broncos could beat the Steelers because they had won two in a row themselves. However, Bradshaw suffered a knee injury that required surgery and he was forced to miss the rest of the season.
In January 2004, owner Dan Rooney announced that Terry Bradshaw had been voted into his third career NFL MVP award. Bradshaw had an impressive year despite playing only six games due to injury.
The Steelers defeated the Raiders in the AFC Championship, winning 24-13 and going to the Super Bowl. The Steelers defeated the Raiders 16-10 in Pittsburgh on January 4, 1976, to earn a trip to the Super Bowl. The Steelers outgained the Raiders by 332 yards to 321 yards. Stabler and Bradshaw combined for five interceptions.
The Raiders traveled to Miami to face the Dolphins in the Super Bowl. Miami won the game 17-14 to capture its first championship. Ken Walter started at quarterback for the Raiders, while Joe Namath led the charge for the Dolphins. Frank Pollard was named the Super Bowl MVP.
Pollard had three touchdowns and 91 yards rushing against the Raiders defense. He also returned two kickoffs for a total of 44 yards.
Stabler played well, but an injury to his right thumb ended his season. He finished with 21/33 passing for 217 yards, one touchdown and one interception. John Madden said after the game that it was his "best performance of the year."
Bradshaw suffered a knee injury during the second quarter and did not return. He finished with 144 yards on 22 carries plus another 32 yards receiving. He left the game after taking a hit from Ted Hendricks.
Walter completed 11 of 20 passes for 122 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. He also ran for 34 yards on seven attempts.
The Raiders lost their third consecutive postseason game.
Terry Bradshaw was instrumental in four of the Pittsburgh Steelers' six Super Bowl triumphs. His teams won Super Bowl IX, X, XIII, and XIV. He passed for 1,046 yards and nine touchdowns in his career after joining the team in 1969. Bradshaw was the starter for all but three games over eight seasons.
The other two quarterbacks were John Harris and Scott Hunter. Harris started one game for the Steelers during Bradshaw's absence in 1975 and went 2-3 as a replacement player. He was outplayed by rookie Terry Bradway on his return from injury in 1976, but remained the backup for the last three years of Bradshaw's career. Hunter began his NFL career with the Steelers in 1968 before being traded to the San Diego Chargers prior to the 1969 season. He played one year with the Chargers before retiring after the 1970 season.
Harris and Hunter both went on to have successful careers after leaving Pittsburgh. Harris had a ten-year career that included stops with the New York Giants, Detroit Lions, and Chicago Bears while Hunter played for the Los Angeles Raiders before finishing his own career with the New England Patriots.
Bradshaw died at the age of 42 in October 2004 after suffering multiple organ failures due to ulcers and pneumonia. He was buried at The Woodlands Cemetery in Mount Vernon, Pennsylvania.
Pittsburgh Steelers, 1997 The 1997 AFC Championship game, in which the Broncos upset the Steelers 24-21 at Three Rivers Stadium en route to their first Super Bowl triumph, was perhaps the most memorable playoff meeting. In what many consider one of the greatest NFL games ever played, Denver trailed 21-3 early in the fourth quarter before rallying for a 24-21 victory. The game featured two prolific passing attacks - Brett Favre and Tony Banks for the Steelers, and Peyton Manning and Tom Brady for the Broncos - but it was also one of the nastiest rivalries in football. Both teams were coming off losing seasons, with the Steelers going 9-7 and the Broncos 8-8. This was also just three years after the infamous "No Neck" ban from the NFL, so both teams had new captains - Dan Marino for the Dolphins and Terrell Davis for the Raiders - who led their teams into the playoffs.
The Broncos defeated Miami in the Divisional round, 27-16, on January 12th at Mile High Stadium. It was their first postseason win over the Dolphins since 1992. In the Conference Championship game, held at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field, the Steelers beat the Broncos 31-27 on January 26th. That ended any hope of a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance for the Broncos, as they went home after the season opener against New England.
The Steelers would face an old opponent, the Raiders, in the 1974 AFC Championship Game. The rivalry became stronger with each passing year. The Steelers triumphed in Pittsburgh in 1972, and the Raiders returned the favor in Oakland in 1973. The Steelers, on the other hand, were prepared for everything the Raiders might throw at them.
The 1974 season was the 42nd in the National Football League for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They improved to a 10-3-1 record, culminating in a Super Bowl victory.
Following the Steelers' finest playoff run in 42 years, the club became the first in the franchise's 42-year history to win a league title. America's Game: The 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers broadcast on NFL Network on March 9, 2007, with team commentary from Franco Harris, Joe Greene, and Andy Russell, and narrated by Ed Harris.
The Steelers, on the other hand, would dominate Buffalo and limit O.J. Simpson to 49 yards rushing (it was O.J.'s last playoff appearance). The Steelers would face an old opponent, the Raiders, in the 1974 AFC Championship Game. The rivalry became stronger with each passing year. The Steelers triumphed in Pittsburgh in 1972, and the Raiders returned the favor in Oakland in 1973.