I find it very interesting that San Diego is 0-13 all time during the regular season in Pittsburgh, but they are 2-0 against us in Pittsburgh in the playoffs. Most of us are old enough to remember the AFCCG after the '94 season when we blew a fourth quarter lead with five minutes left and then came up 3 yards short of the SB. San Diego beat us 17-13.
The other time we faced San Diego in the playoffs was after the '82 season and this loss was equally if not more painful. Almost right after we won our fourth SB in six years, in 1980, the chants of "One for the Thumb" began, but it wasn't until after the '82 season we actually got our chance. In '80 and '81 we failed to qualify for the playoffs. We finished 9-7 and 8-8, respectively, but in 1982 we rebounded with a 6-3 record. That's right. That wasn't a typo. It was the strike shortened season. I forget what they were arguing about that time... Oh wait, wasn't it over money?Anyway, it was a special season for many reasons. It was our 50th anniversary season. It was our first year after Mean Joe Greene and L.C. Greenwood retired. It would turn out to be Lynn Swann and Jack Hamm's last year, and it was Terry Bradshaw's "unofficial" last year. Also that year, we signed a rookie place kicker off waivers from the Bills named Gary Anderson who would go on to become the all time leading scorer in the NFL.
Our 6-3 record resulted in us winning our 8th division title. (We won our 19th this year, btw) We also earned a first round home playoff game against the San Diego. It was a great battle between two future HOF QBs. Dan Fouts (333 yds, 3 Tds) narrowly out-dueled Terry Bradshaw (325 yds, 2 TDs). We were ahead 28-17 in the fourth quarter until Fouts threw two late TD passes to Kellen Winslow (that's Sr.). We wound up losing 31-28. That game would turn out to be Bradshaw's last career playoff appearance and our last home playoff game for 10 years until Coach Cowher came along in 1992.
The '94 loss was also painful as we were heavily favored, but i took some solace in that the Chargers were crushed in the SB 49-26 by the 49ers and in that we probably would have also lost to one of the all time great teams. Also, at that time, I remembered thinking, "There will be other AFCCGs in our future."
Now we are on the verge of our 7th AFCCG in 15 years! The team standing in our way? The San Diego Chargers. It's time we settle some scores