1979 Steelers hold unique draft distinction

Malcolm Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Theirs is a record that will never be broken.

The Steelers win over the Rams in Super Bowl XIV gave them a prominent place in football immortality.

For starters, Pittsburgh became the first franchise to capture four Super Bowl victories in their 31-19 win in the Rose Bowl. At that time, no other team had more than two Lombardi Trophies.That record would later be matched by Dallas and San Francisco, the latter becoming the first team to win five Super Bowls in 1994.

Pittsburgh also became the first and only team to win four Super Bowls in a six year span and the only franchise to win back-to-back Super Bowls on two different occasions (1974-75 and 1978-79).

While these records may one day be matched, there is one record the '70s Steelers possess that will almost certainly stand the test of time.

The 1979 Pittsburgh Steelers is the only Super Bowl champion where each member of the team was drafted by that organization. Every member of the 1979 Steelers was drafted by coach Chuck Noll and the Rooneys.

From quarterback Terry Bradshaw to kicker Matt Bahr to reserve running back Rick Moser, each player was hand picked by the Steelers.

It's fitting that the Steelers last Super Bowl team of the decade is the one to hold this unique place in football history. They were a team that showed great character, determination, and fortitude whenever challenged. And this team was challenged.They overcame themselves after committing the most turnovers in the NFL. They overcame bad regular season losses at home against the Bengals and on the road against the Chargers. They overcame rival Houston to win the AFC Championship.

While the Vikings and Cowboys may have presented tougher challenges on paper in their previous Super Bowl victories, the Steelers also had to overcome a Rams team that always gave them problems. Pittsburgh dropped a 10-7 decision at Los Angeles the previous year and trailed 19-17 heading into the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XIV.

Bradshaw had thrown three interceptions. Lynn Swann was knocked out of the game with a concussion. Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier were held in check by Jim and Jack Youngblood. The Steel Curtain defense were being held off balance by backup quarterback Vince Ferragamo and the slippery running of Wendell Tyler.

With the odds stacking up against them, NFL Films narrator John Facenda summed up the 1979 Steelers when he said: "Great teams aren't always great. They're just great when they have to be."

Facing a third and long, Bradshaw hit John Stallworth in stride for a 73-yard touchdown. The duo then set up the touchdown that put the game away on a 45-yard pass just moments after Jack Lambert picked off Ferragamo to thwart the Rams' attempt to regain the lead. Harris put the championship on ice with his second touchdown of the game. The 1979 Steelers epitomized the Steeler Way, described by Noll as doing "whatever it takes" to get the job done.

With the dawn of free agency greatly challenging the ability to keep a nucleus of players for an extended period of time, the 1979 Steelers place in NFL history should be theirs and theirs alone for as long as the game of football is played.

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