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1970 Pittsburgh Steelers season: Map

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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.

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 Pittsburghmarker and Clevelandmarker.

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, Pennsylvaniamarker 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 Universitymarker 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 Famemarker.

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 Stadiummarker 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 Stadiummarker, 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 Fieldmarker, 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 Pittsburghmarker in 2000 when the Pitt Panthers football team moved into Three Rivers for one season as an interim home before Heinz Fieldmarker 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-TVmarker 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

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

at Three Rivers Stadiummarker, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniamarker

  • 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

at Mile High Stadiummarker, Denver, Coloradomarker

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


Scoring Drives:



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

at Cleveland Municipal Stadiummarker, Cleveland, Ohiomarker

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


Scoring Drives:



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

at Three Rivers Stadiummarker, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniamarker

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


Scoring Drives:



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

at the Houston Astrodomemarker, Houston, Texasmarker

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


Scoring Drives:



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

at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseummarker, Oakland, Californiamarker

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


Scoring Drives:



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

at Three Rivers Stadiummarker, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniamarker

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


Scoring Drives:



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

at Three Rivers Stadiummarker, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniamarker

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


Scoring Drives:



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

at Three Rivers Stadiummarker, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniamarker

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


Scoring Drives:



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

at Riverfront Stadiummarker, Cincinnati, Ohiomarker

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


Scoring Drives:



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

at Three Rivers Stadiummarker, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniamarker

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


Scoring Drives:



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

at Three Rivers Stadiummarker, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniamarker

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


Scoring Drives:



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

at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadiummarker, Atlanta, Georgiamarker

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


Scoring Drives:



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

at Franklin Fieldmarker, Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker

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


Scoring Drives:



Division 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


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