From the PG Archives: Steelers Still Super

Champs Whip Dallas In Cliffhanger, 21-17


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This story from the Post-Gazette archives was first published on January 19, 1976.

It wasn't only that they did it, but it's the way they did it that will be remembered for years to come.

The Super Steelers, who strived and struggled for 42 long years to win their first championship, waited on 371 days to win their second one yesterday in what will go down as one of the most exciting games in pro football history.

Trailing 10-7 at the end of three quarters, the Steelers rallied for a safety, two field goals and a touchdown in the last quarter to edge the Dallas Cowboys 21-17 before 80,197 limp fans in the Orange Bowl and millions more on television.

"The Super Bowl has come of age," grinned Ray Mansfield moments after the Steelers had survived a late Dallas rally when Glen Edwards intercepted Roger Staubach's pass in the end zone on the final play of the game.

The Steelers, who beat the Minnesota Vikings, 16-6, last Jan. 12 in New Orleans in Super Bowl IX, now are the third team ever to win back-to-back Super Bowls, Green Bay won the first two and Miami won the seventh and eighth. No team has ever won three straight.

Reggie Harrison, a special teams player, started the comeback when he blocked a Mitch Hoopes punt out of the end zone with 11:28 left in the game for a safety to cut the deficit to 10-9.

Dallas then kicked off from the 20 and Mike Collier returned it 25 yards to Dallas 45 and the Steelers marched to the 20-yard line.

Roy Gereia, who painfully bruised his ribs making a tackle on the opening play of the game and had already missed two field goals, booted a 36-yarder to put the Steelers ahead to stay, 12-10, with 8:41 left.

A Mike Wagner interception set up an 18-yard field goal by Gereia that boosted the lead to 15-10 with 6:37 left. And the Steelers seemed to wrap it up when Lynn Swann who caught four passes for 161 yards, hauled in a 64-yard touchdown strike with only 3:02 remaining. Even though Bradshaw was dazed on the play when he was while releasing the ball and didn't know it went for a touchdown, the 21-10 lead seemed safe. Gereia's extra point attempt hit the crossbar, but nobody was concerned.

Dallas struck back with a 36-yard touchdown pass from Roger Staubach to Percy Howard when Mel Blount tripped to cut the deficit to 21-17.

There was still 1:48 left to play, the Steelers quarterback was out of the game and suddenly, the Cowboys were alive.

Art Rooney, the man who had suffered through the losing years for so long said "I was thinking of what they did to Minnesota." The Cowboys upset Minnesota in the first playoff game on a Staubach bomb to Drew Pearson in the last minute.

Gerry Mullina recovered the onside kick and with Terry Hanratty at quarterback, the Steelers ran three plays. On 4th-and-9 on the Dallas 41, Coach Chuck Knoll decided to run the ball rather than risk a blocked punt.

So, Dallas took over on its own 38 with 1:22 left and no time outs. The Cowboys had time for five plays, a scramble by Staubach and four passes. On the final one, they were on the Steeler 38 with three seconds left. Staubach fired it into the end zone, but Glen Edwards intercepted it.

It was over. All over. The Steelers are still world champions. Super Steelers II.



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