his story from the Post-Gazette archives was first published on Jan. 21, 1980.
PASADENA, Calif. -- It was a coronation as well as a super Super Bowl.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, the once and future champions of pro football, were crowned again yesterday before 103,985 fans in the Rose Bowl.
For the fourth time in the last six years, they are the reigning monarchs of Pete Rozell's kingdon.
They survived a few shaky, almost scary moments and came from behind in the final period to knock out the dogged Los Angeles Rams, 31-19, in Super Bowl XIV. It followed the Steeler trademark. They not only win, but they put on a good show. In their last three Super Bowl victories, the spotted the losers an early lead and then overcame it.
"We have to stop meeting like this," Rozelle grinned on national television as he handed Art Rooney, the founding father of the Steelers, a fourth gleaming Tiffany Trophy.
After he went off camera, Rozelle said, "With the price of silver these days, that trophy's probably worth more than what he started the franchise with in the old days."
It all began on a shoestring and $2,500 back in 1933, and now the Steelers own four Lombardy trophies. It is fitting that they are now non the threshold of matching the ultimate in pro football: Vince Lombardi's record of five championships in a seven-year span at Green Bay in the 1960s.
They've done just about everything else. They're the first team to win four Super Bowls, the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls twice and the second team since the modern era began after World War II to do it four times is six years.
The Steelers, who are 14-4 in playoff games and 13-2 the last six years, are now on the verge of surpassing Lombardi's Green Bay team as the best of all time.
"The record speaks for itself," Dwight White said. "I'll be humble, but we keep getting beter and it's reasonable to say it's the best."
Lynn Swann said, "The best team of all time? I think so."
It followed the pattern of a year that wasn't easy, a year when they survived injuries and the fact that every team was shooting at them all year long. It was a game when they made a few mistakes and weren't at their best, but they came up with the big play when they needed it.
The two biggest were a pair of touchdown strikes by Most Valuable Player Terry Bradshaw to the touchdown twins ---- Lynn Swann and John Stallworth. They both made a showcase of their specialty in this showcase game. Swann made a leaping 47-yard touchdown catch in the end zone while Stallworth, noted for running with the football once he catches it, hauled in one at full stride at about the 30. He dashed into the end zone in the blink of an eyelash to complete a 73-yard play in the final quarter that put the Steelers ahead for good, 24-19.
A Jack Lambert interception, a 45-yard pass to Stallworth and a 21-yard pass interference call in the end zone set up a one-yard touchdown plunge by Franco Harris that completed the scoring with less than two minutes left.
That enabled the Steelers to win by 12 and cover the 11-point spread, but it was really closer than last year's 35-31 win over Dallas when they built up a 31-17 lead midway in the final period.
It was a game in which the Rams showed they deserved to be here. There could be no jokes about them. They were beaten, but they earned a lot of respect.
They held Harris to 46 yards in 20 carries and they intercepted three Bradshaw passes. And young Vince Ferragamo almost matched Bradshaw, completing 15 of 25 passes for 212 yards while Bradshaw won the MVP honors for the second straight Super Bowl while hitting on 14 of 21 passes for 309 yards. Wendell Tyler also distinguished himself as he ran 60 yards in 17 carries, including a 39-yard run.
It was a game in which the Steelers trailed, 13-10, at the half, and there were a few anxious moments at halftime.
"It was a test of the character and the maturity of the team," White said . "We were just a little excited at halftime. We knew we couldn't keep fooling around or we could blow it."
Bradshaw described the Steelers' first-half play as "fiddling around" and added, "If we had continued the same way, we would have lost the game."
Larry Anderson, who set a Super Bowl record by returning five kicks for 162 yards, returned the second-half kickoff 37 yards to set the Steelers up at the 39.
Swann's leaping touchdown catch capped a 61-yard drive and gave the Steelers a 17-13 lead. They seemed to be in control. It seemed to be time for the Steeler defense to take over.
But the Rams refused to fold. As Ray Malavasi, the Ram coach, said, "They didn't outplay us. We ran on them. We threw on them. We just didn't get the big plays."
But they got two on the next drive. On a third-down play, Ferragamo hit on a 50-yard pass to Billy Waddy, and Lawrence McCutcheon fooled the Steelers with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Ron Smith. After Frank Corral missed the extra point, the Rams led, 19-17, with 10 minutes left in the third period.
On the Steelers' next two series, Bradshaw threw his second and third interceptions and there were a few tense moments on the Steeler sideline. The first one was a long one on third down that was almost like a short punt and really didn't hurt that much.
But on the next series, Bradshaw had a third-and-10 call on the Ram 16. With the Stelers needing a field goal to take the lead, it wasn't a time to make a mistake. But Bradshaw tried to force the ball to Stallworth. Dave Elmendorf knocked it in the air and Rod Perry intercepted it on the five.
The Steelers forced the Rams to punt, but Ken Clark booted a 59-yarder and the Steelers took over on their own 25 with 12:59 left in the game. It was time for the Steelers to put together a long drive. Franco Harris made only two yards on first down and Bradshaw misfired on a screen pass to Sydney Thornton, the Steelers faced a third-and-eight on their own 27. If Bradshaw didn't complete the next pass, the Steelers would have had to punt and the Rams would have had the lead and the ball in the final quarter.
It was also ominous that Swann had suffered a concusion in the third quarter and was sidelined the rest of the game.
But then came Bradshaw's 73-yard strike to Stallworth, and the Steelers were ahead for good. Stallworth had made a hook on the previous interception. This time, he faked the hook and went deep and Bradshaw put it right on the money.
Noting the three interceptions, Stallworth said, "This was a typical game for us. We've had a lot of turnovers all year. But we have the type of people who come back."
The Steelers also have the type of people who win Super Bowls.
"Just awesome," is what White called it.
The Steelers are now the Super Steelers XIV. Anyone for five?
NFL Network Stroy of the 1979 Steelers pt. 1