Steelers' postseason history: Jan. 4, 1976 -- AFC Championship vs. Oakland

Written by Dan Gigler on .

Since the Steelers have home field advantage in the also-ran postseason, we'll take a look back at some of the highlights and heartbreaks of playoffs past ...


Today: Janurary 4, 1976 AFC Championship vs. Oakland

In writing on this game, Pittsburgh Press Steelers beat writer Phil Musick referenced nothing short of the Four Horseman of the Apocolypse, Stalingrad and Valley Forge in his story, while noting the blood on Jack Lambert's hands and pants.

His counterpart, Vito Stallino of the Post-Gazette merely compared it to the Thirty Years War. 

Bitter cold. Bitter rivals. Brutal hitting.

This game was like an arctic Thunderdome. And it ended with the Raiders nearly making an Immaculate Reception of their own.

The 1975 AFC Championship would be the fourth consecutive year that the Steelers and Oakland Raiders would meet in the postseason and the third consecutive time in the conference championship game (that first one was *only* the Immaculate Reception game).

With the kickoff temperature at only 18 degrees, handling the football became a challenge, especially between two teams intent on maiming one another. There were 12 turnovers in the games -- Pittsburgh had seven (!) yet still managed to win. Pittsburgh led a mere 3-0 at the end of the third quarter on a Roy Gerela FG, before things got crazy in the fourth.

Franco Harris charged 25-yards for a touchdown that was sprung on a wicked block by John Stallworth. 10-0 Pittsburgh. Oakland answered with a Ken Stabler touchdown pass to Mike Siani. 10-7. Pittsburgh countered with a Terry Bradshaw to Stallworth strike, but missed the PAT. 16-7. Oakland kicked another field goal to take it to 16-10 and recovered an onside kick with seven seconds left. Stabler completed a bomb to Cliff Branch but he was tackled inbounds and time expired.  

Of the game Musick wrote that it was "the wildest, gut-wrenchingest, slambangingest football game that you, or I or the 49,103 cases of frostbite at Three Rivers Stadium ever saw."

And that same man covered the Immaculate Reception game. Think about that for a minute.

Here is the box score.

P-G coverage

Pittsburgh Press coverage

Below is an edited, commercial free broadcast of the 1975 AFC Championship game -- low quality, probably a tape of a VHS tape -- but its clear enough to see everything and a blast to watch. Keep your eyes peeled during some of the crowd shots where you can see fans waving Terrible Towels -- which only made their debut to the world the week before against the Baltimore Colts.

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