Steelers Throwback Thursday: Terry Bradshaw’s Unforgettable Moments

Steel City Underground takes fans back in time to feature events, special moments, and historical times and players in the world of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Steelers Nation. Join us as we revisit these moments in our “Steelers Throwback Thursday” series.

It’s hard to believe, but way back in 1970, the Pittsburgh Steelers had never won a playoff game. Despite a 1-13 record one year earlier, the team began to turn their fortunes around: just no one knew it yet. “Mean” Joe Green was the team’s first-round draft pick in 1969, but the Steelers one-win season meant they had the top overall pick in the 1970 NFL Draft.

They would use this top selection on another future Hall of Famer, quarterback Terry Bradshaw.

Throughout a 13-year career which concluded with his retirement in 1983, Bradshaw would go 14-5 in the postseason, claiming four Super Bowl titles in six years: At that point, no other team in the NFL had won more than two.

To commemorate how Bradshaw forever changed how quarterbacks were viewed in Pittsburgh, here are five of his all-time career moments.

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1974 AFC Championship Game

The Steelers’ success started to turn around a few seasons into Bradshaw’s career. However, the year that Pittsburgh would win their first Lombardi Trophy oddly started without him under center.

Bradshaw was reinstated into Pittsburgh’s starting lineup after Joe Gilliam and Terry Hanratty failed to lead the Steelers’ offense. Bradshaw was 5-2 as a starter and led the Steelers to a 10-3-1 overall record.

This set the stage for what would become a legendary rivalry with the Oakland Raiders, hosts of the 1974 AFC Championship Game game. Bradshaw and the Steelers trailed the Raiders after a blowout playoff win over Buffalo.

The Blonde Bomber led the Steelers to their first-ever AFC title, 24-13, scoring 21-3 in the fourth quarter for one of the most memorable NFL moments ever. After tying the score at 10 in the fourth quarter, Bradshaw’s 6-yard touchdown pass to WR Lynn Swann gave Pittsburgh the lead for good, and then defeated the Minnesota Vikings 16-6 to win their first Super Bowl title.

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Super Bowl X

The Steelers would make a return trip to the big game the next season, as Terry Bradshaw and his teammates led against the Cowboys late into the game, 15-10.

Going into 3rd-and-long, Bradshaw decided to take the game into his own hands, launching a 64-yard pass into the hands of Lynn Swann, stretching Pittsburgh’s lead by six points. The Steelers were victorious over Dallas by a margin of 21-17.

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Bradshaw hits Stallworth twice to clinch a victory

When the Steelers fell behind late in Super Bowl XIV, Terry Bradshaw and John Stallworth lifted them from despair and made them immortal. A scrappy Rams team gave the Steelers everything they could handle late in the fourth quarter when Bradshaw threw for 73 yards to Stallworth to put Pittsburgh in the lead for the fourth time.

The Steelers won the Super Bowl 31-19, after Franco Harris scored the game-winning touchdown (following an interception by Jack Lambert to end the Rams’ bid to regain the lead).

Bradshaw hit Stallworth for a 45-yard gain, setting up Franco Harris’ touchdown to seal the Steelers’ fourth and final Super Bowl win. Stallworth and Lynn Swann scored touchdown passes from Bradshaw during the Super Bowl, resulting in Bradshaw earning MVP honors.

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Super Bowl XIII MVP Game

The Steelers’ dynasty reigned supreme in Super Bowl XIV, but the team of the 1970’s was actually the Super Bowl XIII version. This was Bradshaw’s greatest game ever as a pro, as he scorched the defense of the Dallas Cowboys for 318 yards. During this game, Bradshaw completed (a then) Super Bowl record of four touchdown passes, leading Pittsburgh to a 35-31 victory.

Bradshaw had already received the regular season MVP award from the NFL but also took home the Super Bowl MVP honors after leading the Steelers to glory.

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The Immaculate Reception

Terry Bradshaw and Franco Harris had a illustrious partnership. They each played an integral part in creating the dynasty era of the 1970’s, each playing a significant role in the four Super Bowl victories of the 1970s. Bradshaw was awarded the Super Bowl MVP twice during their incredible run together, while Harris won the award once.

Bradshaw and Harris made 12 Pro Bowl appearances, earning four All-Pro selections, with both players being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame due to their incredible accomplishments.

While it is known that Super Bowl XIII was Terry Bradshaw’s most significant ever game, the Immaculate Reception was his most incredible singular moment during his entire career. A play that would put immortalize he and Franco Harris forever, Bradshaw’s 4th-and-10 pass deflected off of the body of Jack Tatum and into the ever-waiting hands of Harris.

Harris burst down the near sideline, resulting in the Steelers gaining their first-ever playoff victory.

Bradshaw and Harris continued to complete a string of memorable moments with the rest of the Steelers team during this period, however, this was the first: and one that will be forever cherished by the fans and spectators who had the privilege of witnessing it.

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