Missing the Pittsburgh Steelers? It is March and I am deep in Black and Gold withdrawal. I love the active free agency period that Pittsburgh has put together and I have been pouring over the potential available players the Steelers will choose in the 2022 NFL Draft. I am reading all the mock drafts and dreaming of big play wide receivers like Chris Olave and Christian Watson, or a bone crunching linebacker like Nakobe Dean, or a miracle or two happens and Jordan Davis or Derrick Stingley Jr. fall into the Steelers lap at pick No. 20. Personally, I am hoping we pass on Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett in the first round in favor of Desmond Ridder in the second round, but most draft experts do not share my view.
However, the constant refreshing on my phone to check on whether Tyrann Mathieu or Terrell Edmunds is going to fill the strong safety slot, or reading Mel Kiper Jr’s umpteenth mock draft are not scratching the itch, so I have resorted to watching old Steeler games on YouTube. The best part of having been a fan for parts of six decades is that plenty of Steeler classics are available to watch. Steeler Nation is comprised of the young and old fans. You could re-watch some recent classics like Super Bowl XL with Willie Parker’s great long run, or Hines Ward and Antwaan Randle El sending Jerome Bettis off in style. Maybe Super Bowl XLIII with James Harrison’s great interception at the end of the first half and Ben Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes for the win. Possibly one of the Baltimore Ravens classics when Troy Polamalu seemed to be everywhere is more your cup of tea.
I prefer going back a little further to the Steelers of my youth and some of the great memories of Steelers past. Here is a list of 3 great games available on YouTube that some of the younger fans may not have seen, or some of us who are slightly above the legal age to buy cold medicine at Walmart would like to revisit.
1) 1980 AFC Championship Game
Houston Oilers (11-5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)
This game was an absolute classic pitting the greatest running back I ever saw, NFL MVP Earl Campbell vs the vaunted Steel Curtain Defense. Watch here. The Steelers split the season series with the Oilers, winning in Pittsburgh early in the season and losing a classic Monday Night Football game in December in Houston. “Houston Oilers, Houston Oilers. Houston Oilers are number one” is forever etched in my brain and I know exactly how Rachel Phelps felt in the classic Major League film when Wild Thing blasts over the speakers. This game was filled with controversy, and in my view, though it did not happen immediately, is single-handedly responsible for instant replay becoming part of NFL games. Maybe the Steelers do not have four Super Bowls in six years if Mike Renfro had the benefit of all scoring plays being reviewed, but they did not and it’s a great smash mouth game, and the first game of the 1980’s from Jan 6th, 1980.
2) 1984 AFC Divisional Playoff Game
Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7) at Denver Broncos (13-3)
Those of us who watched games live on TV in the 1980’s did not have the luxury of high-definition television, and the quality on some of these games on YouTube reflects that. However, I can assure you if you were watching on your 25 inch “big screen” in 1984, the picture is pretty accurate. Watch here to view Chuck Noll’s last Divisional Round victory and John Elway’s first playoff game. It was a great back and forth battle with the Steelers erasing a 17-10 deficit in the 2nd half with Mark Malone’s best career performance at quarterback. Louis Lipps and Frank Pollard (one of my favorite all-time Steelers) starred for Pittsburgh in the victory. A great watch for any fan of the Black and Gold.
3) 1997 Week 14 Regular Season
Denver Broncos (11-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers (9-4)
Quite simply the best game Kordell Stewart ever played at quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Watch here. This game would eventually give Pittsburgh homefield in the AFC Championship game a few weeks later and allow Kansas City to take the AFC West Division. Slash was masterful and tantalized Steeler fans with this magnificent performance. He accounted for 5 touchdowns (3 passing and 2 rushing) and Denver had no answers on Pearl Harbor Day in 1997. He outdueled John Elway and it seemed like the Steelers were a team of destiny. Alas Bill Romanowski and the Denver defense would stifle Kordell the 2nd time they faced him and John Elway would helicopter past Brett Favre and the Packers in the Super Bowl, but for three hours in December 1997, Kordell Stewart and the Steelers were the kings of the NFL.
What do you think, Steeler Nation? What is your favorite Steeler classic to revisit in the off-season? Please comment below or hit me up on Twitter or Instagram @thebubbasq.