51 for LI: Super Bowl IX and The Black and Yellow Dynasty
[lead align=”default”]It’s just single-digits until the Super Bowl now. With nine days left, and the possibility of a dynasty continuing, we see the birth of one of the modern NFL’s first dynasties in Super Bowl IX.[/lead]
Prior to 1974, the Pittsburgh Steelers were for the most part a moribund franchise. The pre-merger Steelers had won precisely zippo in almost four decades of existence, which also included a brief combination with the Philadelphia Eagles. Chuck Noll started the turnaround in the early 1970s, and they’d have no idea the success that would follow.
Their meeting with the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IX launched a dynasty.
Super Bowl IX: 1974 Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings of the early to mid-1970s were no slouches, either. Though they never had any season culminate in a Super Bowl championship, they did make several. Minnesota played in the final game of the 1974 season, but it began with a 10-4 regular season. This got them the NFC Central title.
The “Purple People Eaters” were still going these years, anchored by Alan Page and featuring Carl Eller. On offense, Fran Tarkenton moved the football with the help of Chuck Foreman and Mick Tingelhoff up the middle.
They crushed the St. Louis Cardinals to advance in the playoffs, and also defeated the Los Angeles Rams to reach the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl IX: 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers
Starting in 1972, the year of the “Immaculate Reception,” Pittsburgh’s fortunes turned around. It all came to a head in 1974, starting with a 10-3-1 regular season and a division title. Showing just how loaded they’d be in the future, Pittsburgh drafted four Hall of Famers in 1974, including Lynn Swann.
Pittsburgh won, tied, and lost in their first three games, but opened it up with a five-game win streak. Thanks to the “Steel Curtain” defense of Mean Joe Greene, the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, the Steelers allowed just 189 points in 14 games.
Pittsburgh claimed double-digit wins over both the Buffalo Bills and Oakland Raiders to get to their first Super Bowl.
Super Bowl IX: The Game
This was one low-scoring game, as the two premier defenses would suggest. As a matter of fact, the only points in the first half came on a safety, when Fran Tarkenton was sacked in the end zone by Dwight White. A very rare 2-0 halftime lead resulted.
Minnesota wouldn’t find the scoreboard in the third quarter, either. Luckily for the Steelers, they did: Franco Harris punched it in to give Pittsburgh a 9-0 lead, which was enough. The Vikings made it 9-6 in the fourth quarter on their only touchdown of the day, but a Terry Bradshaw touchdown pass pushed the lead to 16-6.
Offensively, Minnesota did horribly: 119 total yards, nine first downs, 17 rushing yards, five turnovers, and 21 minutes time of possession. The Steel Curtain outdid the Purple People Eaters this day.
The Pittsburgh Steelers would go on to win four Super Bowls in the 1970s, plus two more in the 2000s.