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1973 Pittsburgh Steelers season

1973 Pittsburgh Steelers season
Head coach Chuck Noll
Owner Art Rooney
Home field Three Rivers Stadium
Results
Record 10–4
Division place 2nd AFC Central
Playoff finish Lost Divisional Playoffs (Raiders) 33–14
Pro Bowlers
AP All-Pros
Team MVP Ronnie Shanklin
Timeline
Previous season Next season
< 1972 1974 >

The 1973 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the team's 41st season in the National Football League. The team finished second in the AFC Central division, but qualified for the postseason for the second consecutive season.

The 1973 Steelers' pass defense is arguably the greatest in the history of the NFL. Their defensive passer rating—the quarterback passer rating of all opposing quarterbacks throughout the season—was 33.1, an NFL record for the Super Bowl era.

According to Cold Hard Football Facts:[1]

Pittsburgh's pass-defense numbers that year were stunning. Opposing passers compiled the following stat-line:
  • 164 of 359 (45.7%) for 1,923 yards, 5.36 [yards-per-attempt], 11 [touchdowns] and 37 [interceptions]

The figure that leaps screaming off the sheet is the amazing 37 picks in 14 games. The 2009 Jets, by comparison, allowed a puny 8 TDs in 16 games, but hauled in just 17 picks.

Pittsburgh's all-time best pass defense was an equal-opportunity unit: Mike Wagner led the team with 8 INT, but 10 other guys recorded at least one pick. Amazing. Eleven defenders boasted at least one INT for Pittsburgh that season. The entire starting secondary recorded 24 picks alone, and Hall of Fame cornerback Mel Blount was last on the list: Wagner (8), safety Glen Edwards (6), cornerback John Rowser (6) and Blount (4).

The Steelers lost to the Oakland Raiders in the AFC Divisional Playoffs.

Personnel

Staff

1973 Pittsburgh Steelers staff
Front office
  • President – Arthur J. Rooney
  • Vice President – John R. McGinley
  • Vice President – Daniel M. Rooney
  • Vice President – Arthur J. Rooney, Jr.
  • Public Relations Director – Ed Kiely
  • Traveling Secretary – James A. Boston
  • Controller – Robert P. Quinn
  • Publicity Director – Joe Gordon
  • Ticket Manager – Joseph H. Carr
  • Director of Player Personnel – Dick Haley
  • Assistant Director of Player Personnel – Bill Nunn
  • Director of Professional Scouting – V. Timothy Rooney

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches


Strength and conditioning

  • Strength – Louis Riecke
  • Flexibility – Paul Uram
  • Team Physician, Orthopedic – Dr. John Best
  • Team Physician, M.D. – Dr. David S. Huber
  • Team Dentist – Dr. Robert Gray
  • Trainer – Ralph Berlin
  • Assistant Trainer – Robert Milie
  • Equipment Manager – Anthony Parisi
  • Field Manager – Jack Hart

[2]

Roster

1973 Pittsburgh Steelers final roster
Quarterbacks

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Offensive linemen

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Linebackers

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Reserve lists

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[3] [4] [5] [6]


Rookies in italics
46 Active, 1 Inactive, 1 Practice squad

Offseason

NFL Draft

Team Rd Pick Name Pos College PIT 1 24 J.T. Thomas DB Florida St. PIT 2 50 Ken Phares DB Mississippi St. PIT 3 76 Roger Bernhardt G Kansas PIT 4 102 Gail Clark LB Michigan St. PIT 5 128 Larry Clark LB Northern Illinois PIT 5 106 Dave Reavis T Arkansas PIT 6 154 Glenn Scolnik WR Indiana PIT 6 140 Ron Bell RB Illinois St. PIT 7 180 Nate Dorsey WR Miss. Valley St. PIT 8 206 Bill Janssen T Nebraska PIT 8 192 Loren Toews LB California PIT 9 232 Bracey Bonham G North Carolina Central PIT 10 258 Don Wunderly DT Arkansas PIT 11 284 Bob White DB Arizona PIT 12 310 Willie Lee RB Indiana St. PIT 13 336 Rick Fergerson WR Kansas St. PIT 14 362 Roger Cowan DE Stanford PIT 15 388 Charles Cross DB Iowa PIT 16 414 Glen Nardi DT Navy PIT 17 440 Mike Shannon DT Oregon St.

Preseason

Schedule

Game summaries

Regular season

Game summaries

Week 1

</th> </tr>
1 234Total
Lions 0 0100 10
• Steelers 0 3714 24


Game summary

Scoring Drives:

Week 2

</th> </tr>
1 234Total
Browns 3 003 6
• Steelers 10 6107 33
Game summary

Scoring Drives:

Week 3

</th> </tr>
1 234Total
• Steelers 3 31317 36
Oilers 0 700 7


Game summary

Scoring Drives:

Week 4

</th> </tr>
1 234Total
Chargers 0 0021 21
• Steelers 17 2100 38
Game summary

Johnny Unitas playing for San Diego is knocked out of the game after completing only 3 of 15 passes for 24 yards and 3 interceptions.

Scoring Drives:

Week 5

</th> </tr>
1 234Total
Steelers 0 007 7
• Bengals 6 373 19


Game summary

Scoring Drives:

Week 6

</th> </tr>
1 234Total
Jets 7 700 14
• Steelers 0 9314 26
Game summary

Scoring Drives:

Week 7

</th> </tr>
1 234Total
Bengals 0 607 13
• Steelers 3 7100 20


Game summary

Scoring Drives:

Week 8 (Monday November 5, 1973): Washington Redskins

</th> </tr>
1 234Total
Redskins 3 337 16
• Steelers 7 707 21
Game summary

Joe Gilliam makes his Monday night debut.

Scoring Drives:

Week 9

</th> </tr>
1 234Total
• Steelers 0 773 17
Raiders 0 306 9


Game summary

Scoring Drives:

Week 10

</th> </tr>
1 234Total
• Broncos 3 3710 23
Steelers 3 307 13
Game summary

Scoring Drives:

Week 11

</th> </tr>
1 234Total
Steelers 7 333 16
• Browns 7 707 21


Game summary

Scoring Drives:

Week 12 (Monday December 3, 1973): Miami Dolphins

</th> </tr>
1 234Total
Steelers 0 3716 26
• Dolphins 20 1000 30
Game summary

Scoring Drives:

Week 13

</th> </tr>
1 234Total
Oilers 7 000 7
• Steelers 3 14106 33


Game summary

Scoring Drives:

Week 14

</th> </tr>
1 234Total
• Steelers 7 71310 37
49ers 0 707 14
Game summary

John Brodie's number was retired prior to game

Scoring Drives:

Standings

AFC Central
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
Cincinnati Bengals 10 4 0 .714 4–2 8–3 286 231 W6
Pittsburgh Steelers 10 4 0 .714 4–2 7–4 347 210 W2
Cleveland Browns 7 5 2 .571 4–2 6–3–2 234 255 L2
Houston Oilers 1 13 0 .071 0–6 1–10 199 447 L6

Postseason

Game summaries

Divisional

</th> </tr>
1 234Total
Steelers 0 707 14
• Raiders 7 31310 33
  • Date: December 23
  • Location: Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California
  • Game attendance: 50,094
  • Referee: Pat Haggerty


Game summary

Scoring Drives:

References

  1. ^ Cold Hard Football Facts: Shutdown! The greatest pass defenses in history
  2. ^ 1973 Pittsburgh Steelers Media Guide. 
  3. ^ 1973 Pittsburgh Steelers Media Guide. 
  4. ^ 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers Media Guide. 
  5. ^ About Three Bricks Shy... and the Load Filled Up. 
  6. ^ "1973 Pittsburgh Steelers". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2014-12-17.