View Full Version : 30 years ago in Pittsburgh Steelers history: IUP's Jim Haslett's moment of infamy

12-14-2009, 09:37 PM
(Someone other than me must remember this. However you young padawans should read the quotes from the players and you will realize how different in attitude our current team is from the Steelers of thirty years ago. Then you will realize why those of us who watched the Steelers of the 70's are pretty damn pissed off at the current teams attitude. - mesa)

30 years ago in Pittsburgh Steelers history: IUP's Jim Haslett's moment of infamy
By JIM PANE, Gazette Sports Writer
Published: Monday, December 14, 2009 1:48 PM EST
Reprinted from The Indiana Evening Gazette, Monday, Dec. 14, 1979:

Steelers Trample Buffalo, 28-0 :: PITTSBURGH — It all came down to the 16th and final game of the season, but, after Sunday's rather easy 28-0 win against Buffalo, the Steelers are champions of the AFC Central Division once again.

Same Old Steelers, huh? They've won six straight division titles now, and seven in the last eight years.

[U]"We've maintained our dominance," said Steeler tackle Joe Greene. "We won the division and had the best record — best in the National Football League."

Added quarterback Terry Bradshaw, "I think 12-4 is a great record for a team coming off a Super Bowl win. And especially with the schedule we had."

A Three Rivers Stadium crowd of 48,002 — Terrible Towels in hand — came to witness the good guys win their 14th straight home game prior to an NFL record-tying eighth straight playoff appearance.

Same Old Steelers.

Their first-round playoff opponent in two weeks will be either Miami, San Diego or Denver, but that won't be cer-tain until after tonight's game between the Broncos and Chargers and after next week's playoff game between the wildcard teams.

The Steelers scored a touchdown in each quarter — one by Lynn Swann, his 39th career TD receiving; two by Franco Harris, his 71st and 72 TDs rushing; and another by Sidney Thornton, who saw his first extended action in six weeks.

"I was concerned about when I'd get back out there," said Thornton, who gained 51 yards on 10 carries and caught a pair of Bradshaw passes for 55 yards. "But I worked my way back into the lineup and was glad I was able to help the way I know I can. It felt good, because I was starting to get pretty low."

Harris, meanwhile, finished with an even 100 yards — his 35th 100-yard game — and 1,186 on the year. He finished 36 yards short of 'passing Jim Taylor as the third best rusher in NFL history.

Bradshaw had an average outing — for him. He completed 14 of 27 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown. Two of his throws were intercepted.

"I've played better," he said. "But we got 28 points, and we won."

The Steeler defense was superb. Holding the Bills to just 156 total yards and limiting their scoring chances to a pair of unsuccessful field goal attempts by Nick Mike-Mayer, the Steel Curtain

DEE-fense posted its first shutout in two years.

Same Old Steelers.

"I'm obviously pleased with the shutout," said Steeler coach Chuck Noll, calmly discussing the 100th regular-season win of his career. "The offense was not as crisp as we'd like it to be, but the defense kept getting stronger and stronger."

Linebacker Jack Lambert was pleased,'too. "I'm very pleased," he said. "I was a little disappointed and a little shook after (last week's loss in Houston). They possessed the ball on us, and I was a little concerned.

"But it's good to go into the playoffs after a game like this," Lambert continued. "Any time you get a shutout you can hardly complain."

Simply, it was the Steeler defense that reduced Buffalo's 7-9 Bills to nothingness.

Among those who faded into anonymity after the player introductions were:

— Jim Haslett, formerly of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, who was ejected for drop kicking the helmet off Bradshaw's head.

"I don't think he kicked me on purpose," Bradshaw said. "He was trying to get out of the way, and he didn't deserve to be thrown out of the game."

Following a play on which Bradshaw gained 10 yards and a first down around right end, Haslett, a defensive end and, coincidentally, punter for coach Bill Neal at IUP, kicked the Steeler QB after the whistle had blown.

As Bradshaw described the play, "I slid out of bounds after I made the first down, and my helmet flew off when my head hit the ground. I don't think he tried to kick me."

Haslett had three tackles before his departure in the second quarter.

— Joe Ferguson, who, prior to Sunday, was the fourth best quarterback in the conference with a 78.8 rating. He completed 11 of 31 passes for 103 yards and two interceptions.

— Frank Lewis, a former Steeler and one of Ferguson's targets. He, caught one pass for 22 yards.

— Mike Collier, another former Steeler, who rushed for 49 of the Bills' 78 yards.

— The Buffalo Bills in general, who could gather just eight first downs.


A Spoiled Homecoming :: Fans Won't Forget 'Kick' By Haslett

By Jed Weisberger, Gazette Sports Writer

PITTSBURGH — As Jim Haslett will unfortunately find out, first impressions last in the National Football League.

They remember "Mean" Joe Greene as the man who punched Paul Howard in Denver. They remember Jack Lambert for assorted things in Cincinnati.

In Pittsburgh, his hometown, Jimmy Haslett will always be known as the man who tried to step on Terry Bradshaw's face.

"I don't want to come back here for awhile," said the IUP product to reporters after the game. "I had to stand on the sidelines, hear the fans. I don't want to come back to this place for awhile."

Having looked forward to his date in Three Rivers Stadium with the Buffalo Bills all season, Jim Haslett simply blew it. His recklessness that has made him a great football player suddenly got the best of him in the wrong place.

And, when the barrage of reporters approached his locker after the game, he found himself put in another tough spot.

"I aint got nothin' to say," he droned. "Ask the referees. They can do anything they want."

When Gazette photographer Tim Fisher took a locker room shot of Haslett, the rookie linebacker told him what he would do with both his head and the camera. All this resulted from one unfortunate play, early in the second quarter, when Haslett hustling to catch up with a scrambling Bradshaw, appeared to step right on his helmet without breaking stride.

Quicker than you could say Jack Splat, referee Fred Silva blew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Haslett and tossed him out of the game.

"I feel bad for my family and friends,"- Jim said later. "I had a few hundred people here to watch me."

Curiously, Bradshaw, Lambert and Mike Webster all rushed to defend Haslett, noting that they were sure the action was not premeditated or malicious.

"I can't imagine the kid kicking me," Bradshaw, who claimed his helmet flew off when he hit the turf, resulting in a "turfhead" burn, said. "I didn't even know he got thrown out of the game."

Lambert, whose style Haslett no doubt tries to emulate, was equally absolving.

Jimmy's a fiery type kid," he remarked. "We both have the same philosophy of playing. This was unfortunate. I really didn't see it. Give him a few years and he'll be one of the best linebackers in the business."

Webster put the situation in perspective perfectly.

"Haslett is a young guy who came in with a reputation as a real superman," noted the veteran Steeler center. "A lot of times a rookie can get caught up in his press clippings. Maybe what happened today is good. Maybe it's good that he learns at this stage."

Jim Haslett was an intimidalor at both Avalon High and IUP. He can be in the NFL also, but he must be with class.

"You make your bed and you have to sleep in it," said Isiah Robertson, Haslett's mate. "Maybe Jim learned a lesson today."

Robertson wasn't half as absolving as the Steelers, but then Buffalo was the team on the short end of the 28-0 count. And Haslett's ejection hurt the Bills.

"Haslett is a super young linebacker," added Webster. "He caused a lot of fumbles when he was in there with his hitting."

It must be pointed out that'Haslett played the "tough-guy" role when interviewed.

He chose to say nothing in the area of defending himself.

Perhaps he wasn't sure what to say in such a situation. He had to feel at rock-bottom level after the incident.

"I know he's real sorry now," said Shane Nelson, a third-year pro linebacker whom Jim has worked well with this year. "He was so looking forward to this."

So what did Jim Haslett do Sunday?

Did he try to hard? Did he have it on his mind to put Bradshaw out? Did emotion just get the best of him?

"If I got thrown out for this," he related, "I could've gotten thrown out of a half-dozen other games. This won't be the first time."

You have to be mean to survive in the NFL, which is 60 minutes of glorified, combat on a Sunday afternoon.

You often have to be nasty.

But you have to do it within the rules and under control, which Jim Haslett didn't Sunday. And he'll regret the incident for years to come.

Football fans remember.

12-14-2009, 09:57 PM
hey mesa, i remember!

i was only 12 at the time, but that was big news in my hometown of indiana, PA. since haslett was the only IUP guy in the NFL .

12-14-2009, 09:59 PM
hey mesa, i remember!

i was only 12 at the time, but that was big news in my hometown of indiana, PA. since haslett was the only IUP guy in the NFL .

Good for you! I know that are others around here that will remember as well.

12-15-2009, 09:01 AM
Wasn't Haslett at one time one of our defensive coaches and DC?