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Old 07-26-2009, 08:49 PM   #1
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Default Present-day Pats have become what the Steelers were in the 1970s

Jim Donaldson: Present-day Pats have become what the Steelers were in the 1970s
http://www.projo.com/sports/jimdonal...774a8f4a.html#
09:45 PM EDT on Saturday, July 25, 2009

The first Patriots game I covered was against the Steelers.

It was the season opener in 1979, in what then was called Schaefer Stadium, after "the one beer to have when you're having more than one." And, in those days, there wasn't a fan in the aluminum bleacher seats who, if he was having one, didn't go back to the concessions stand for more.
Related links

Gallery: Patriots vs. Steelers in the 2000s

Your Turn: Which team is the biggest obstacle to the Patriots winning the Super Bowl?

The Steelers were the best team in the NFL then, the gold standard — or, more accurately, the black-and-gold standard — for what a team, and a franchise, should be. Certainly, the Steelers were what the Patriots of that era aspired to be.

Pittsburgh had won its third Super Bowl in five years the previous season and, starting with that Monday night's 16-13 victory in overtime in Foxboro, would go on to win a fourth Super Bowl that year.

That also was the first Super Bowl I covered, and one I'll always remember, not solely because it was the first of what now is a total of 25.

It was Super Bowl XIV, and it was played in what remains, for me, the best of all Super Bowl venues — the Rose Bowl, in Pasadena. It was a beautiful afternoon, the sun shining — as the song says, it never rains in southern California; at least not on Super Bowl Sunday — and the press box open to the warm air. The field was as green as any pasture in Ireland, and more than 100,000 fans were in the stadium, which sits in the Arroyo Seco, in the shadow of the picturesque San Gabriel Mountains.

The Steelers were loaded with legends — Terry Bradshaw, "Mean Joe" Greene, Franco Harris, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, Lynn Swann, Mike Webster, Mel Blount, John Stallworth, Rocky Bleier and Donnie Shell — and coached by Chuck Noll.

Ironically — and, sad to say, tellingly, in terms of why the Patriots were not as successful as the Steelers — Noll nearly was signed by Patriots owner Billy Sullivan to replace Mike Holovak after the 1968 season, when the Pats went 4-10, after having been 3-10-1 the year before.

But, instead of Noll, Billy opted for Clive Rush — a decision that proved disastrous.

Actually, Vince Lombardi was Billy's first choice. But Lombardi was signed by the Washington Redskins. Noll and Rush had opposing assistant coaches in Super Bowl III, when Joe Namath led the Jets to a stunning upset of Don Shula's Baltimore Colts, 16-7. Noll was the defensive backfield coach for Baltimore, while Rush coached the New York receivers, and reportedly had been instrumental in putting together the Jets' passing attack.

"There was always so much negative press in our town," Sullivan later explained, "about the Patriots playing in a ‘Mickey Mouse' league that I was concerned that, if we hired Noll, the headlines would be along the lines of: ‘Losing Super Bowl Coach Hired By Patriots.'

"It was a dumb decision on my part to base it on that," Sullivan said, "because Noll actually impressed me more than Rush. Then again, if Noll had come in here and been 1-13, the way he was his first year in Pittsburgh, they probably would have run him out of town."

When Noll and the Steelers came to town that September in '79, they were riding high. The Patriots had high hopes of succeeding the Steelers as the NFL's best team. Under Chuck Fairbanks, they'd been to the playoffs in '76 and '78, and had an array of promising young players, led by future Hall of Famers John Hannah and Mike Haynes, and including the likes of Russ Francis, Steve Nelson, Steve Grogan and Stanley Morgan.

But Fairbanks suddenly bolted to return to college coaching at Colorado after the '78 season, and the momentum the Patriots had built dissipated quickly.

It wasn't until more than two decades had passed, after Robert Kraft had bought the team and hired Bill Belichick as head coach, that the Patriots, in the first decade of the 21st century, became what the Steelers had been in the '70s.

Three times in the span of four years, the Pats won Super Bowls. And in two of those years they beat the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game — both times in Pittsburgh, at Heinz Field.

There had been earlier, memorable playoff games against the Steelers. Bill Parcells' Patriots began their playoff run to Super Bowl XXXI with a decisive 28-3 victory over the Steelers in the fog in Foxboro in the AFC semifinals.

The Pittsburgh defense, known as the "Steel Curtain" in Noll's day, was referred to as "Blitzburgh" under Bill Cowher in '96, because of the way they came after opposing quarterbacks.

But before they could come after Drew Bledsoe, he went after them — throwing a 53-yard bomb to Terry Glenn on the Pats' first play. Curtis Martin ran three yards for a touchdown on the next play and the rout was on.

"That changed the whole game, right there," said New England wide receiver Shawn Jefferson. "That first play swung the momentum for the whole game. That put us on a roll."

Unfortunately, the Patriots never did get rolling in their postseason rematch with the Steelers the following year in Pittsburgh.

It was a defensive duel, which the Steelers clinched, 7-6, when Bledsoe fumbled in the fourth quarter when he was sacked from behind by a young linebacker by the name of Mike Vrabel.

Vrabel was playing for the Patriots when Belichick brought them into Pittsburgh in January of 2002, with a spot in the Super Bowl at stake. It seemed as if the heavily-underdog Patriots were in danger of going down in defeat when, nursing a 7-3 lead late in the second quarter, Tom Brady went down with a twisted ankle, courtesy of blitzing safety Lee Flowers.

In to replace him came Bledsoe, who hadn't played since he'd been injured in the second game of the season.

It was a dramatic moment, an emotional moment, a crucial moment.

Bledsoe proceed to seize the moment.

"I was pretty fired up when I got there," said Bledsoe, who had been bitterly disappointed to lose his starting job, while injured, to Brady.

He could have been forgiven for misfiring on his first few passes, particularly against a Pittsburgh defense that had given up fewer yards than any team in the NFL, and fewer points than any team in the AFC.

But he came out firing, throwing 15 yards to David Patten on his first play in four months. Bledsoe took a hard hit while scrambling on the next play, but bounced right back up and, two plays later, threw a 10-yard TD pass to Patten.

He played the rest of the way as the Patriots upset Pittsburgh, 24-17.

"Drew did a great job," Patten said. "All he wanted was the opportunity to help the team win. When it came, he was ready."

It was Brady who led the Patriots to a resounding 41-27 victory in the 2004 AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh. It was sweet revenge for a 34-20 beating the Steelers had handed the Pats on Halloween in Pittsburgh — a loss that ended a 21-game winning streak for New England.

"I don't think you ever take this for granted," Brady said after throwing for two touchdowns in the rematch with the Steelers. He would throw for two more in Super Bowl XXXIX, as the Patriots won their third NFL championship in four years by beating the Eagles, 24-21.

Such success was only a dream to Patriots fans in '79, when the Steelers were the Team of the Decade and one of the greatest teams in NFL history.

Now, with three titles, an undefeated regular season in 2007, and four AFC championships and six playoff appearances in the last eight years, it's a dream come true.

The present-day Patriots have become what the Steelers were then: the franchise against which all others are measured.

jdonalds @projo.com

(PatsiCheats are so f-in delusional it isn't even funny. - mesa)
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:13 PM   #2
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Default Re: Present-day Pats have become what the Steelers were in the 1970s

Oh God, please don't make me puke. The Pats* aren't anywhere CLOSE to what the Steelers were in the 1970s, and to even think it is an insult to all of the great players and HOF'ers on that team.

Getting SO sick of the media suck job those assholes in New Cheatland* get...
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: Present-day Pats have become what the Steelers were in the 1970s

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Originally Posted by X-Terminator View Post
Oh God, please don't make me puke. The Pats* aren't anywhere CLOSE to what the Steelers were in the 1970s, and to even think it is an insult to all of the great players and HOF'ers on that team.

Getting SO sick of the media suck job those assholes in New Cheatland* get...
Unfortunately that may never end.

It's an insult to teams who put in the hardwork and time over use of the camera.
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: Present-day Pats have become what the Steelers were in the 1970s

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Originally Posted by X-Terminator View Post
Getting SO sick of the media suck job those assholes in New Cheatland* get...
Providence Journal. Slobbering homer article.
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: Present-day Pats have become what the Steelers were in the 1970s

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Old 07-26-2009, 11:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: Present-day Pats have become what the Steelers were in the 1970s

I think they just wrote that on purpose to piss off Steeler fans.

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Old 07-27-2009, 06:14 AM   #7
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Default Re: Present-day Pats have become what the Steelers were in the 1970s

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Present-day Pats have become what the Steelers were in the 1970s
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Old 07-27-2009, 07:52 AM   #8
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Default Re: Present-day Pats have become what the Steelers were in the 1970s

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The Steelers were loaded with legends — Terry Bradshaw, "Mean Joe" Greene, Franco Harris, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, Lynn Swann, Mike Webster, Mel Blount, John Stallworth, Rocky Bleier and Donnie Shell — and coached by Chuck Noll.
...And there is proof from the writer himself that the patriots are NOT what the Steelers were in the 70's.

Debate over.....

....'nuff said.
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Old 07-27-2009, 08:33 AM   #9
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Default Re: Present-day Pats have become what the Steelers were in the 1970s

And the slurpfest continues.........
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:07 AM   #10
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Default Re: Present-day Pats have become what the Steelers were in the 1970s

Watch this:

"The Present-Day Browns Have Become What the Steelers Were in The 1970's"

There. It's posted on the internets. It MUST be true.

This guy is another nitwit swimming in a sea of nitwits...
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