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1969 Pittsburgh Steelers season
Head Coach Chuck Noll
Home Field Pitt Stadium
Results
Record 1–13
Place 4th NFL Century
Playoff Finish did not qualify
Pro Bowlers
Team MVP Roy Jefferson
Timeline
Previous season Next season
1968 1970

The 1969 Pittsburgh Steelers is what many consider to be the turning point of this once-moribund franchise. 1969 was the first season for Hall of Fame head coach Chuck Noll, the first season for defensive lineman "Mean Joe" Greene and L. C. Greenwood, the first season for longtime Steelers public relations director Joe Gordon, and the team's last season in Pitt Stadium before moving into the then-state-of-the-art Three Rivers Stadium the following season.

Although considered a turning point in the team's history, the results were not immediate; after winning the season opener against the Detroit Lions, the Steelers would go on to lose every game afterwards to finish 1–13. The Steelers would become the first such team in NFL history to win its season opener and go on to lose every game remaining afterwards, a feat not matched until 2001 when the Carolina Panthers won its season opener against Minnesota before losing every game en route to a 1–15 finish. With the Steelers finishing 1–6 at Pitt Stadium, it would also mark the last time the Steelers would finish the season with a losing record at home until 1999.

As a result of the 1–13 record, the Steelers finished tied with the Chicago Bears for the league's worst record. Art Rooney would win a coin toss with George Halas to determine who would select Louisiana Tech quarterback Terry Bradshaw (the consensus number 1 selection among league teams) with the number one pick in the 1970 draft. By modern NFL tiebreaking rules, the Steelers would have automatically been given the first pick anyway, as the Bears' one win came against the Steelers in week 8.

OffseasonEdit

This was the first season of Chuck Noll as head coach of the Steelers. Noll, the former defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Colts who was hired just days after the Colts loss to the New York Jets in Super Bowl III, was the team's 14th head coach in the franchise's history up to that point. But while it took 36 seasons to go through the first 13, Noll would stay through 1991 and would set the ground for coaching stability for the Steelers not seen in other NFL franchises today. Since Noll's retirement, only Bill Cowher and current head coach Mike Tomlin have been head coach of the Steelers.

One of Noll's first action was to release or trade all players he considered "dead wood" to the team. He wanted only players willing to give their best effort to the team. Only a handful of players were carried over from the 1968 squad as a result, most notably veterans Ben McGee, Andy Russell, Ray Mansfield, and Dick Hoak, the ladder of which would become the team's running backs coach a few years later and would remain with the team in that capacity through the 2006 season. Rocky Bleier, who played his rookie season the year before and would later be a major contributor to the Super Bowl championship teams, was fighting in Vietnam during this time and would actually be wounded in combat just before the start of the season. This method of going through the "dead wood" of the team would be a similar practice that Marvin Lewis would do when he took over as the Cincinnati Bengals head coach in 2003.

While the Steelers just missed out on drafting Heisman Trophy winner O. J. Simpson, Noll would use his first draft pick wisely, drafting North Texas State defensive tackle Joe Greene with the team's top pick, and fourth pick overall in that year's draft. Noll would say years later that Greene would've been selected even if they had the top overall pick, passing over Simpson. Although Simpson himself would also go on to a Hall of Fame career before legal troubles overshadowed his NFL accomplishments, this would set the groundwork of the Steelers excellent scouting in the draft, a practice that carries today.

Greene's selection would not be met without controversy, however. The front page of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the next morning had a headline posted Who's Joe Greene?, owing to his relative obscurity despite being named a consensus All-American selection his senior year. The team would also go on to draft Greene's defensive line mate, Arkansas AM&N defensive end L. C. Greenwood, in the 10th round. Greene and Greenwood would form the core of the famed Steel Curtain defensive line and would play their entire career as teammates, with both retiring at the end of the 1981 season. The following year, Noll would switch the team to a 3–4 defense, partially as a result of the retirement of two of his best defensive players.

Joe Gordon was also hired as the team's public relations director this season. Though his role was more behind-the-scenes, he would remain with the team in that capacity through the 1998 season, second only to Dick Hoak in terms of tenure with the team outside of the Rooney family, third counting Steelers radio commentator Myron Cope, who was not employed by the team but through WTAE Radio and later WDVE on the official Steelers radio network.

Regular seasonEdit

ScheduleEdit

Week Date Opponent Result
1 September 21, 1969 Detroit Lions W 16–13
2 September 28, 1969 at Philadelphia Eagles L 41–27
3 October 5, 1969 St. Louis Cardinals L 27–14
4 October 12, 1969 at New York Giants L 10–7
5 October 18, 1969 at Cleveland Browns L 42–31
6 October 26, 1969 Washington Redskins L 14–7
7 November 2, 1969 Green Bay Packers L 38–34
8 November 9, 1969 at Chicago Bears L 38–7
9 November 16, 1969 Cleveland Browns L 24–3
10 November 23, 1969 at Minnesota Vikings L 52–14
11 November 30, 1969 at St. Louis Cardinals L 47–10
12 December 7, 1969 Dallas Cowboys L 10–7
13 December 14, 1969 New York Giants L 21–17
14 December 21, 1969 at New Orleans Saints L 27–24

Game summaries Edit

Week 1 (Sunday September 21, 1969): Detroit Lions Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Lions 3 0 3 7 13
Steelers 3 6 0 7 16



at Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 51,360
  • Referee: Pat Haggerty
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Detroit – FG Mann 23 yds, 0–3
  • Pittsburgh – FG Mingo 27 yds, 3–3
  • Pittsburgh – FG Mingo 18 yds, 6–3
  • Pittsburgh – FG Mingo 40 yds, 9–3
  • Detroit – FG Mann 23 yds, 9–6
  • Detroit – McCullouch 12 yd pass from Munson (Mann kick), 9–13
  • Pittsburgh – Bankston 6 yd run (Mingo kick), 16–13

Week 2 (Sunday September 28, 1969): Philadelphia Eagles Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 13 0 7 7 27
Eagles 0 17 14 10 41



at Franklin Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 60,658
  • Referee: Bernie Ulman
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – FG Mingo 36 yds, 3–0
  • Pittsburgh – Gros 8 yd pass from Shiner (Mingo kick), 10–0
  • Pittsburgh – FG Mingo 15 yds, 13–0
  • Philadelphia – Hawkins 28 yd pass from Snead (Baker kick), 13–7
  • Philadelphia – FG Baker 35 yds, 10–13
  • Philadelphia – Hawkins 28 yd pass from Snead (Baker kick), 13–17
  • Philadelphia – Hawkins 47 yd pass from Snead (Baker kick), 13–24
  • Philadelphia – Hawkins 15 yd pass from Snead (Baker kick), 13–31
  • Pittsburgh – Hoak 3 yd run (Mingo kick), 20–31
  • Pittsburgh – Jefferson 14 yd pass from Shiner (Mingo kick), 27–31
  • Philadelphia – FG Baker 41 yds, 27–34
  • Philadelphia – Jackson 56 yd pass from Snead (Baker kick), 27–41

Week 3 (Sunday October 5, 1969): St. Louis Cardinals Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Cardinals 0 20 0 7 27
Steelers 7 0 7 0 14



at Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 45,011
  • Referee: George Rennix
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – Jefferson 2 yd pass from Shiner (Mingo kick), 7–0
  • St. Louis – FG Bakken 42 yds, 7–3
  • St. Louis – Crenshaw 26 yd run (Bakken kick), 7–10
  • St. Louis – FG Bakken 35 yds, 7–13
  • St. Louis – Crenshaw 4 yd run (Bakken kick), 7–20
  • Pittsburgh – Jefferson 48 yd pass from Nix (Mingo kick), 14–20
  • St. Louis – Gilliam 58 yd pass from Hart (Bakken kick), 14–27

Week 4 (Sunday October 12, 1969): New York Giants Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 0 0 7 7
Giants 7 0 0 3 10



at Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, New York

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 62,987
  • Referee: Bud Brubaker
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • New York Giants – Morrison 7 yd pass from Tarkenton (Gogolak kick), 0–7
  • New York Giants – FG Gogolak 14 yds, 0–10
  • Pittsburgh – Shiner 18 yd run (Mingo kick), 7–10

Week 5 (Saturday October 18, 1969): Cleveland Browns Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 10 0 21 31
Browns 7 7 7 21 42



at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 84,078
  • Referee: Pat Haggerty
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Cleveland – Collins 4 yd pass from Nelsen (Cockroft kick)0–7
  • Pittsburgh – Hoak 4 yd run (Mingo kick)7–7
  • Cleveland – Kelly 1 yd run (Cockroft kick)7–14
  • Pittsburgh – FG Mingo 38 yds 10–14
  • Cleveland – Sumner 40 yd interception return (Cockroft kick)10–21
  • Pittsburgh – Gros 15 yd pass from Hanratty (Mingo kick)17–21
  • Pittsburgh – Jefferson 10 yd pass from Nix (Mingo kick)24–21
  • Cleveland – Morrison 1 yd run (Cockroft kick)24–28
  • Pittsburgh – Jefferson 15 yd pass from Hanratty (Mingo kick)31–28

Week 6 (Sunday October 26, 1969): Washington Redskins Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Redskins 0 0 14 0 14
Steelers 7 0 0 0 7



at Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 46,557
  • Referee: Tommy Bell
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – Gros 8 yd pass from Hanratty (Mingo kick), 7–0
  • Washington – Jurgensen 10 yd run (Knight kick), 7–7
  • Washington – Taylor 17 yd pass from Jurgensen (Knight kick), 7–14

Week 7 (Sunday November 2, 1969): Green Bay Packers Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Packers 0 14 10 14 38
Steelers 10 7 7 10 34



at Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 46,403
  • Referee: Bernie Ulman
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – FG Mingo 19 yds, 3–0
  • Pittsburgh – Jefferson 38 yd pass from Hanratty (Mingo kick), 10–0
  • Green Bay – Horn 2 yd run (Mercer kick), 10–7
  • Green Bay – T. Williams 83 yd punt return (Mercer kick), 10–14
  • Pittsburgh – Hoak 3 yd pass from Hanratty (Mingo kick), 17–14
  • Pittsburgh – Williams 6 yd pass from Hanratty (Mingo kick), 24–14
  • Green Bay – FG Mercer 15 yds, 24–17
  • Green Bay – T. Williams 96 yd kickoff return (Mercer kick), 24–24
  • Pittsburgh – Jefferson 53 yd pass from Shiner (Mingo kick), 31–24
  • Pittsburgh – FG Mingo 32 yds, 34–24
  • Green Bay – Dale 43 yd pass from Starr (Mercer kick), 34–31
  • Green Bay – Starr 1 yd run (Mercer Kick), 34–38

Week 8 (Sunday November 9, 1969): Chicago Bears Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 0 0 7 7
Bears 16 13 9 0 38



at Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 45,856
  • Referee: Fred Silva
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Chicago – Piccolo 25 yd pass from Douglass (Percival kick), 0–7
  • Chicago – Safety, Hanratty tackled in end zone by O'Bradovich, 0–9
  • Chicago – Sayers 2 yd run (Percival kick), 0–16
  • Chicago – FG Percival 27 yds, 0–19
  • Chicago – Wallace 12 yd pass from Douglass (Percival kick), 0–26
  • Chicago – FG Percival 35 yds, 0–29
  • Chicago – Safety, Shiner tackled in end zone by Butkus, 0–31
  • Chicago – Sayers, 1 yd run (Percival kick), 0–38
  • Pittsburgh – Gros 2 yd run (Mingo kick), 7–38

Week 9 (Sunday November 16, 1969): Cleveland Browns Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Browns 7 3 0 14 24
Steelers 3 0 0 0 3



at Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 47,670
  • Referee: George Rennix
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Cleveland – Collins 26 yd pass from Nelsen (Cockroft kick), 0–7
  • Pittsburgh – FG Mingo 31 yds, 3–7
  • Cleveland – FG Cockroft 28 yds, 3–10
  • Cleveland – Warfield 12 yd pass from Nelsen (Cockroft kick), 3–17
  • Cleveland – Kelly 1 yd run (Cockroft kick), 3–24

Week 10 (Sunday November 23, 1969): Minnesota Vikings Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 7 7 0 14
Vikings 7 10 14 21 52



at Metropolitan Stadium, Bloomington, Minnesota

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 47,202
  • Referee: Pat Haggerty
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Minnesota – Krause 77 yd interception return (Cox kick), 0–7
  • Minnesota – FG Cox 22 yds, 0–10
  • Pittsburgh – McCall 101 yd kickoff return (Mingo kick), 7–10
  • Minnesota – Brown 1 yd run (Cox kick), 7–17
  • Minnesota – Henderson 28 yd pass from Cuozzo (Cox kick), 7–24
  • Pittsburgh – Henderson 10 yd pass from Hanratty (Mingo kick), 14–24
  • Minnesota – Beasley 60 yd fumble return (Cox kick), 14–31
  • Minnesota – Reed 6 yd pass from Cuozzo (Cox kick), 14–38
  • Minnesota – Reed 1 yd run (Cox kick), 14–45
  • Minnesota – Henderson 7 yd pass from Lee (Cox kick), 14–52

Week 11 (Sunday November 30, 1969): St. Louis Cardinals Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 3 0 7 10
Cardinals 6 6 7 28 47



at Busch Memorial Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 43,721
  • Referee: Jim Tunney
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • St. Louis – Williams 7 yd pass from Hart (kick blocked), 0–6
  • St. Louis – FG Bakken 32 yds, 0–9
  • Pittsburgh – FG Mingo 19 yds, 3–9
  • St. Louis – FG Bakken 12 yds, 3–12
  • St. Louis – Edwards 2 yd run (Bakken kick), 3–19
  • St. Louis – Williams 5 yd pass from Hart (Bakken kick), 3–26
  • St. Louis – Williams 9 yd pass from Hart (Bakken kick), 3–33
  • St. Louis – Hart 1 yd run (Bakken kick), 3–40
  • St. Louis – Shivers 1 yd run (Bakken kick), 3–47
  • Pittsburgh – Henderson 20 yd pass from Hanratty (Mingo kick), 10–47

Week 12 (Sunday December 7, 1969): Dallas Cowboys Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Cowboys 3 7 0 0 10
Steelers 0 0 0 7 7



at Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 24,990
  • Referee: Bernie Ulman
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Dallas – FG M. Clark 32 yds, 0–3
  • Dallas – Morton 12 yd run (M. Clark kick), 0–10
  • Pittsburgh – Henderson 29 yd pass from Shiner (Mingo kick), 7–10

Week 13 (Sunday December 14, 1969): New York Giants Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Giants 7 7 0 7 21
Steelers 0 14 0 3 17



at Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 21,067
  • Referee: Fred Silva
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • New York Giants – Koy 34 yd pass from Tarkenton (Gogolak kick), 0–7
  • Pittsburgh – Jefferson 15 yd pass from Shiner (Mingo kick), 7–7
  • Pittsburgh – Jefferson 9 yd pass from Shiner (Mingo kick), 14–7
  • New York Giants – Morrison 10 yd pass form Tarkenton (Gogolak kick), 14–14
  • Pittsburgh – FG Mingo 41 yds, 17–14
  • New York Giants – Koy 4 yd pass from Tarkenton (Gogolak kick), 17–21

Week 14 (Sunday December 21, 1969): New Orleans Saints Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 14 0 7 3 24
Saints 0 10 7 10 27



at Tulane Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana

  • Game time:
  • Game weather:
  • Game attendance: 72,256
  • Referee: Fred Swearingen
  • TV announcers:

Scoring Drives:

  • Pittsburgh – Gros 8 yd run (Mingo kick), 7–0
  • Pittsburgh – Gros 16 yd run (Mingo kick), 14–0
  • New Orleans – Poage 3 yd pass from Kilmer (Dempsey kick), 14–7
  • New Orleans – FG Dempsey 38 yds, 14–10
  • New Orleans – Poage 3 yd pass from Kilmer (Dempsey kick), 14–17
  • Pittsburgh – Gros 7 yd run (Mingo kick), 21–17
  • Pittsburgh – FG Mingo 11 yds, 24–17
  • New Orleans – FG Dempsey 40 yds, 24–20
  • New Orleans – Livingston 3 yd run (Dempsey kick), 24–27

StandingsEdit

NFL Century
W L T PCT PF PA STK
Cleveland Browns 10 3 1 .769 351 300 L-1
New York Giants 6 8 0 .429 264 298 W-3
St. Louis Cardinals 4 9 1 .308 314 389 L-3
Pittsburgh Steelers 1 13 0 .071 218 404 L-13

ReferencesEdit

Eastern Conference Western Conference
Capitol Century Coastal Central
Dallas Cleveland Atlanta Chicago
New Orleans NY Giants Baltimore Detroit
Philadelphia Pittsburgh Los Angeles Green Bay
Washington St. Louis San Francisco Minnesota
1969 NFL DraftNFL PlayoffsNFL ChampionshipPro BowlSuper Bowl IV
Related: 1969 AFL Season